Fundraising campaigns for school programs can be a positive experience for those involved, but it can also be challenging. Year after year, you are faced with more competition for people’s time and dollars.

When you and your fellow fundraising team members are talking to potential donors, it’s ideal to have a succinct list of reasons for why you need their support. Here are seven points to consider when holding your next fundraiser.

Less State Funding for Activities Outside of the Classroom

A slow economy and tighter budgets at both the state and federal levels mean less funding for schools overall. Remind parents and the community that many after-school programs require additional, and ongoing funds to survive. While there are some sports that are far and away more popular than others, it doesn’t mean the less common ones don’t deserve funds. Numbers are powerful. Share facts, figures, and statistics on your athletic team’s actual needs.

Athletic Teams Can Partner With Other Groups

Another great way for athletics to widen their fundraising audience is to partner with other groups at school that don’t necessarily have anything to do with sports. Join efforts with the school band or color guard. This will give them both more exposure to families, students, and other interest groups that they would not have otherwise had.

Typically, football and basketball are the big sports at most schools. Consider combining efforts with other athletics such volleyball, soccer, or swimming as well. We’re not asking for your football players to wear volleyball uniforms and visa versa, but that would make for an entertaining fundraiser.

Not all Athletes can Pay for Trips, Gear, and Other Needs

Remind your potential donors that they are ultimately contributing to the development of students. Even if members in the community weren’t big on athletics in their high school days, they might remember working hard for a goal or common interest. Point out how many students were able to participate, who might have otherwise dropped out of athletics, last year. Add a personal story, but using a student’s story.

Athletics are a Huge Part of School Identity and Spirit

While there might be parents or community members without kids participating in sports, this doesn’t mean that athletics aren’t important for the overall spirit and morale of a school. Remind people that high school football games, cheer, and dance aren’t just sports. These are activities that have defined your school through the years. If you can, talk about the school’s past victories. People love stories and if some of these former high school athletes are still around, try to involve them. If community members and parents can get behind groups that benefit both the school and community, athletic teams can continue to serve both their competitive roles and support their school.

Athletics can Lead to Opportunities for Students

Athletics can fuel sports-based aspirations, improve team-building skills, and provide scholarships for higher education. Sports can be a healthy way for some to stay focused on school work, by providing an activity that complements academic activities that tend to involve more sitting. The great part about high school-based fundraising activities is the kids involved are of age to articulate their needs and passions to family and community members. Let them do the talking at your fundraising events. Be sure to offer them proper training and etiquette to ensure they are both enthusiastic and professional when talking to the community. You want your students to leave a good impression on donors.

Communities Should be Involved in with Their Schools

Providing ongoing athletic opportunities to students is a great way to keep them engaged in positive activities. It’s better for a community as a whole to have more students involved in school activities, sports or otherwise, than roaming around bored after school.

Keep other community members in mind when you launch your fundraisers. Try to coordinate your drives so they don’t directly compete with other groups – products, services, or timing. If you are running up against the same schedule, find out what activities they are doing and do something different. Work together. Maybe the a local charity is holding a car wash. Have your group opt for something that won’t compete, such as discount cards.

Communities are at their best when they work together to help their members out. Even if we aren’t a fan of football or dance, supporting those who are involved is a solid way to keep your community healthy and vibrant.

Competing Against Schools with More Funding

Not all schools are equal. Some have larger athletics departments with more people participating in their programs as a whole. Larger institutions may not need as much outside funding because their budgets are larger. The same applies to some private schools. No matter the size or the type of school, there is one common theme – athletics add value to the kids, the parents, and the community. With the opportunities that can come along with a strong athletic program for students, doing well in competition is key.

If you can convey to your student body and community why your fundraising efforts are important, your goals will be easier to reach. You don’t have to use all seven points above, but knowing a few off the top of your head that apply to your situation could serve you well.

If you believe in your cause, this is half the battle won already. You need to be able to convey this to others around you, but be ready for the sales soon thereafter. Sharing compelling information and providing great products is a formula for fundraising success.