Three Cheap and Easy Fundraising Ideas for your Program
Like it or not, money is one of the most important parts of a football program. Without enough money to pay for equipment, a school cannot field a team, and many students may be unable to play. As school budgets become tighter and tighter, and many athletic departments continue to go with pay-for-play models, coaches are always looking for new and creative ways to bring in more money to the program.
That’s why I wanted to share a few things that I believe can work for you. If you’re already doing one or more of these, then you’re way ahead of the game. I hope you’re able to get at least one idea out of this, even if it’s something that’s not mentioned in this post. Learn more after the jump.
1. Start accepting credit and debit cards at the concession stand
This one is a no-brainer in my opinion. Every high school, middle school, youth, and (especially) college program in America should be doing this. After attending a high school game each week and almost never having cash on hand to get a hot dog or a Pepsi, I wondered aloud why no one, at least in my area, takes credit or debit cards at the concession stand, especially given how easy it is, and how many people use cards instead of cash these days.
You’re probably thinking that you need to buy a fancy credit card machine and file a bunch of complicated paperwork, but you’d be wrong. If you want to accept credit and debit cards at the concession stand or any other place where you’re soliciting funds for the team, all you need is a smartphone and a special credit card reader that can easily plug into the top of your phone. Or, if you prefer, a tablet PC like an iPad or Samsung Galaxy Tab will work just as well. It’s almost certain that you or someone in your program has a smart phone or a tablet PC, so now the only other hardware you’ll need is the card reader you’ll use to swipe the customer’s cards.
There are dozens of different online companies who offer card readers in exchange for your business, but for my money, there’s no one better than PayPal. For one thing, they’ve been around longer than any other payment processor, and their customer service line is always available for calls 24 hours per day. They do billions of dollars worth of transactions each day, and are used by practically everyone online as a payment option (including myself) so you can be assured that your money and financial information will be safe.
The best part is that there’s no complicated setup. All you have to do is download the app to your device, sign up for a business account, and you’ll be able to get a card reader for free. It’s important to remember that PayPal will take 2.7% of each transaction, but those are pretty standard percentages throughout the credit card processing industry. Each time you use your credit or debit card at the grocery store, in a restaurant, or shopping on Amazon, the credit card company takes somewhere around 3% of the transaction, so rest assured, you’re not getting ripped off by PayPal, it’s simply the cost of doing business with credit and debit cards.
While you may not like the fact that PayPal is taking a percentage of every sale, look at it this way, you’ll be selling so many more Gatorades, hot dogs, hamburgers, and cups of hot chocolate that you won’t even notice it. You’ll have provided your fans with a much easier way to pay, and you won’t have to carry nearly as much cash and change with you. Not only that, but now your fans won’t be limited to how much cash they have on hand. If you’re selling team gear, hats, shirts, or other merchandise, you can sell it that way too.
You can also link your PayPal account to a bank account that you may already have set up with your booster club, or whatever account you use for program expenses and fundraising. It usually takes 2-3 business days to transfer money from your PayPal account to a bank account, but if you get a PayPal Debit Card, you’ll be able to spend your money immediately!
If you’ve already got a cash register or electronic Point of Sale system set up you can integrate PayPal into that easily, but for most of you, a smart phone or tablet PC should be all you need.
- Smart Phone/ Tablet PC – iPhone/Android Phone or iPad/ Microsoft Surface/ etc
- Credit Card Reader – FREE from PayPal
How do I get started?
- CLICK HERE to sign up for a PayPal account (it’s free) and apply for a card reader.
- Make sure to browse the FAQs on the PayPal site to answer your most common questions. Though the setup is pretty easy, I’d still make sure whoever you’ve got taking payments at the concession stand is familiar with the basics of the system.
- ADVERTISE!!! Put up a sign that you’re accepting credit and debit cards at the concession stand and announce it over the PA several times, or your fans will have no idea. In fact, by letting people know you’re now accepting card payments, I guarantee you’ll get more customer traffic than before, and even better, you’ll have more sales!
2. Teespring Campaigns
Selling t-shirts as a way to raise money for your school, club, or team has been around forever, but the cost and time involved in ordering and selling the shirts, not to mention the opportunity cost of storing the inventory until it sells, has discouraged a lot of coaches from adopting it as a regular tactic.
However, thanks to the internet and the lowered costs of production, there is now a way that you can create your own custom design, put it on a shirt, sell it, make money, and never have to spend a dime on production or shipping costs. In fact, you never have to even see the shirt yourself, unless of course you decide to order one.
If you’re thinking this sounds too good to be true, I completely understand. How do they even make any money if they’re not charging me anything? Here’s the secret: Teespring doesn’t make any money until you do. They’ll take a cut to cover their cost of production and shipping out of each shirt. Depending on the type of material you choose, this could be anywhere from $6-$12 per shirt. After the unit price is figured, you then have the ability to set the final prices. What’s left over after the cost of production is your profit.
For example, if a shirt cost $10 to make, and you sell it for $20, you’ll make $10 profit PER SHIRT. Imagine selling 50 shirts, and now that’s $500 your program didn’t have before. In other words, Teespring makes money on every shirt they sell. Your campaign will have to sell at least ten shirts in order for the shirts to be printed and the orders shipped out, but each sale after that is pure profit. All you have to do is design the shirt and promote it.
That is the magic of Teespring, a site which allows you to do just that. You can go to the site, sign up and start selling in minutes. Instead of typing out a long instructional guide, I put together a short video of me designing a shirt and launching a campaign in just six minutes. Of course, you probably want to put a little more thought into your design than I did, but this video shows you the nuts and bolts of how to launch a campaign.
Of course, things like these will never sell if you don’t promote them, but football teams and other programs have an advantage over the normal everyday entrepreneur just trying to make a buck. You already have your target audience picked out for you. This is especially true for high school programs. You have an entire school full of students and staff who want to feel like part of the team. Now they have a chance to wear school colors and “official team gear” because you’ve put a special campaign out there via social media.
(Speaking of which, if your team doesn’t already have a presence on social media, you’re missing out on a great way to connect with fans and promote fundraisers like this one)
Promoting this campaign through your social media pages on Facebook and Twitter is a great way to drive traffic and dollars to the page.
What you’ll need:
- A computer
- A great design
- A free Teespring account
- A few minutes to assemble the shirt and start selling
- Preferably a Facebook and Twitter account
How do I get started?
- Teespring pays all profits from t-shirt sales out through PayPal, so there’s another great reason to have a PayPal account.
- If you promote the campaign online, but still would like extras to sell at games or give away if need be, you can always order some for yourself through the campaign. For one thing it ensures that your campaign will hit the ten shirt minimum, you’ll also be getting most of that money back that you spent, since it will be paid out as part of the profit on the campaign.
3. Sell your game film
This requires no investment other than buying the blank DVDs themselves, and possibly a DVD burner and/or duplicator if you don’t already have one.
Depending on how much of it you’ve got lying around, you may be able to sell video to former players and alumni from as far back as a decade ago or even more.
Just as an example, at my alma mater Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis, we had videos in storage from as far back as 1986 in VHS form. With a quarter century of video that otherwise would simply be taking up space in storage, we were able to generate some income to help the program.
At this moment I’m in the process of putting it all online and creating a site where former players and fans can purchase entire seasons on DVD, with the program benefiting from every sale. The pricing is irrelevant, it’s the principle of using things you’ve already got to create extra cash flow for your program.
While your video library may not be quite as extensive, you can still offer to sell the video to those interested. The amount of money you can generate when compared with the amount of money required to start selling is an incredible profit to expense ratio.
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