Fundraisers are critical to the success of your school’s lacrosse team. Providing sticks, helmets, shoulder pads, shoes, and gloves can easily cost hundreds of dollars per player. Add to that the cost of travel, tournament fees, field rental, and general program operation, and the costs are more than the average family can afford. Without fundraising, many players may simply not be able to join the team.
You know that fundraising is important, but it’s also challenging. Communities are already supporting numerous charities, organizations, schools, and other sports teams. How can you compete with the other fundraisers in your community and increase the success of fundraising for your lacrosse team? Integrate an offline and online marketing strategy that will keep your fundraiser on the minds of families and community members. Here’s how:
Listen To The Professionals
While most fundraising volunteers are not marketing professionals, there are some lessons we can learn from the online marketing arena. For example, according to the CMO Council:
- Ninety-five percent of brands tweet, and 82 percent of those brands tweet one to six times per day.
- Every 60 seconds, 510 comments are posted on Facebook, 293,000 statuses are updated, and 136,000 photos are uploaded.
Not surprisingly, 71 percent of Internet users are more likely to purchase from a brand they are following on a social networking site. Here’s how the professionals do it:
- Use video to motivate both volunteers and donors. There’s a reason 69 percent of marketers use video in their marketing plans. Put together a video clip of last year’s greatest moments. Interview players, having them tell you the importance of fundraising and how much they appreciate the support of their family and the community. Use the video to kick off the fundraiser. Include it in email appeals and put it on the team’s social media account. Have players and parents “like’ it and forward it through their social media feeds.
- Incorporate social media. In addition to promoting your video through social media, use this medium to reach thousands of potential donors. Report on the fundraiser’s progress, recognize top volunteers and players, and don’t forget to post a lot of motivational photos that are not related to the fundraiser. Donors will be motivated to support the team if they feel emotionally invested. Create that loyalty and investment through regular postings and imagery.
- Send emails. Even though it’s been around a lot longer than social media, email is still the most effective online marketing tool. There are some tips to follow, though. First, be clear about what you want. Don’t use a deceptive subject line like, “guess who?” Make the fundraiser the main message of the email. Have a direct call to action and a link so the reader can immediately get involved. Second, make sure the recipient recognizes the sender. You may want to create an email account like “ABC Lacrosse Team” instead of having it come from a volunteer whose name may not be well known. Lastly, build a quality list of email addresses and harvest some from past fundraisers. Include a spot for email on meeting sign-up sheets. Solicit email addresses through your team’s newsletter, its social media account, or its website.
Integrate Online And Offline Efforts
While online fundraising is every effective, face-to-face sales are still a huge part of motivating donors. They key is to sell items that people actually want. Merchant tickets—sometimes called playbooks—are a popular choice for lacrosse teams to raise money.
Here’s how it works: local merchants offer discounts to people who purchase the merchant tickets, and players sell the tickets to family members, friends, and other community members. While both of these choices are sold offline, your fundraiser will be much more effective if you integrate your merchant ticket sales with an online strategy. Here are a few ways to do that.
- Add value for businesses. Use online marketing to add value to your business sponsors. While they want to support the team, promotion for their business is one of the main reasons they will want to participate. Let them know they’ll receive additional visibility through your team’s social media account, reaching hundreds of potential customers. Think about interviewing the business owners in your video. Include a profile of business success stories on the team’s blog. Link to those profiles via social media. Businesses like for customers to know that they are involved in the community. They are likely to promote your blog on their website, spreading the word about your fundraiser even further.
- Motivate players. Tweet or post regular fundraiser updates about who has raised the most funds, signed up the most businesses, or sold the most cards.
- Reach more buyers. Don’t just sell a card or ticket and forget about the buyer. Distribute a satisfaction survey via email. Talk to buyers who saved the most by using their merchant tickets. Feature them in your blog and link to the article via social media. You’ll build loyalty with that buyer and motivate others to buy discount cards. Be sure to make it easy for buyers to purchase the cards online. Provide a link to your team’s website that allows them to purchase the merchant ticket books. Then, make sure delivery is quick whether it is by mail or in-person by a player.
Harness The Power Of Your Team
According to Time, young people now spend the equivalent of a full day online every week. Take advantage of that by motivating your young players to promote the fundraiser online. Have them tweet about plastic discount cards that the team is offering, “like” the team’s social media posts, and forward email promotions to their contacts.
Get them excited through video and photos, because the players are more likely to get behind something they feel a part of. While they are promoting a video that includes images of themselves, they will also be acting as ambassadors for your fundraiser.
These ideas, when used together with a motivated team, can increase the fundraising campaign by a sizeable amount. Test and try new and old mediums together to find the best recipe for a successful fundraiser.