It’s amazing how fundraising for track and field can fall through the cracks. You have a great team of athletes who are out there every day, giving it their all, but somehow, your team doesn’t get the attention that’s given to others. Baseball, basketball, and football are often the teams that pull in the big funds. Fortunately, your team doesn’t have to spend all its time on the sidelines this upcoming fundraising season.
Make it Easy for Them to Keep it All Together
With students who are active members of track and field teams, you don’t always have time to engage in extensive fundraising efforts after school. If they don’t have a weekend meet, they’re practicing hard. These are kids who juggle practices, meets, and schoolwork, often in addition to home responsibilities or even part-time jobs. If you want your fundraiser to be successful, you need to make things as easy as possible for you and your students.
- Invest in presentation folders that keep all of their fundraising materials in one place.
- Order forms and envelopes should be as simple as possible to fill out, kept in one place, and brought back to you at the end of the fundraiser.
- Set deadlines for receiving orders or collecting money for a day in the middle of the week, preferably Wednesday or Thursday so that you can remind them on Monday and Tuesday, and accept that even with your best efforts, some of those orders aren’t going to come in until Thursday or Friday.
- Make sure that any brochures you send out contain all the information that potential supporters and your athletes will need to successfully complete their order.
- Don’t let your fundraiser campaign go on for too long. The longer it runs, the better the chances that your students could misplace their fundraising packets. Regular reminders help, but keeping the students on a tight deadline will also push them to greater levels of success. The exception to this? Fundraisers like discount cards, merchant tickets, candy bars and lollipops which your students can carry around with them throughout the school day. Having the product on hand makes it easier to remember to keep raising money.
- Collect money regularly during ongoing fundraisers. You don’t want your students to misplace their hard-earned funds.
Keep Everyone Involved; Don’t Overdo it
When the basketball team or the football team has a fundraiser, everyone knows about it. For track-and-field teams, however, it’s often necessary to get word about your fundraiser out yourself. Make sure your advertising is big enough to get attention! If it’s an in-school fundraiser, use feather flags around the door to your classroom to attract attention. Or set up banners in the hallways and common areas to get the word out about the fundraising event. If you have a table or a booth set up, make sure it isn’t tucked in an out-of-the-way corner: visibility is key.
At the same time, you don’t want to overdo your fundraising efforts. A funny addition to the morning announcements will get some attention and add a few sales over the first few days, but after that, everyone knows. Drop your reminders down to every other day and rely on your other advertising to let the students know what you’re doing. When you set up a table for sales, you can put it in the middle of the action without being in the way. Cloth table covers and runners can be custom designed to promote any fundraising event.
Advertising products that are sold outside of school needs a different strategy. In this case, brochures and pamphlets will help your kids spread the word about your products. Offer table talkers to help advertise and will help parents sell product who want to take your fundraising products to work. If you’re selling a product that people in the community who might not necessarily have easy access to students will want—like merchant tickets—make sure that you put banners and yard signs outside the school building to let everyone know what you’re offering.
Don’t be Afraid of the Tried and True
The football team sells discount cards as soon as the school year begins. The basketball team uses spirit gear as their primary fundraiser from January on, while the cheerleading squad has bake sales and car washes every time they need to raise extra money.
There are dozens of teams, clubs, and organizations at your school, all vying for the attention of the student body. Avoid that whole problem altogether by scheduling your fundraiser at a time when it won’t conflict with other fundraisers.
If the football team sells their discount cards in August or September, plan to sell yours in December or January. Hold a bake sale on a weekend when the cheerleading squad doesn’t have other plans. Sell merchant ticket playbooks at a time of year when no one else is marketing them. The tried and true fundraisers might not have much of a creative element, but they’ve been successful all these years for a reason—and your track and field team deserves a cut of that success.
When you carefully plan and set up a fundraiser for your track-and-field team, you want it to be a great success. By staying organized, advertising smartly, and choosing your products with care, you’ll be able to take your fundraising efforts to the next level and finance your team’s activities for the rest of the year. Fundraising shouldn’t be a burden for you or your students; it should be a fun and memorable time that will benefit the team the rest of the season.