Coming up with unique and effective fundraisers can be a challenge. However, sometimes it’s even more challenging to motivate the students whom you’re raising the money for. Between baseball practice, homework, and other after-school activities, athletes are stretched pretty thin, and so are their parents. And unfortunately, even the best fundraisers will fall flat if the students aren’t motivated.

Student participation in the team’s fundraiser yields benefits far beyond the monetary ones. They learn valuable lessons in teamwork, cooperation, and accountability—all valuable assets to the success of the team in general. How can you motivate high-school students to get involved in their baseball team’s fundraiser?

The Five Conditions Of Motivation

In general, motivation is an issue for high-school students, with parents and teachers struggling to keep their students engaged. It is no surprise, then, that motivation is a challenge for fundraising—an activity that’s not technically required!

Unlike young children who are motivated by small prizes, high-school students are often too busy or too cool to get involved and excited. And yet, high school is the time when teams need funding the most. How do you motivate your high-school students to get involved? According to research reported in Forbes, students are motivated when the following five conditions are met:

  • Students must feel competent enough to complete the task at hand.
  • They need to see a direct link between their actions and an outcome.
  • They want control over how to undertake the task.
  • The task must be of interest and of value to them.
  • They want to experience social rewards, such as a sense of belonging or approval, when the task is complete.

Applying The Conditions To Your Fundraiser

How do you apply the five conditions of motivation to your fundraiser? Try these six strategies:

Play on their competitive spirit

Athletes love to win. Take advantage of their competitive nature with a friendly contest. For example, pit infielders against outfielders. Take the competition up a notch by involving other sports teams in the school. Place the baseball team against the football team. Play varsity versus junior varsity or let grade levels compete against each other.

Rethink your timing

Many fundraisers have traditionally been in the fall because people often sell items for Christmas gifts or they hope to raise funds for that year’s trips. However, if you are trying to motivate your participants, fall can be a very busy time of year. Many are traveling and are strapped for time and money due to the holiday season. Try moving your fundraisers to late winter or early spring. Since spring is traditionally baseball season, late winter might be the best bet since your players will have more time before the season is in full swing. Or consider fundraising after the season ends for the following year.

Recruit ambassadors

Peer pressure can be a good thing. High-school students are motivated by their peers, who easily influences the way they dress, the music they listen to, and even the way they talk. Use that to your advantage by picking a few motivated kids to help stir up excitement in the school. Divide students into teams, with your ambassadors as team leaders. Leadership roles are effective in motivating high-school students, especially since they can include those positions on college applications. Explain how their hard work in this will bring benefits to them as they transition to adulthood and college life.

Be transparent

High-school students want to be behind an important cause. Be specific about where the funds are going and why it’s important to raise the money to get them motivated to participate. Go beyond a simple, “We’re raising funds for our baseball team” approach. Get specific. Say things like, “We’re raising funds for new uniforms.” Let them know how much the uniforms cost, so each player understands how much money needs to be made. Keep the team updated as the fundraiser progresses instead of just giving the total funds raised when it’s all over. Letting them know how they are progressing will motivate them to work harder.

Be sure the incentives and items you are selling are age appropriate

High-school students are young adults. Incentives that work with elementary or middle-school students will not be effective on them. Use your ambassadors to brainstorm incentive prizes that will appeal to your players. Have them survey the team and find out what will motivate them. Have them sell items they are passionate about. For example, if you are selling merchant tickets, target local businesses your students frequent. They will be more excited to sell coupons to businesses and restaurants they love.

Let them take ownership

The best way to engage high-school students is to let them take ownership of the project. Let them work out the details of the fundraiser. Brainstorming with their peer group is a great exercise in teamwork, but also gives them a stake in the fundraiser. They will get behind something that is their idea and that they feel accountable for. Of course, they will need supervision and some guidance, but let them lead as much as possible.

High-school students have a tremendous amount of creativity, competitiveness and energy. All are valuable assets to your fundraiser. Increase sales by motivating your high-school students. You’ll raise more money for your team, but you’ll also end up with a group of motivated young adults with a boost of self-esteem and a great lesson in teamwork.