Soccer has long been a favorite sport in other countries and is growing at a phenomenal rate in the United States. It is popular among all age groups and is played as a team sport in many colleges and high schools. The U.S. Youth Soccer Association (USYS) registers nearly three million players every year. In addition to benefiting from exercise, children who play soccer learn many core values that will help them later in life, including courage, teamwork, dependability and mutual respect. Many college soccer players earn a scholarship that helps to pay their tuition and living expenses, and some go on to play professional sports.
Regardless of whether soccer is being played at the adult level or in high schools and youth leagues, soccer teams incur a variety of expenses. Typical costs include playing equipment, field prep, uniforms, training equipment, travel expenses and referee salaries. These costs are sometimes partially offset by school budgets and parks and recreation programs sponsored by cities, counties, townships and other local governments. When that is not the case, though, many teams rely on fundraising efforts to offset some of their expenses. But just how does a soccer team go about raising funds? To help with that, here are 12 ways to raise funds for your soccer team or organization:
Many elementary schools hold boosterthons to raise funds. In a similar fashion, soccer teams can hold a goal-a-thon. Such an event can be used to raise funds with very little overhead costs. In a goal-a-thon, team members work to get family and friends to pledge $1.00 to $3.00 for every goal the team member makes when kicking from a base line. Then a competition is held to see who can score the most goals. Donations can also be made on a flat fee basis rather than on a per goal basis. The event can turn into a real cloud pleaser when parents, coaches and teachers man the nets. The event also takes on more of a party atmosphere when parents bring goodies and drinks to serve at the conclusion of the event.
Raffles have always made good fundraisers. For a soccer raffle, get team members to sell raffle tickets for a chance to win prizes. The prizes could be purchased out of donated funds, or local businesses might be willing to donate prizes in exchange for free advertising. Popular prizes often include free restaurant meals and gift certificates. Big-screen TVs and other electronic equipment also tend to sell a lot of tickets. You might want to consider holding the raffle and awarding the prizes in conjunction with another event. One word of caution, though: make sure that the type of raffle you are planning to hold is legal where you live because state and local laws vary from place to place on the legality of raffles.
3. Fun Run
Fun runs are easy to organize and require almost no equipment. You just need people who are willing to run and other people who are willing to sponsor the runners. Sponsorships could also come from businesses and organizations. You could open the run to the public or limit it to members of your soccer team and their families. Obviously, you will need a place to hold the run and select the date and time that the run will be held. The run could start at one location and end at another, or it could consist of multiple laps around a track. You will also want to select a theme for the run, and you should consider asking participants to dress in a way that promotes the theme. You could also sell T-shirts to runners.
4. Silent Auction
A silent auction offers prizes to the highest bidder. Unlike a public auction where bidders openly compete against each other, silent auction bidders record their bid on a form and submit it privately. Prizes can be as small as an apple pie or as large as an expense paid vacation. Although bidders do not openly bid against each other, they can see what the highest bid is at any time and increase their bid right up to the last second. Additionally, bidders have the opportunity to bid on multiple items. Silent auctions are often held in conjunction with other events because they do not detract from the other activities taking place at the same time that the silent auction is being held.
5. Bake Sale
Bake sales have always been good fundraisers. After all, who has the willpower to leave a bake sale empty handed once they have seen all the homemade brownies, cookies, cakes and other goodies being offered for sale? Bake sales are simple to organize, and it is relatively easy to get the participation of people who love to bake. You could organize your bake sale around a soccer theme and require each baker to incorporate a soccer element into their baked goods. Then award a prize to the baker who does the best job of that. To ensure that you have a variety of baked goods to offer, make a list of what you would like to sell at the bake sale. Then ask bakers to choose one or more items from the list that they would like to prepare.
6. Sneaker Recycling
Soccer players tend to go through a lot of sneakers, especially children who are growing so fast that they can go from one sneaker size to another in a manner of months or even weeks. Discarding old sneakers and allowing them to end up in a landfill, though, is not environmentally friendly because most sneaker material is not biodegradable. A better solution is to recycle them. Sneaker recycling can be turned into a fundraiser by setting up donation boxes and asking team members to donate their old sneakers whenever they buy new ones. The sneakers can be collected throughout the season and submitted in batch form to a recycler who will process them and subsequently send the team a check or electronic payment.
7. Team Sponsorship
Businesses use a variety of marketing campaigns to advertise their services and products. You may be able to take advantage of that through team sponsorships. You could produce a tiered list of sponsorship opportunities available for businesses and corporations to choose from. That would allow businesses of all sizes and budgets to select the opportunity that is right for them. The list might include such things as wearing their name on your uniforms or displaying their logo on your playing field. You could also announce their sponsorship at a game and at special events. Be sure to take advantage of any relationships that currently exist between local businesses and team members and their families.
8. Team Restaurant
This type of fundraiser is good for soccer teams of all ages, including adult leagues. If your team likes to go out to eat after practice or after a match, see if you can partner with a local restaurant that will become your team’s official restaurant. In return for taking your team there on a regular basis, ask if the restaurant would be willing to refund a portion of your team’s total bill back to you as a donation. This type of fundraiser would probably work better with locally owned mom and pop restaurants rather than with big chains. You could also ask friends and family to join you so that the total bill is larger, which means that the donation would also be larger.
9. Talent Night
This fundraiser works well for youth leagues. Host a talent night where soccer players along with family members, teachers, coaches and other acquaintances get to show off their many talents. You can raise funds by charging an admission fee. Open the stage to all kinds of talent, including singers, musicians, dancers, comedians and magicians. Younger children might even be allowed to recite a poem, take part in a skit or tell a joke. Be sure your stage is large enough to accommodate physical talents like karate, skateboarding and trick bike riding. Some team members might even like to show off the talents that their pets have.
10. Car Wash
Car washes are ideal fundraisers for youth soccer teams. Many people have their car washed every week, so paying you to wash their car instead of their regular car wash vender is not an additional expense. To hold a car wash, you will need a suitable location with a water hose or some other type of water system. You will also need car washing supplies, including buckets, car washing soap, sponges and drying towels. You can advertise your car wash with signs placed at strategic locations and on social media. Pick a day and time that most people would be available to have their car washed. Saturdays from noon to 5 pm works well in most cases. Someone will need to organize the car wash and assign roles to each participant.
11. Community Cleanup
If you want to raise money for your soccer team and do your community a favor at the same time, a community cleanup is the way to go. You can clean up roadside litter, beautify a natural area or remove unwanted graffiti from buildings. You can get people to donate a flat fee or to make a per-unit pledge, such as per pound, per trash bag or per building. You can also sell T-shirts to participants. Another way that you can raise funds is by cleaning up after special events like arts and crafts festivals or dog shows. Hosts of such events will often pay another organization to clean up the grounds when the event is over. To successfully complete a community cleanup, you will need to identify exactly what you hope to accomplish and assign specific tasks to team members.
12. Professional Fundraisers
In addition to the fundraising ideas listed above, you might want to consider working with a professional fundraiser to help you raise money for your soccer team. Professional fundraisers have the expertise to help you reach a wider audience and to bring in more revenue. Many professional fundraisers have been in business for years and know what works and what doesn’t. Some have existing relationships with businesses that allow them to offer such things as discount cards and coupons. Others have products that can be sold, such as tumblers with preprinted logos or edible products like cookie dough. Additionally, most professional fundraisers are able to quickly set up a marketing campaign that includes flyers, direct mail, email and text messages.