The skating season is underway and therefore many youth sports team organizers have their minds on hockey fundraising. As well, most of the plans for the year’s hockey tournaments and figure skating competitions are in place. And, love it or hate it, there is a very good chance that your team or organization has starting talking about, or is in the process of fundraising for the skating season.
After 20+ years of supporting the skating community I thought that a business perspective and perhaps a couple of fresh ideas could help to increase your fundraising results. As a business, in the business of skating, we understand the importance and need for fundraising.
I took the time to speak with our extensive network of other business owners and managers that are, like us, being approached with the many fundraising requests. I’m confident that by following these tips you will have far greater success when it comes to (the dreaded?) fundraising requirements.
Here is a summary of the most common comments that were made. ‘Take the time it takes, so it takes less time’ (someone wise)
1. Get your fundraising committee organized! 5 parents, from the same team, approaching the same business, on 5 separate occasions, will not encourage support. Appreciate that the people you may be interrupting have a job to do beyond looking at your teams fundraising requirements.
2. Plan ahead, plan ahead, plan ahead. Approach a potential sponsor (business) as much as a year in advance and ask if they would work your fundraising event in as part of their next years budget. Businesses will generally have specific events in their budget that they will always sponsor, however the balance of the budget is often first come first serve, get in line early!
3. Phone ahead and make an appointment to speak with the person in charge of making donations. Ask for 5 minutes, and take only 5 minutes.
4. Approach the businesses well in advance of the event with a well written letter on team letterhead, with a contact phone number that can be used to clarify, or verify the request. Walking in the door 2 (or even less) days before the event is being disrespectful of the business. Most businesses have a system and a process in place for prize or cash distribution that will take time.
5. Before sending the teams out on the street, make certain that everyone is clear on what the requirements are. Are they looking for fundraising auction items, or are you looking for money. Are you prepared to take ‘in-kind’ items. Especially if you are asking for money, (even if your not) be prepared to provide a benefit of significant value to the business for writing a check or providing an auction item.
6. Deliver on what you promise. If you say that the business or individual will receive significant name recognition for their donation, than be certain to deliver on the promise. Remember, “Under promise, over deliver”!
7. If no one on the team has any experience organizing a fundraising event, don’t start until you can get help from someone who has. Nothing will turn off a possible donation from business faster than dealing with someone who does not know what they are doing.
All of the business owners I spoke with understand fundraising, and the need to support the community, however let’s be realistic. Although sending your hockey team to to play in a tournament in another country, or putting on a great figure skating competition, is a wonderful experience for the personal development of your children, the truth is, your children are not a charity.
Remember that what you are really asking, is that businesses or individuals support your children’s recreation! With this in mind, here is an absolutely outstanding idea for fundraising that really works!
1.Partner with a real charity. Consider the Heart fund, Children’s Hospital, Diabetes Association, what ever. There are so many worthy causes.
Donate a minimum of 10% of all funds raised to the charity that the team or organizations chooses. It helps to teach the kids how to contribute to a bigger cause and, you will raise more money. It is much easier to solicit funds from businesses or individuals when you can brag that portions of all of the proceeds are going to support a charitable organization.
Also, because you are raising funds for a charity, people who you approach that support that particular charity are more likely to donate to your fundraiser even if they don’t skate or have a skater in the family.
About the Author
Patrick Francey is recognized internationally as a’ skate fit and performance’ expert. He has worked with hockey players and figure skaters, including NHL and world class figure skaters.