Industry Insights

4 Things Your Youth Sports Organization Needs for Successful Fundraising

By Melissa Wickes
February 2, 2022
4 min

Successful fundraising can help you continue operating your leagues and clubs, especially in the off-season when you’re not bringing in as much revenue. Both youth sports and technology are changing everyday—which ultimately changes the way you want to fundraise—especially in the wake of the pandemic. Here are some 2022 fundraising tips, ideas, and strategies you can use to raise more money for your organization in the off-season so you can prepare for your season and continue to offer amazing sports experiences to your customers.  

If you’ve depended on galas and in-person fundraising efforts in the past, now is the time to get creative and figure out how to bring your fundraising efforts online. At LeagueApps, we’ve made it easy to launch and manage donation pages using our eCommerce platform.

Here’s what you need to know. 

First, the good news about fundraising.

Americans like to donate to the causes that are important to them. In 2021, 56% of Americans donated at an average of $574.

So, what does it take? 

While having a compelling donation page is an important part of launching a great online fundraiser, it’s just the start. What really makes it work is being diligent, data-driven, and determined to execute from start to finish. This requires:

  1. Best-in-class technology
  2. Inspiring leadership
  3. Compelling storytelling
  4. Active community engagement

Best-in-Class Technology

The key to garnering donations is making it as easy as possible for people to make them. Building and launching a donation page using the LeagueApps Ecommerce feature is simple, and it allows your customers to make donations—or even purchase a VIP package for a fundraising event—right from your registration flow. Here’s an example setup of a donation page. 

Learn more about incorporating seamless eCommerce in your registration flow here.

Inspiring Leadership

Identify your quarterback and make sure that they’re well-positioned to engage your board and community, and to tell your story. 

  1. Choose your campaign leader. One person needs to be the central point of contact for the campaign. This is either a leader in your organization, a very strong parent or community member, or a trusted partner who can run the campaign on your behalf.
  2. Reach out to your board and most loyal customers to be early donors and lead the way. If you have time, soliciting your board members and key stakeholders early on in defining the campaign goals, strategy and story can be very helpful. For starters, they are probably in tune with your organization’s needs. Additionally, they are likely good strategists and communicators, and can help you develop a powerful campaign. Finally, if they are part of developing the campaign, it’s more likely that they’ll be invested in seeing it through to success—and will hopefully be your early, large, and late donors. 
  3. Don’t forget to clearly communicate who you are, what your organization does, and why they can trust you with their donation. Start by talking about your brand. What is your promise to the community? What does it mean to be part of your organization? What are your organization’s values? 

Be bold and talk about your success. We are a data-driven society! Talk about the number of children who have gone through your program, what they have accomplished, and how you have helped develop great athletes and great people.

Compelling Storytelling

Develop your story and tell it over and over again. Repetition is incredibly important (and effective).

  1. Fundraisers are about tapping into people’s emotions. The more you can do to clearly state your need and the impact of the fundraiser (be specific!), the more likely people will be to emotionally connect with the benefits.

Tell your story and talk about the people you’re trying to support. Are you trying to keep your coaches employed? Are you trying to continue supporting athletes getting financial aid? Do you need funds for video conferencing technology that allows coaches to work 1:1 with your kids? Be authentic—talk about how you’re trying to keep the community intact and keep your lights on in this time of uncertainty. Being really specific, and describing how every X thousand dollars covers a coaches’ expected compensation for a certain time period, may be the right message for some. 

  1. Use high-quality photos and videos to tell your story. A picture is worth a thousand words. Your iPhone can capture promise, hope, and optimism better than any written copy. Capture your kids, your staff, and your coaches telling their stories—this makes your fundraiser more likely to be shared on social media and other channels.

Engaging Your Community

If you’re the quarterback, these people are your teammates. Be thoughtful about who you engage, and give them the tools they need to succeed. At LeagueApps, our recent most successful fundraising campaign has been to raise $100,000 for sports-based youth development organizations through our FundPlay Drive. We were able to raise money for this campaign by utilizing our network through consistent email outreach, social media, and storytelling.

  1. Utilize your email list, and be prepared to ask everyone for their help at least five times. That’s the magic number! You can use the LeagueApps messaging tool to tell your story over a period of time. We’ve developed a series of email templates that will help you prepare for your launch, launch the campaign, and create a countdown as the campaign comes to its close.
  2. Empower your people. Turn the recipients of your fundraising dollars into the fundraisers themselves. Staff, coaches, vendors, parents, and kids can all create their own fundraising pages, customize them with their own images and stories, and tap into their networks.
  3. Keep the dialogue going; make your donors and fundraisers part of your community. Deploy ‘surprises’ such as ‘matching donations’ where corporate sponsors or high-net-worth donors will pledge to match up to a certain amount within a specific time frame. 

When you receive a donation from someone new, look at it as an opportunity to develop a relationship with them. Invite them to fundraise, invite them to become part of your community, and continue to keep them updated. 

For more fundraising tips for youth sports organizers, click here.