It can be costly to run a sports team, and most of the time you’ll need to fundraise to keep up with expenses. Football teams are no exception, with travel and equipment costs popping up before, during, and after the football season. While most teams ask players to pay fees each year, not every program can flourish on dues alone.
Football teams can take advantage of unique sports fundraising ideas year-round, not just during the season. Funding can be low at the beginning of the season if most of the revenue from past fundraisers and games was used in the previous season. Pre-season fundraisers, like a spring fun run, could be the perfect way to set your team up for a successful season.
Fundraisers help you give your players the resources and training they need to play their best. In this guide, we’ll cover some of the top football fundraising ideas and tips to get you started:
Keep in mind that one of the most effective ways to raise money is by launching a pledge fundraiser. For these types of fundraisers, your participants collect pledges using personal donation pages before participating in the fundraiser. Pledges can be based on anything measurable, such as the number of laps participants complete or how long they can engage in a certain activity.
Let’s learn more about pledge fundraising with our first football fundraising idea, a walk-a-thon.
Top Football Fundraising Ideas
Football Fundraiser 1: Walk-a-thon
Walk-a-thon fundraisers are easy to organize and can be pledge-based. Before the walk-a-thon, participants gather donations from supporters in the form of pledges. When a donor pledges, they are committing to donate a certain amount of money per unit of distance the participant walks.
These fundraisers rely on pledges from supporters to raise revenue, meaning that having a solid network in place is ideal. With a fundraising platform like 99Pledges, it’s easy for participants to share their donation page online, reaching beyond the network of people they interact with daily. For example, if one of your players has an aunt who lives in Arizona, she’s far more likely to donate online than she is to mail in a check.
Once you sort out logistical details and your participants accrue pledges, it’s time to hold the event. Encourage team members to bring their friends and family so they can join or spectate the walk. Make the walk-a-thon an opportunity for community connection and relationship building.
Football Fundraiser 2: Exclusive seats
A very simple way to fundraise for your football team is to sell exclusive or VIP seats at the top of the season. These seats should be the most valuable spots in your stadium and make the buyer feel special.
To get started, choose the section of seating with the best view. You might need to go on a field trip to your team’s stadium and move around a few times before you find the perfect location. Then, plan to reserve those seats and even include cushions to make the experience more valuable.
Football Fundraiser 3: Themed contest
Contests are an easy, fun, and customizable way to fundraise. Choose a theme your team is interested in to encourage engagement. The theme you choose doesn’t have to relate directly to football, but it’s best if students and parents are excited about it.
There are endless ways to implement a contest fundraiser, and you can get as creative as you like. If you’re feeling stuck, here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Costume contest: Host this fundraiser in October to make the most of the Halloween spirit. Challenge team members, parents, coaches, and other supporters to win the title of best costume. To fundraise, charge an admission fee or require a donation for each vote.
- Talent show: Give your team and its supporters a chance to show off their talents, sports-related or not. Ask your school for permission to use the auditorium or gymnasium so participants can experience performing on stage. If you don’t have access to a venue or want to include participants who aren’t local, consider holding a hybrid fundraiser to maximize revenue.
- Photo contest: Let participants show off their photography skills and spark a little friendly competition among them. Announce the fundraiser at the beginning of the season and require photos to be of your team. Not only will you have high-quality photos of the team at the end of the season, but participants will likely attend more games and events to try to snap the perfect photo.
To boost participation in your contest, feature prizes for first, second, and third place. Including gift cards, free tickets, or season passes incentivizes supporters to enter and try their hardest to win. You could also give out custom medals or trophies along with these prizes to make winners feel more special.
Football Fundraiser 4: Coupon books
Coupon books almost sell themselves, especially if the money from sales goes to a good cause. The books are usually filled with coupons for local restaurants and businesses. When you ask local businesses to partner with you for this project, mention the potential increase in foot traffic and the promotional nature of coupon books.
Selling the coupon books is the easy part. But before you can sell a product, there are a few steps you’ll need to take:
- Reach out to local businesses on behalf of your team to secure exclusive coupons for the book. Consider allocating a few coupons for each month the book runs.
- Use a service or software to create the book. Be sure to include any photos, QR codes, or barcodes the businesses request.
- Print and assemble the books. Either use a professional service or get the team together to help with trimming paper, stacking pages, and stapling the books.
Then, you’re ready to sell! Not only does this fundraiser benefit your team by raising the funds you need for a successful season, but it also creates valuable partnership opportunities with local businesses. One day, those partnerships could become sponsorships that help you host fun events, revamp your locker room, or get the funds you need to travel to an exclusive training camp.
Football Fundraiser 5: Summer event
During the summer, people are always looking for ways to spend time outside with family and friends. Hold a summer event to take advantage of sunny weather and gear up for the upcoming football season.
