If you’re in charge of raising money for your school’s athletic programs you already know how important it is to keep things fresh. You try hard to find a balance between raising the money you need and not asking your team and their parents to constantly sell things. If you’ve done your research looking for a solution, you know that there’s a lot of buzz right now about playbooks, which some call merchant tickets.

What Exactly Are Playbooks And Merchant Tickets?

Merchant tickets are a sheet of coupons that are sold to the public for a set price. These books fold up like an accordion, making them easy to store in a purse, backpack, or briefcase. The consumer uses coupons for discounts on products and for savings at local stores and restaurants. Here are the benefits that make merchant tickets so popular for high-school-athletics fundraising:

  • The top of the playbook features a space for your sports program’s logo and any other information that you want to include. You may even consider including game schedules and practice times.
  • You can start with as few as 16 coupons and as many as 60. Information about the promotional items is printed on the front side, with disclaimers and other important information on the back of each merchant coupon.
  • Printed on heavy, glossy card-stock paper, these merchant tickets are made to stand up to day-to-day use by the consumer. This means that they’ll also be kept in pristine
    condition when your students toss them in their backpacks. You know they do this!
  • They can be perforated or no perforated. There are pros and cons to both decisions: perforated edges can leave loose coupons in the consumer’s purse, but the perforation makes them easier to access. No perforated merchant tickets save a little on printing costs, but that does mean that your buyers must cut the tickets themselves. Convenient dotted cut lines are printed on the option without perforations.

The takeaway from this is that playbooks make it easy for you to sell a quality and valuable product with your own branding, that your athletes or students and their parents can take with them practically anywhere.

The Benefits Of Using Playbooks And Merchant Tickets To Raise Funds

Every team has done it: selling cookie dough, gourmet popcorn, candy, or gift wrap means that your team must invest quite a bit of money in the initial product, and then whatever they sell is profit for the fundraiser. However, with playbooks, the businesses on the coupons are offering up a discount on their product or service, so your team only needs to pay printing costs before realizing the profits. This means more profit with fewer sales. There’s no doubt that playbooks and merchant tickets are effective fundraisers for high school sports teams. Here’s why:

  • Playbooks allow businesses the freedom to limit the offer of a free item or discounted service to a single time.
  • The individual coupons make it easier for the supporting business to see the direct benefits of all the business they’ve received by participating in your team’s fundraiser. They can keep the coupons in a separate area and determine at the end of the promo period how many free and discounted items they gave away. If they received additional business as part of the fundraiser and have a convenient record to compare year over year results or how to structure the next fundraising season they choose to participate in.
  • Merchant tickets allow you to develop a partnership with companies that will benefit your school team for many years. In the future, it’ll be easy to keep up with the list of companies that have contributed in the past.

Tips For Finding Playbook And Merchant Ticket Business Sponsors

Finding businesses that are willing to offer a free item or offer their services at a discounted price for your fundraising book is usually very easy. Businesses love free advertising and increased consumer interest. When you talk to a local merchant about supporting your team through your playbook fundraiser, remember these benefits:

  • Free items or donated savings percentages could potentially be tax deductible for the businesses that offer them. Merchants should consult their accountants to see if this deduction is allowable.
  • Businesses are introduced to new customers and can greatly expand their market.
  • Merchants can drive sales to a new item or service by offering a discount on that product during the fundraising promotional period. A promo code will help organize and track the popularity of the discount.

So whom should you ask? Start with those local businesses and organizations that are already committed to helping your school and who are interested in encouraging youth sports.

As the head of your school’s athletic programs, find out which businesses pay for ad space in other school sports programs on game day. Talk to other program directors at the school and see which businesses donate time, money, and products. Remember that merchant tickets tend to be a good advertising opportunity for local businesses, that doesn’t cost them anything to be involved in, other than a discount on their products and services.

And don’t hesitate to find support from your team’s family members. Send out a team-wide email, asking family members to reach out to their connections. Many of them may be local business owners themselves or have bosses and friends who are eager to invest in upcoming school fundraising programs.

There are many fundraising opportunities to help your team get the equipment and items that it needs. Don’t make fundraising a matter of trial and error: merchant tickets are a proven solution to raise money with very little overhead.