High-school fundraising, especially for soccer teams, is a time-honored tradition. Parents of today’s high-school soccer stars likely remember setting up bake sales and car washes to fund their teams during their high-school careers. But as it often happens, old ideas get stale. Fundraising is a different animal today than it was 20 or even 10 years ago. As equipment, travel and the insurance costs associated with running a soccer team increases, the fundraising numbers also increase. To meet your goals this season, you’ll likely need to look past the bake sale to find more effective and modern ways to raise funds for your team.
Thinking About It Like A Business
At its core, fundraising is a business effort. Many schools fail to meet their fundraising goals simply because they don’t think of their efforts like a business would. But the same principles that a business must follow for success are also the same principles that every fundraiser must include in its game plan, including:
- Building brand loyalty.
- Working for return customers. One-time customers are good, but return customers are the foundation of any business.
In order for continued fundraising success, you’ll need to build a solid customer base. The best way to do this is to keep the school and its soccer team fresh in the minds of donors throughout the entire year—not just during fundraising time.
The best way to do this is by offering an item that has real value. Merchant coupon books, for example, are effective fundraising items. With merchant ticket books, not only are you offering your donor base something that they will benefit from, you are also keeping the team fresh in the donors’ minds each time they use a coupon.
The value associated with the play books leaves many donors waiting for the next year’s offerings. Change up merchant books each year with fresh and new deals, for the added bonus of anticipation. We create merchant books in the form of actual accordion-folded books or sheets with perforated tickets. These can be printed with a variety of different business offerings, and branding choices. Some teams choose to complement their merchant books with branded magnetic calendars and magnets.
The Gift Of Accomplishment
People like to feel useful. It’s why giving to charities or fundraisers makes us feel so good. When people support a positive initiative like youth soccer, they feel accomplished because they’re helping a great cause, and they feel good about themselves for contributing positively to their community. It’s why fundraisers that give donors a tangible reminder of their support are often the most effective. Key tags, loyalty cards, and booster cards are just a few items that can be customized to include a school logo or other design.
Key tags in particular have soared in popularity in recent years. Each time a supporter uses his keys, he is reminded of his contribution to the fundraiser. Not only this, but branded key tags can also be utilized as a marketing opportunity when others see the key tags and look into the brand themselves.
Mix It Up
In today’s multimedia advertising landscape, the question about whether print or digital advertising is more effective is no longer relevant. The answer is that both are effective in their own rights. The secret to any marketing endeavor’s success—including a youth-soccer fundraiser’s success—is utilizing both print and digital advertising.
Say, for example, that you plan on selling wrapping paper or gourmet popcorn to the masses to raise funds for the soccer team. That generally goes over big, but the campaign stops once the order sheet is filled out, leaving schools floundering to fill the rest of their fundraising efforts.
Order forms and envelopes can be easily affixed with QR codes, Twitter handles or hash tags, and Facebook information. This can help you engage your audience, keep the soccer team and the products they are selling current, and enables you to reach out to the more technologically inclined sponsors. At its core, the addition of links and QR codes can be added to any item. Soccer banners, ordering forms and envelopes, or even soccer jerseys can easily be printed with QR codes or links to webpages.
Fundraising for soccer, or really any high-school activity, is one of the campaigns that truly rely on a mix of both print and online strategies.
Track Your Efforts
Going back to the idea of thinking of fundraising as a business endeavor, you’ll want to track just how successful your efforts were. Every business does market research, and much of that research includes evaluating campaigns after they’ve completed. Take a look at your yearly efforts, and see what has been a big hit, and what has been a big flop. You might be surprised to find that your wrapping paper sale didn’t exactly fly off the shelves, but selling cookie dough had the masses running for the donation table. Figuring out what works and what don’t is half the battle. Using whatever metrics you choose to track the success of the fundraiser will help refine and build a better fundraiser, year over year.