As a basketball coach or volunteer, you want to ensure your players have everything they need to succeed on and off the court. That means you may need to turn to fundraising from time to time to keep your program up and running.
When it comes to managing or participating in a basketball program, expenses can pile up. Uniform and equipment costs, transportation to and from tournaments, new shoes—these aspects can get pricey for coaches and team parents. Fundraising ensures that your team can have access to the equipment and resources needed to thrive.
In this guide, we’ll highlight some of the best basketball fundraising ideas to help earn money for your team. Here’s what to expect:
Just like any sports fundraiser, your basketball fundraising efforts will rely on the support of your community to succeed. After reviewing our fundraising ideas list, stick around at the end for tips on how to fully engage your team and community in your fundraising activities.
Top Basketball Fundraising Ideas
1. Three-point competition
Take a page from the NBA playbook by hosting your very own three-point contest! Invite community members to register for the competition by contributing a donation to your team. Then, challenge participants to shoot as many three-pointers as they can within a defined time period, such as a minute.
Earn extra funds by inviting other community members to attend the event. Sell refreshments such as hot dogs, chips, and sodas. You can keep attendees highly entertained by planning additional activities throughout the competition, such as a dunk contest or half-court shot challenge.
Make sure you have a prize for the competition winner, whether it’s a large trophy, a gift card to a local restaurant, or free merchandise!
Spark some friendly competition among community members by hosting a basketball tournament fundraiser. Encourage community members to form teams, choose team names, and gather matching shirts. Require each team to submit an entry fee to support your fundraising efforts.
To make your event a success, make sure it also includes these elements:
- A large venue, such as your school or community center gym
- Local business sponsorships to help fund the event
- Branded event merchandise to commemorate the experience (and earn extra funding!)
- A marketing strategy to get the word out
- Prizes for tournament winners
These elements can help you give participants a great experience to make your event a success and establish it as an ongoing tradition. Thank all attendees and competitors throughout the event and through follow-up emails and social media posts.
A walk-a-thon is a fun, easy fundraising idea to raise money for your team. Here’s how it works:
- Your organization chooses walk-a-thon fundraising software like 99Pledges, which allows your supporters to generate individual fundraising pages.
- Your organization sets a date, time, and location for the event.
- Participants share their fundraising pages with their supporter network (family members and friends).
- Supporters pledge a fixed donation amount based on every unit of distance (lap, mile, etc.) participants walk.
- Participants complete the walk-a-thon and your organization collects donations from supporters.
This is a great fundraising idea to engage participants of all ages. Keep participants’ spirits high by playing music throughout the event and offering prizes at the end, such as free merchandise or sweet treats.
4. Fun Run/5K
5Ks and Fun runs are classic fundraising opportunities that encourage the runners and walkers of your community to come out and support your cause. Fundraising 5Ks are straightforward racing events where participants pay an entry fee to participate.
Fun runs, on the other hand, are more similar to walk-a-thons. Participants will similarly create personalized donation pages and solicit pledges from family and friends. Then, they’ll collect donations based on how long they run in the fun run or how many challenges they complete along the way.
To help participants collect more pledges, offer a few tips and best practices with a quick email or social media guide. For example, encourage participants to share their donation page at least once every two or three days and to reach out to potential donors personally to ask for their support.
5. Merchandise sale
What better way to help your supporters promote their love for your team than by offering branded merchandise for them to wear? With a merchandise sale, you can create comfortable, stylish t-shirts and sweatshirts for your dedicated supporters to show their love for your team.
Partner with a merchandise fundraising platform like Bonfire to easily upload and promote your t-shirt design. With Bonfire, you can sell your t-shirts without any fee required and receive 100% of the funds raised.
Make sure your shirts are branded to your team or organization, with your logo and colors, and that they’re visually appealing. You might engage community members more deeply in the fundraiser by asking them to send in t-shirt design ideas and vote on their favorite.
6. Bake sale
A bake sale is another tried-and-true fundraising idea that’s relatively easy to set up. Just ask the bakers of your community to contribute some yummy treats to your sale. You can sell your baked goods at games, tournaments, or local events, like a farmers’ market.