Summer events are the perfect way to raise much-needed funds to cover pre-season expenses. Many football programs make the majority of their profits from ticket and concession sales, but costs like equipment and training occur before those profits roll in. A summertime fundraiser gives you enough to work with in the meantime.
To build on your team’s pre-season funds, consider hosting a:
- Festival on the football field: Organize a mini music festival right on your school’s football field. Set up live music, food, and activities like yard games to transform the field into an exciting event space.
- Fireworks show: July 4th is one of the biggest summer holidays, and chances are your supporters would love to watch a fireworks show in exchange for a donation. Contact a professional pyrotechnics team to organize an impressive show for your supporters. Be sure to follow local safety guidelines when hosting this event.
- Field day: Organize a football-themed field day for supporters. To enrich the experience for participants, structure the field day like a day camp and appoint your players to be mentors for younger participants.
As you plan your summertime event, try to keep it family-friendly. Organize activities for various age groups so parents and children of all ages will have a great experience.
Football Fundraiser 6: VIP parking
Another fuss-free fundraising idea is to sell VIP parking spots for your team’s home games. Sell the parking spots situated in the best locations relative to the football stadium. Scout the areas before you commit to selling them to make sure they are accessible for those who might have trouble getting around.
To sweeten the deal for your supporters, this fundraiser can be done in conjunction with other VIP fundraisers. For example, you could create a package that includes VIP parking, seating, and season passes. This package could even be featured in an auction or raffle fundraiser or as a prize for another fundraiser.
Football Fundraiser 7: Shoe drive fundraiser
Hold a shoe drive fundraiser to collect shoes your supporters might otherwise donate or throw away. These fundraisers will benefit your team financially, and the shoes go on to support a good cause. If you’re considering launching a shoe drive, the process will look something like this:
- Partner with a shoe drive fundraising partner like Funds2Orgs.
- Promote the fundraiser to your supporters and ask for gently worn, used, and new shoes.
- Set up a date and time for your shoe drive fundraising partner to pick up the donations.
- Receive a check in the mail for the shoes.
Working with a shoe drive fundraising partner is the easiest way to launch one of these fundraisers. Once you team up with them, you’ll have access to a team of professional coaches and all the materials you need. Plus, pick-up is handled by the fundraising partner.
Despite how simple shoe drive fundraisers are, they have a big impact. Donations go on to benefit small business owners in developing countries. Your team secures the funds it needs for the season all while helping fuel economic growth in other nations.
Football Fundraiser 8: Custom merchandise
Your supporters want to show their support for the team, and they might be more willing to donate if they receive a product in return. Create merchandise customized to your team. Include elements like your team name, logo, and the year to make the merchandise feel more special.
You can create custom t-shirts, sweatshirts, and more with a graphic design service or software. If this is your first merchandise sale, it might be best to order a small amount of inventory initially to gauge demand and interest in the products.
Football Fundraiser 9: Spirit night
Spirit nights, sometimes called percentage nights, are a great opportunity for your team to work closely with a local restaurant. To host one of these fundraisers, find a restaurant willing to split some of their profits from a designated night of business with your team. Decide on a percentage of the proceeds that will benefit your team.
Spirit nights can be very lucrative, but only if your supporters know about the opportunity. Have your team members leverage their social media influence to spread the word about the event. These posts, along with promotions on your team’s social media pages, help drive up participation.
Football Fundraiser 10: Touchdown sponsorships
Give local businesses a chance to promote their products or services by sponsoring a touchdown.
To launch this fundraiser, sell local businesses the opportunity to have their business promoted each time your team scores a touchdown. Create signs for these sponsors that coaches or cheerleaders hold up when your team scores. If your stadium has screens, create a graphic to be featured on the screen each time your players make it to the endzone.
Football Fundraiser 11: Picnic
What better way to show appreciation for your supporters than to provide a delicious picnic? Picnic fundraisers effectively get families and kids involved with your team.
To launch a successful picnic fundraiser, follow these steps:
- Find a location. Look for an outdoor location with plenty of space for participants to spread out. Your football field or a local park are good options.
- Choose a date. Select a date and time most people are available (like a Saturday afternoon). Avoid holding the picnic on days when you know it will be extremely hot, cold, or rainy.
- Decide how to source food. Food is the most important part of the picnic. Choose whether you want to cater the event or assign dishes to team members. If the team is supplying food, be sure to follow food safety guidelines closely.
- Choose how to fundraise. Choose how to fundraise based on your venue and food offerings. Selling entry tickets to the picnic is the most straightforward, but it might be hard to check for these if you’re hosting in an open area. Try selling the food or the picnicking spots to participants instead.
If possible, put together a “plan B” option for the event in case of rain or other inclement weather. It’s best to have a backup location ready from the start rather than scrambling to figure something out the morning of the event.
