By Alex Perdikis
Schools and sports teams have a long-standing tradition in America. True stories of small-town teams taking on high-powered athletes from the big city and winning against all odds is the stuff of feel-good films like “Hoosiers.” Because of budget cuts, school sports departments have suffered significantly. Funds to train, pay for equipment and travel expenses are extremely limited and gone completely in some locations. More and more, middle and high school sports teams are turning away from the traditional forms of fundraising and moving to crowdfunding for money. If your youth sports team is dealing with a lack of money for essentials, you may be asking if crowdfunding is the answer. Here’s the scoop.
What is It?
Crowdfunding in some form has been around for some time. Selling raffle tickets for a cause is one example of crowdfunding. In its simplest form, crowdfunding is when members of the general public donate a little money that adds up to a substantial amount when enough people contribute. Crowdfunding now is facilitated through the Internet, where people can use different sites for a wide variety of causes, including everything from business startups to helping cancer victims pay for their treatments.
Sports these days can be expensive. Travel alone costs thousands of dollars. Most sports teams still fundraise through traditional methods. But bake sales, raffles, car washes and selling candy bars only go so far in this time of rising costs. Crowdfunding is a means of raising more money faster. Crowdfunding also gives fundraising events a worldwide reach with a much larger group of potential donors.
For example, Cher Fuller, Oregon Dream Teams head coach in Beaverton, used GoFundMe to raise enough for her elite coed cheerleading squad to pay for travel to the World Championships in Florida. The cost of the trip was $1,200 per athlete and an additional $4,000 for practices and competition events. Her campaign raised enough to pay for the entry fees and the rest was split among team members. Done right, crowdfunding can help take the bite out of the budget cuts most school sports teams now face.
Tips for Crowdfunding Success
The trick to raising funds through crowdfunding is to have a specific goal in mind. Successful crowdfunding campaigns cover a certain time period with a specific monetary goal. A goal of “helping the Buffaloes” won’t interest most people, but a goal of “Help the Buffaloes pay for their championship trip” will.
Social media is prime territory to advertise your fundraising event. Friends, relatives and acquaintances from around the world can easily donate to your cause.
It’s not just sports teams that are turning to crowdfunding. Fees and expenses for sports team members have skyrocketed and many families turn to crowdfunding to offset the individual costs as well.