You can earn more through your bake sale by selling several baked goods in a package or bundle. For instance, you might offer a package of a cookie, brownie, and cupcake for $8. Or, you might sell full pies or cakes in addition to single slices. You can even incorporate additional refreshments into the sale, like hot chocolate or lemonade (depending on the time of year).
7. Chili cook-off
Invite the chefs in your community to put their skills to the test in a chili cook-off contest. This is an effective fundraiser to host in the fall or winter when the temperature drops and folks are looking for warm, comforting foods.
To earn funding from this event, you can require participants to submit an entry fee. You can also require a fee for attendees to be able to sample the chilis and vote on their favorites.
A chili cook-off also provides another opportunity to sell additional items, such as refreshments and branded merchandise. To put a fun spin on your event, you can incorporate other food items into the competition aspect, such as macaroni and cheese or cornbread.
8. Yard sale
Most of your community members likely have a box of clothes or random appliances sitting in their garage that they’ve been meaning to donate. Encourage community members to bring their used-but-not-abused items to put up for sale at a fundraising yard sale.
Host the event at a large, centralized venue, such as your community center or school gym. Create flyers to promote the event and hang them in popular community areas, such as the library, grocery store, or business storefronts (with the shop owners’ permission, of course!).
9. Scratch cards
A scratch card fundraiser is a simple way to earn some extra funding for your team. Here’s how it works:
- You order scratch cards. These scratch cards have a range of donation amounts hidden by scratchable circles.
- Your team members carry the scratch card with them and present them to family members, neighbors, and friends.
- The donors scratch a circle or two to reveal the hidden donation amounts. Then, they contribute those amounts to your organization.
- When you work with an established fundraising partner, your donors will receive a coupon sheet to use at sponsoring businesses in return for their donation.
When you equip each of your team members with a scratch card, the fundraising total can quickly add up, earning your organization hundreds of dollars. Plus, when donors receive something in return for their support, they’ll feel much more satisfied with their decision to give. It’s a win-win for community members and your cause!
10. Car wash
A car wash is an effective year-round fundraiser. Whether it’s spring pollen or winter road salt, there’s always something outside that’s making cars dirty.
Host the car wash at your school or gym parking lot. Engage your team members in various roles, such as advertising your car wash to passing drivers, actually washing the cars, or accepting payments. Be sure to let all customers know that their support helps keep your basketball team on the court.
11. Dog wash
Just like cars, the furry friends in your community are always getting into something that causes them to pick up a bit of dirt or mud. Invite community members to bring their dogs to your team’s dog wash fundraiser.
Set your team members up with the necessary supplies, such as a water source, dog shampoo, treats, cups, and towels. Make sure to offer a few pointers before the event, such as making sure to get all the shampoo out so no one leaves with a half-clean pet.
To earn a little extra money, you can also offer walking services to help pets get their daily exercise.
12. Popcorn sale
Cheesy cheddar, salted caramel, and cinnamon are just some of the delicious popcorn flavors your team can sell as part of a popcorn sale fundraiser.
This fundraising idea is pretty simple to get started. You’ll need to partner with a popcorn fundraising partner to provide the necessary supplies, such as order forms. Then, you can give each of your team members a form and encourage them to go door to door or reach out to family members to sell popcorn tins.
Your team will earn a profit while your supporters can enjoy a delicious snack!
13. 50/50 raffle
A 50-50 raffle is another win-win fundraising idea that can support your team while offering one lucky winner a valuable cash prize. In a 50-50 raffle, you’ll sell raffle tickets and choose a winner. Half of the jackpot will go to the winner, and the other half will support your basketball team’s fundraising efforts.
Sell raffle tickets at your games or tournaments and select a winner at the end of the season or competition.
You can earn donations continually throughout the basketball season by selling concessions at games and tournaments. Offer a fully-stacked snack bar or booth at your games with chips, popcorn, drinks, cookies, and other snacks. Recruit a few volunteers to manage the concession stand for each game. Make sure to also offer a tip jar to collect extra donations!