Football Fundraiser 12: Kicking challenge
This idea is similar to a kick-a-thon that a soccer team might hold. Have supporters compete to determine who is the best kicker. Set up the contest on the football field and have coaches supervise and judge the kicks. Have team members on hand to retrieve balls, mark the kicking distances, and record scores.
If you decide to host a physical activity like this one, remember to send all participants a waiver ahead of time. Waivers require participants to accept liability for any risks associated with the fundraiser. Protect your team with a waiver so you can avoid the long-term, negative consequences of a lawsuit.
Football Fundraiser 13: Season passes
Purchasing tickets to each game adds up, and your team’s parents and top supporters are well aware of this. Put together a season pass package to help supporters save money, aiming to price the pass lower than one season of individual tickets would cost. To avoid losing out on regular ticket sales, sell a limited number of passes or restrict the time frame.
To add more value to passes, include helpful information. Create a calendar or list with important information about the upcoming season. For example, highlight important dates like the first game of the season, rivalry games, and homecoming.
Football Fundraiser 14: Powderpuff game
Give your female fans the chance to show off their football skills by hosting a powderpuff game. Powerpuff games switch up the typical roles in football games by having girls play the game while boys, usually football players, cheer on the sidelines.
While these events have an element of competition, they are meant to be very lighthearted. To break up the game, give your players a chance to perform a cheer routine as the halftime show. Your team is bound to have a good time with this idea, and they’ll raise money in the process.
Football Fundraiser 15: Fun run
Fun runs are an easy, pledge-based way to raise money. Using a fundraising platform like 99Pledges makes it even simpler to get donations online.
Active events like fun runs pair especially well with athletic programs like football because they encourage participants to get outdoors and exercise. Your team can also customize the “fun” element of the run to be whatever you like, whether it’s bubbles, colored powder, or baked goods.
To launch your fun run, follow these simple steps:
- Plan out your event’s logistical details.
- Choose a fundraising software to collect donations.
- Promote the event.
- Recruit supporters to participate in your run.
- Assign donation pages to each participant.
- Give participants guidance for getting pledges.
- Hold the event!
After the fun run, don’t forget to reach out to both your participants and donors. Take the time to send out thank-you messages to the people who are making your football season possible. Handwritten letters, emails, and phone calls are meaningful and personal ways to thank your supporters.
Tips for Using These Football Fundraising Ideas
Raising money for a football team is different from other school fundraisers. School fundraisers are intended to provide more educational resources and opportunities to students. Football team fundraisers, on the other hand, fundraise for a specific group of students to improve their experience in an extracurricular activity.
Keep these tips in mind as you plan and launch your football fundraiser:
- Highlight your program’s benefits. Because football fundraisers do not directly impact students’ education, some people might be hesitant to donate. Point out the benefits of extracurricular activities such as encouraging exercise and developing social skills.
- Use a fundraising platform. Fundraising platforms like 99Pledges streamline the fundraising process so your team can focus on gathering pledges. These platforms allow your team to share players’ online donation pages, collect donations, and track their progress.
- Check out matching gift programs. Many businesses include matching gifts as part of their corporate social responsibility programs. When one of their employees makes a donation, the business will match the donation. Encourage supporters to determine whether their employers offer matching gift programs. Highlight these programs on your online donation form or send follow-up reminder emails after donors give.
- Engage students and parents. Choose a fundraiser your parents and students will be excited about. For example, your players probably won’t be interested in something like a knit-a-thon. Make sure what you are asking the team to do is reasonable — and remember that they and their parents have full-time school and job commitments.
- Look at the big picture. Don’t limit fundraising to the short football season. Explain to your supporters that teams can be low on funding during pre-season training. For example, you might say that the proceeds from your holiday spirit night at a local restaurant will fund the next season’s summer training camp.
Overall, strive to be transparent with donors and get your players interested with an exciting fundraising idea. These best practices will help make your fundraiser a success.
Fundraising for your football team doesn’t have to be something your team dreads, especially when it can be a vital part of having a successful season. With a platform like 99Pledges, fundraising is simplified so all you have to worry about is finding donors and having fun at your event. If you’re looking for more sports fundraising ideas, take a look at the following resources:
- 10+ of Our Most Effective Booster Club Fundraisers. If you’re a member of your school’s booster club, you’re probably always searching for new fundraising ideas. This guide highlights 10+ effective fundraising ideas to help you raise money for students.
- 22 Successful Basketball Fundraising Ideas for Your Team. For parents or coaches of basketball players, fundraising can make or break your season. Try one of these 22 basketball fundraising ideas to raise funds to make the season a success.
- 7 Best Baseball Fundraising Ideas for Your Team to Try. There are lots of ways to raise money for that new locker room you’ve been wanting for your baseball team. Check out these 7 baseball fundraising ideas and some best practices for your campaign.