It’s the bottom of the ninth and your team is scoring low against budget cuts. Maybe this past year has thrown a couple of curveballs at your league and you need to find a way to make up for the lost funds. Or maybe you’re looking for ways to keep scoring big as a growing, competitive Little League program.
Regardless of your league’s current scoring position, how do you use your resources to keep covering your bases? By planning and executing a Little League fundraising campaign to hit your goals out of the park! In this guide, we’ll take you through the steps of a heavy-hitting Little League campaign.
Little League Fundraising FAQ
If you’re new to the world of Little League fundraising or sports team fundraising in general, you might have some questions. Don’t worry, we’ve listed some frequently asked questions for your reference. Let’s break them down below.
What steps should we take to succeed?
Before you take on your first Little League fundraiser, it’s important to understand the basics. Use this structure to make your fundraiser a success right off the bat.
- 1. Establish your goals. Which areas of your league could use some extra funds? Some fundraisers are meant to fulfill equipment needs and others can fulfill staffing needs or provide more team-building opportunities. Whatever your need is, it’s best to establish it early-on along with a some specific goals which can be adjusted later as needed.
- 2. Establish and assign roles. Usually, fundraising committee members plan the fundraiser, volunteers run events and advertise it to their network, and Little League players participate in the fundraiser. For your fundraiser, you could assign parents to organize and advertise the event, coaches to brief players on their responsibilities, and players to report back to their coaches.
- 3. Create and execute your marketing plan. Consider answering questions like: where will you promote the campaign, will it be online or in-person? Who are you trying to reach with your promotions? Will your campaign have a special theme or brand? And how often will send updates to supporters? Once you’ve answered these questions, schedule your promotions ahead of time, so you can be ready to post as the event draws near.
- 4. Conduct donor outreach. Leverage past fundraising data to locate potential donors. Contact local businesses and other community members to position your Little League as a potential sponsorship opportunity.
- 5. Finalize your fundraiser’s schedule. Select a date or date range to execute your fundraiser. Be sure you give yourself enough time to recruit volunteers and allow participants to step up to the plate.
- 6. Say thank you to your volunteers, donors, and fundraising participants. You pulled off a game-winning fundraiser! Thank all the individuals who made it possible. Volunteers, donors, observers, participants, and sponsors are the dream team that made your fundraising vision come to life.
- 7. Analyze your data to gauge the success of your fundraiser. Which fundraising areas went well and which need some additional coaching? Use your fundraising software to analyze and record your data for the next Little League fundraiser!
Performing data analysis is like watching old sports tape footage, you see exactly where you need to improve. The more you record and analyze your previous fundraisers, the better your future ones will be.
How do we determine the best fundraising idea?
There are several Little League fundraising ideas, like hit-a-thons, to choose from. Chat with your fundraising team or reflect on the success of previous campaigns to inform your idea selection. Other brainstorming techniques to consider include:
- Researching fundraising options. If you’re new to sports fundraising, it might be best to start with a little research. Don’t limit your search to just Little League ideas; be open to adapting other fundraising ideas. For example, a fundraising letter can easily be tailored to your needs, or you might find a basketball fundraising idea that is the perfect fit.
- Asking our fundraising participants (team) to pick from a few options. This method is ideal if your team struggles to land on specifics. Throw out a couple of ideas and bring them to a team vote. Players are more likely to enthusiastically participate if they helped to choose the campaign themselves!
- Narrowing down your list based on your resources, goals, timeframe, and bandwidth. For instance, a year-long major donor appeal wouldn’t be feasible to fund a tournament coming up in a month, and a single bake sale likely won’t raise enough to cover a major travel expense.
There are a couple of different ways to field insights for your campaign. Remember that infeasible fundraising idea might be a golden one in a couple of seasons. If you haven’t already, keep a tally of ideas for future fundraising reference. We recommend keeping these classic fundraising ideas in your back pocket.
For instance, if your fundraising idea does not suit the needs of your Little League team, consider recycling it for other organizations in your area, like your community’s flag football league, to use. By sharing fundraising ideas, you can build a connected fundraising network.
How do we get team members to enthusiastically participate?
The best way to keep your teammates engaged is to empower them to actively participate in the fundraising process. They’ll inherently be more invested in the fundraiser if they’re a part of its success.