15. Shoe drive
Since they’re still growing, youth athletes notoriously require new shoes frequently, no matter if they’re playing basketball, football, or soccer. But what happens to the shoes they outgrow? With a shoe drive fundraiser, you can give these shoes a new life while raising money for your team.
If you aren’t familiar with shoe drive fundraising, here’s what the process looks like:
- Your organization partners with a shoe drive fundraising partner like Funds2Orgs.
- You host a shoe drive where you encourage community members to bring in their gently worn or new shoes to donate.
- Your shoe fundraising partner picks up the shoes you’ve collected and pays you for them.
- The shoe fundraising partner sells the shoes to small businesses in developing countries.
Offer a shoe-collection box at your basketball games and tournaments to collect shoes. Be sure to send email reminders to team parents and supporters to bring their gently used or new shoes with them to drop them off.
16. Basketball camp
You’ve already got coaches, players, and volunteers who know the game of basketball inside and out. Why not put their knowledge to use by hosting a basketball camp?
If your team consists of older players, such as older middle school or high schoolers, you can recruit them to act as camp counselors for the younger campers. Your counselors can lead campers through drills, new skills, and scrimmages. Require participants to pay a registration fee to support your fundraising initiative.
Incorporate these tips to make your camp a valuable, safe experience for attendees:
- Host the camp during the summer when students are out of school.
- Prepare your camp counselors with the necessary training, such as first-aid or CPR training.
- Equip counselors with necessary supplies, such as basketballs, whistles, and bibs for scrimmages.
- Create t-shirts for your camp to identify campers and generate a sense of community.
- Require campers’ parents to sign waivers so they are aware of any participation risks.
One of the best parts about hosting a sports camp is that this idea can be adjusted for any sport, whether that’s football, soccer, or baseball. To maximize fundraising for your team, you could even partner with another team at your school to make the camp more inclusive.
Spread the word about your camp through social media and email. Make announcements at games and encourage team parents to consider sending their younger kids to your camp.
17. Handwritten letter campaign
Handwritten letters tend to be much more personal and tangible than digital messages, making them the perfect mechanism for promoting your fundraising efforts. Gather your team members together to write or sign fundraising letters. Make sure the letters explain:
- Your team’s history, including how long the team has existed and highlighting some of your achievements
- Why you’re fundraising (whether to purchase new equipment, fund transportation costs, etc.)
- How donors can send in donations (whether by sending in a check or cash or donating online)
Be sure to address letters with recipients’ names to make them feel even more personalized. Emphasize that your fundraising efforts are urgent and critical so that every player that wants to can participate on your team. You can even include a team photo along with your handwritten letters to put faces to your cause, sparking empathy in recipients.
18. Pancake breakfast
Who doesn’t love pancakes? This beloved breakfast food can provide an effective fundraising opportunity for your basketball team.
Here’s what you have to do to launch a pancake breakfast fundraiser:
- Recruit volunteers and pancake chefs to prepare the food.
- Secure a large enough venue to hold all of your attendees, such as the school gym.
- Sell pancake breakfast tickets.
- Serve up the pancakes and watch the donations pour in!
Supplement your pancake breakfast with other breakfast items like bacon, sausages, eggs, fruit, and coffee. Boost your fundraising efforts by offering different combos at different price levels, such as just pancakes, pancakes and bacon, or a full-fledged breakfast plate.
19. Calendar sale
A calendar fundraiser will take a bit of creativity up front, but the result will be worth it for your fundraising outcomes. To collect images for your calendar, take candid and posed shots of your team throughout the year. Or, you can recruit a photographer to take photos of iconic or scenic locations in your community.
Then, use a calendar fundraising platform to upload your photos, print your calendars, and have them shipped to your supporters. This is an effective annual fundraising idea since organization-minded individuals will require a new calendar each year.
If you decide to host an auction fundraiser, your team would gather a variety of valuable items or experience opportunities and offer them up for bidding to supporters.
To make your auction applicable to your team, consider making the event entirely basketball-themed, with a variety of basketball-related items. These might include basketballs signed by star NBA or WNBA players or tickets to professional games.
