As a coach or athletic administrator, fundraising for your track-and-field team can be difficult. You want your players on the field as much as possible, making sure that they’ll be in the best possible position at the next track meet. But at the same time, you need the funds to buy new equipment, uniforms, and to make it to the state-championship meet that the students worked so hard to earn.
So what do you do? You use low-effort and creative fundraising ideas that take advantage of your track team’s size to raise the money you need. Since no one—not you and not your team—has much time to spare when it comes to fundraising, here are four strategies that don’t take a lot of time or effort, but which still get big results:
Let’s be honest: most—if not all—members in your local community know that your school has a track-and-field team. But how much do they truly know about the schedules of the meets? Especially to casual fans, track and field is simply not a sport that many are used to including in their weekly schedules. So why not make the process a bit easier for them?
Magnetic schedules are popular among collegiate and professional sports teams, but they can work wonderfully for your high-school track team, as well. In fact, they allow you to do several things:
- You can increase home game attendance through increased transparency.
- You can differentiate home and away games to ease traveling concerns for your fans and players’ families.
- You can customize the design to encourage school spirit among your audience.
But most importantly, magnetic schedules offer two unique fundraising opportunities. You can either:
- Seek out a local business as a sponsor and include their logo on the schedule for a sponsorship fee.
- Sell the schedules for a low price in your school and community.
Either way, magnetic schedules can pay off big without much effort.
You may also want to consider taking advantage of another way to simultaneously raise funds and evoke school spirit: printing a custom puzzle. By using your team picture, a signature spring or long-jump win, or your school mascot, you can do just that.
Consider your audience: you will raise your funds from your local community, and more specifically, the families and extended relatives of your players. Your audience has a vested interest in your team, and more than a few of them will be at the right age to enjoy puzzles. Selling custom-printed puzzles can be a great, low-effort option for raising funds for your track-and-field team.
One of the most popular products for every high-school sport fundraiser is the plastic discount card. Selling plastic discount cards is a simple fundraising strategy that doesn’t require much legwork or initial time investment, but can pay off big.
Here’s how it works: local businesses donate an offer to go on the cards. You work with the business to decide on whether the discounts should be unlimited, or if there should be an expiration date for seasonal promotions. You only pay to have the printing completed, and then sell the discount cards to community members and family supporters who will receive extra savings at the participating businesses.
There are different options to accommodate your team and community’s needs: will your supporters find a single discount card more convenient than key tags, or even one-time break-off tabs? The fundraising cards are extremely durable and will stand up over time, so find the card option that will appeal most to your demographic.
Of course, you can go always opt for one of the more traditional fundraising ideas by selling cookie dough, pretzels, wrapping paper or gourmet popcorn. If you have the time, these fundraisers are tried-and-true methods for making money—and many parents expect them.
While they do require more of a time investment than the other ideas mentioned here, luckily, you have a unique advantage compared to other sports teams: you probably have the single largest squad in the school at your disposal. That means you have more players available to help you with any fundraising efforts necessary!
Since everyone’s time is valuable, and traditional fundraisers require more planning, be sure that you have invested the time to organize and streamline operations. Fundraising order forms and envelopes are essential to making sure that your students are making the most out of their time and efforts, and that orders can be quickly filled. Whether you’re buying envelopes and order forms to keep track of your cookie-dough orders or discount card orders, organizational items are essential to making every successful fundraiser effortless.
Traditional fundraisers are a great way to make money, and they can be done with a minimal time investment when you have the right organizational materials. Before you decide on the right fundraising strategy for your team, consider the wide array of opportunities that are open to high-school sports teams today, your priorities, and your resources. How much time do you have to invest in a traditional fundraiser? How much team support do you have and need? What is your community most likely to be interested in purchasing to help your team?
Fundraising is important, and so is the time that you spend coaching and finding ways to raise money. In the end, you’re working to make the year great for the student athletes, and to make sure that they have all the equipment and travel opportunities that they deserve. The best way to do that is with low-effort fundraising strategies that can have big results.