You can engage them by using the peer-to-peer fundraising format. By working with a platform like 99Pledges, members of your league will automatically receive their own online donation page and easily spread the word about the fundraiser with their friends and families. You can then leverage the power of online donations and track progress towards your fundraising goals. Once your campaign wraps up, you’ll receive the proceeds within the following 24 hours.
Promise prizes for the top earners to pique their interest. These prizes could be gift cards, spirit wear, or a free dinner. Harness your team’s competitive spirit to score high fundraising dollars.
What can we fundraise for?
Fundraising objectives are defined by your team’s needs and resources. Here are some common objectives for a Little League fundraiser:
- New uniforms/equipment
- Funds for travel tournaments
- Additional coaching staff
- Funds for a stadium or field upkeep/replacement
- Team bonding opportunities such as a week-long intensive camp
- Overhead for hosting a tournament, such as an event venue rental or umpire
Prioritize your immediate fundraising needs before aiming to fundraise above your capacity. Consider planning out future fundraisers for the remaining unreached fundraising objectives. Don’t worry, you’ll get to them, and if you raise more than you planned, you’ll know exactly what to fund next.
Determining your fundraiser’s focus should be the first order of business during the planning phase. Making this decision will hopefully produce a domino effect to guide the rest of your Little League fundraiser’s decisions.
Next, manage your efforts with a reliable fundraising platform to monitor your results and adapt your strategy. There are different platforms for each fundraising campaign. Choose your campaign theme and then select the appropriate platform.
Top Little League Fundraising Ideas
Still unsure about which fundraising idea to choose? Don’t sweat it! We’ve compiled a short list of high-quality ideas to catapult your team into the major leagues.
Appeal to your team’s love of baseball by hosting a hit-a-thon tournament. Whoever raises the most money over a certain threshold can participate in the hit-a-thon event for big prizes! You can also monetize the event by charging for admission.
Hot dog eating contest
There is nothing like enjoying baseball concessions. In fact, some of your team/spectators are likely already chowing down on hot dogs watching your games. Turn it into a fun competition and raise money by charging admission. Challenge your parent network to raise money to participate. The winner gets a nice prize, while the loser gets a pie in the face!
Coaches vs players/parents vs players game
Put your skills to the test by pitting your players against the adults! Whoever raises above a certain threshold can participate in a fun scrimmage. Here are some best practices:
- Have spectators sponsor a team member and donate based on their performance.
- Follow this margin: $15 per home run, $5 per base hit, and $10 per each batter stuck out. For example, if Bobby hits 1 home run and hits 1 double base hit, his sponsor would donate $25
- Offer a trophy to the winning team to incentivize your high stakes game
Matching gift day
Billions in matching gift revenue goes unused every year. Host a matching gift day in which you push for your donors to check if their company has a program. Then, collect their donations through your online donation page with your matching gift software.
Host a fun-run
Have your players get to home base quicker by hosting a fun-run. Make it a one-mile run or 5K walk and encourage athletes from all ages and sports to compete. From there, segment the race times by age and set an enviable prize to compete for.
Branded merchandise sale
Work with a product fundraising partner to create branded merchandise with your team’s logo on it. Then, sell these to your fans and team members and put the revenue towards your fundraising campaign!
Get your players involved by asking individuals to complete a certain task. If your team is comprised of younger athletes, have them complete a smaller task like dog walking or yard work.
Create a “coach punishment” fundraiser
This one is a crowd-pleaser and can draw some serious funds. Incentivize athletes to gather support for their coach to complete a dare. Have coaches pledge to dye their hair, sit in a tree, or wear a onesie on game days.
Host a kid’s camp
Remind parents and kids of the benefits of sports. Host a sports camp outside of the regular Little League season to gather funds and generate more interest in your baseball program. Consider teaming up with other sports like soccer to attract more interest.
Partner with a local restaurant
Is there a pizza place that the kids rave about? See if they would be open to sponsoring your Little League team. Contact the manager to see if they would be interested in hosting a fundraising night.
These fundraising ideas can easily be combined to maximize their impact. For instance, you could run a branded merchandise campaign before and during your championship hit-a-thon. Sell your t-shirts at the game, use a t-shirt cannon to bolster crowd energy, or offer a branded free t-shirt to the winner of your hit-a-thon.
This season, don’t strike out while hitting your fundraising goals. Follow these Little League basics to create a championship-worthy campaign!
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