Finding Sponsorship for Your Team – Ideas that Work! Written By Gary Leland
Let’s face it. Maintaining a softball team can be a little more complex at it seems. Forming a good team only forms one piece of the pie. All players have to go through intensive training if you want to get on top of the league. You also have to make sure you get all the equipment you need and come up with enough funds to maintain them. Not to mention, the cost of travel when the team needs to go to different games and various tournaments. So as much as much as softball is a fun sport, it can be pretty costly as well. Therefore, parents, coaches, and team members must work hand in hand to get the team’s expenses all covered in order to make the most out of these kids’ softball experience. And the best solution for this is finding sponsorship for your team. The challenging question is – How do you get this successfully done?
Getting sponsorships can be broken down into two major categories:
1.Facilitate fundraising activities.
2.Get sponsorships from companies, organizations, and local businesses.
But first, a few things to consider. Everything should come easy by determining the Who, What, When, Why and most importantly, How?
Know WHAT your needs are.
You cannot just head out and go ask for sponsorships when you don’t even have a ball park figure of how much you actually need. For sure, there would be some prospect sponsors that might be too keen about details and they might ask you about a certain expense, like the cost of the uniforms for example, and it would be embarrassing not being able to answer a simple question as that. Hence, there are has to be a clear goal set. How much do you really need?
Make a list of the things that you need and its corresponding amount to be raised.
This not only allows you to determine your end goal, but also, this creates transparency within the team, which is very important especially when money matters are involved.
Determine WHEN the goal needs to be accomplished.
Setting a timeframe for your goal is a smart action to take. You have to plan your fundraising/sponsorship activities a few months ahead so you will have enough time as to what things are needed to be prepared.
Know WHO to target and How Many
Basically you need to know who your exact targets are. Determine what types of business you need to go to solicit sponsorships and know how many sponsors would you need. When selling a product, know who your target market is and try to determine ahead the number of people that comprise such market.
WHY They Should Support You
Fundraising is tantamount to sales and marketing. So whether you are selling a product, offering a service, or directly soliciting sponsorships from companies, you need to always keep in mind the idea of “what’s in it for them?” Why should they give you support? It would be quite a charitable act if they can support your team, but you also have to sell the features of whatever it is you’re selling. What will they get in return of helping you? Also, think about selling not just the product itself, but the awesome idea behind it!
HOW are you going to raise funds?
There are a multitude of fundraising ideas out there and the choices can be very overwhelming. First, get the consensus of the team as to what type of fundraising activity are you going to do. Consider what you think might click around your side of town.
There are two types of fundraising you can do. One is to sell a particular product or service. The other is by organizing an event.
Here are some of fundraising ideas that you can do in order to raise funds.
* Magazine sales
* Dinner and movies
* Coffee and tea
* Pizza fundraising cards
* Discount fundraiser cards
There are actually a number of fundraising websites available online wherein they can supply you with the particular products you want to sell including the resources you might need.
While some companies offer their products to you at discounted rates, others do not even require you to pay upfront.
A Wiser Idea… Fundraising Events
Doing a fundraising selling drive would mean that a lot of effort has to be exerted by the team as well as the coaches and parents. This may mean strolling around the neighborhood and selling a product or service door-to-door in order to solicit sales. Nothing wrong with this if the entire team is all up for it. But a more efficient way to raise funds is by letting them come to you by holding activities that would make them want to come to you and at the same time help you get the money you need.
Examples of such fundraising events include concerts, garage sale, and walk-a-thon or pitch-a-thon.
Another great idea is to sell items during the games. This is really a great way to generate funds. Concession stand items are really effective and fun. Items you can sell include popcorn, chips, hats, t-shirts, balloons, softdrinks, and candies.
Holding an auction event is another great way of raising funds for your team. Your creativity would come in handy here. An example of a cool auction idea is done by a team in Michigan where they auctioned off the naming rights to a new softball community field.
Other fundraising ideas include dinners, one-on-one coaching, pitching lessons, raffles, and games.
Solicit from Sponsors
Sponsors can be in the form of local businesses such as bars, restaurants, pizza parlors, sporting goods stores, insurance companies, ice cream shops, pet stores, auto repair shops, and so much more. What’s important is you are able to sell the idea that in exchange of helping you, you can help them grow their business as well by advertising them in various ways such as placing their logo on team uniforms and banners or recognizing them on the trophies and plaques.
While maintaining a team is complex, finding sponsorships for your team is another story of its own. You cannot sell cookies and candies just like that. Yes, teams have successfully done this and it seems simple. But if you really want to raise the money that you need for your team more efficiently and with the least level of stress involved as much as possible, then you have to get project management into place so you don’t overwhelm yourself and the entire team with the things you need to do or accomplish. With that said, proper planning plays a critical role to your success.
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