To acquire valuable auction items, ask local businesses in your area to sponsor the event or ask your team parents’ to leverage any professional connections they might have to access relevant prizes.
21. Restaurant percentage night/tip jar
The local restaurant owners in your community are probably more than willing to help your basketball team out. Everyone loves to support their hometown teams, especially if you require fundraising support to stay in operation.
Ask a local restaurant owner to host a percentage night or tip jar fundraiser on behalf of your team. In a percentage night fundraiser, the restaurant would donate a percentage of its sales to your team. With a tip jar fundraiser, the restaurant would set out a tip jar at the register or host stand to collect donations.
Just like with an auction fundraiser, you can leverage the local connections that your team’s parents or volunteers have. You also might have team parents who are restaurant owners themselves and are willing to help out.
To make your restaurant fundraiser a success, encourage your team and supporters to go out to the restaurant on the day of your fundraiser. This can help foster team bonding while raising more for your cause.
22. Viral video challenge
You may also be interested in hosting a virtual fundraiser to engage your supporters online. Virtual fundraisers are effective because they allow supporters and participants to engage no matter where they are.
One of the most popular virtual fundraising ideas, especially for younger generations, is a viral video challenge. You can challenge your team members and supporters to complete a unique activity, such as a three-point challenge or dunk challenge.
Your team members will film themselves completing the challenge and tag their family and friends to encourage them to do the same. These posts should also include a link to your online donation page to spread awareness of your fundraising efforts. You can even create a rule that states that supporters can either participate in the challenge or have to donate instead.
Bonus: 4 Basketball Fundraising Tips for Your Team
There are several steps you can take to make planning your basketball fundraisers easier and raise more for your team. Follow these best practices for fundraising success:
- Plan strategically. Don’t dive into your fundraiser without a clear plan. Before launching your initiative, ask yourself a few questions to build a solid strategy. For instance, consider what types of fundraising activities you’ve had success with in the past and why. Also, determine whether you’ll need to acquire new fundraising technology to plan and manage your initiatives. Lastly, craft your key messaging to explain to prospective donors why your team is worthy of their support.
- Choose the right fundraising partner/platform. Many of the fundraising ideas above require the support of an effective fundraising platform or partner. Be sure to choose the right fundraising platform based on your team’s fundraising style and goals. Request demos and reach out to your top options to get your questions answered. Make sure any platform you invest in is highly user-friendly and fits within your budget.
- Promote your fundraiser on multiple channels. A multichannel marketing strategy helps get the word out about your fundraiser to a wider group of potential donors. Promote your fundraiser using social media, email, texts, and word-of-mouth advertising to ensure that you can reach enough people to meet your fundraising goal.
- Thank your volunteers and donors. As you wrap up your fundraising efforts, remember to thank all donors and volunteers for their support by sending detailed thank-you notes or emails. These messages should describe the impact of donors’ contributions to your team. When you show supporters that their donations actually made a difference, they’ll feel much more satisfied with their decision to give and be more likely to support your team again in the future.
With these tips, you’ll not only be able to reach your goals for your current campaign but also lay the groundwork for greater community support in the future.
Fundraising is sometimes a necessary activity to keep your basketball team going, but that doesn’t mean it has to be a chore! With these fundraising ideas and tips, you can earn donations while engaging your team and community in fun events and initiatives.
Interested in learning more about the ins and outs of school and sports team fundraising? Review these additional free resources for more information:
- Top 10 Fundraising Platforms and Tools for Schools. Depending on the type of fundraiser you want to host, you may have to invest in a school fundraising platform. This guide rounds up the top 10 fundraising platforms that help schools host effective campaigns.
- 10+ of Our Most Effective Booster Club Fundraisers. If you’re a member of your school’s booster club, you may be tasked with hosting fundraisers for all school extracurricular activities. Here are 10 effective booster club fundraisers that can help you meet your goals.
- How to Organize A Fun Run Fundraiser in 7 Steps. Interested in hosting a fun run to support your basketball team? Use these seven steps to plan a successful event.