Youth basketball fundraising isn’t easy. It’s freakin’ hard.
This is why most team managers struggle to raise money, regardless of their tactic.
Sound like you? You’re in the right place.
This article doesn’t list out a million fundraising strategies. Just a handful of tactics that actually work. Fundraising ideas that supporters love and open their wallets for, which, in turn, keeps your teams up and running.
1. Get donations on your website
Online fundraising used to revolve around crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter or GoFundMe.
Today, you can set up a donation page on your basketball team’s website and collect donations on your own.
💡 PRO TIP: Explain why people should donate and give them the incentive to do so. Embrace social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram to promote the online donation page.
2. Host a three point competition
A three-point competition is a low-cost fundraising event where players compete to make the most three-point shots within a certain time frame. You can raise money through entry fees or asking for donations for your team.
Earn extra money by selling concessions, like hot dogs, chips, and drinks. Plan additional activities for attendees throughout the event, like a dunk tank or a scavenger hunt.
Have a prize ready for the winner. You can offer a big trophy, a gift card to a local restaurant, or tickets to a local college game.
3. Hold a 3-on-3 basketball tournament
Organize a friendly competition amongst community members with a 3-on-3 basketball tournament fundraiser.
There are many ways to make money off a tournament. You can:
- Charge teams an entry fee.
- Get sponsorships and donations from local businesses.
- Sell merchandise and refreshments.
- Offer raffles or auctions.
Have community members form teams, choose names, and get matching jerseys. From your end, you’ll need to:
- Get a venue to host the event, like your facility or the local park.
- Have enough concessions for the crowd.
- Spread the word through social media and email.
- Get prizes for the winner.
If your tournament is a success, you can make it a regular event that continuously brings in money for your team.
4. Collect donations during registration
A unique way to raise money is by asking for donations during registration. When someone signs up for a season or event, they can make an online donation to your team.
It’s easy to run this type of fundraiser with sports registration software. See how it works in the example below.
5. Organize a walk-a-thon
A walk-a-thon is an easy fundraising idea for any sports team. It’s a fun way to engage the community and is easy to set up:
- Choose a fundraising software like 99Pledges, which lets participants create their own fundraising pages.
- Decide on the date, time, and location of the fundraising event.
- Encourage participants to share their fundraising page with their family and friends.
- Have supporters pledge a fixed amount for every lap or mile the participant runs.
- Collect donations from supporters after participants finish the walk-a-thon.
Keep the event alive with music and fun activities for families. Offer a participation prize for everyone and concessions. For example, if your run is in the morning, you can offer bagels, fruit, coffee, and juice for everyone joining the walk-a-thon.
6. Take advantage of local business sponsorships
Make youth sports sponsorship packages available to local businesses. Show them how sponsoring the baseball team can help their business, such as more exposure to local customers.
Some sponsorship opportunities you can offer include:
- Sponsor logos with a coupon in emails.
- Banners at the games.
- Ads in a program or handbook.
- Promotions on social media.
- Jersey patches.
To really “wow” sponsors, create a dedicated sponsor page on your team’s website. This gives sponsors exposure to website visitors alongside any in-person events.
💡PRO TIP: Make it easy for local businesses to sponsor you by putting a sponsorship form on your website. Create this page in minutes with a free Jersey Watch account.
7. Have a car wash
Bring the basketball team together for a car wash fundraiser. Hang flyers around town to spread the word. Pick up soap, buckets, and sponges. You’ll also need access to plenty of water.
With a car wash, one afternoon can make a lot of money for your team. You can sell a basic wash for $20.
Set up at a busy location, like next to a weekend farmer’s market or the soccer fields on Saturday game day.
💡PRO TIP: Sell drinks and snacks to customers while they wait to earn more cash. You can also offer upgraded services, like vacuuming out the car or shining the rims.
8. Sell merchandise online
Selling team merchandise online is a hassle-free way to raise money. Family members and supporters need to get match-ready too!
Help people showcase their pride with logoed:
You can create a Shopify store fast and connect it with a dropshipping company like Printful. With Printful, you customize blank products with your designs. Then the company will ship products to your customers as orders come in.
💡PRO TIP: During registration, offer parents the option to buy player apparel or spirit wear for the family.
9. Sell VIP cushion seats
Sitting on bleachers for a few hours can be uncomfortable. A cool sports fundraiser idea to combat this is selling VIP cushion seats.
Get your biggest fans front-row, cushioned seats (and some team swag!) at home games if they donate at a certain level. Use this as a perk on your donation page, or make it a special ticket.
10. Offer valet parking at your biggest events
Want to continue giving fans the VIP experience? Offer valet parking as a premium service.
Imagine being dropped off right at the entrance to the game, without worrying about finding a parking spot or walking a long distance. It’s a convenience many fans will pay for, and you can use it to raise money for your team.
Make sure your volunteer valets are licensed drivers who can handle vehicles properly. You can run a background check to guarantee they have a clean driving record.
11. Create a handyperson service
Another creative fundraising campaign is to have donors “purchase” the assistance of athletes for household chores and yard work.
Set up an event where donors can buy a few hours of extra help from team members, such as:
- Raking leaves
- Repainting a garage
- Mowing lawns
- Shoveling snow
- Cleaning rain gutters
- Lessons for younger athletes
Offering a handyperson provides a valuable service for supporters. It also allows athletes to give back to the community while raising money for the team.
12. Start a raffle
Adding a raffle to your basketball team's fundraising efforts can increase donations and engage supporters.
Choose prizes such as:
- Basketball gear
- Game tickets
- Restaurant vouchers
- Fitness coaching sessions
Encourage team members to seek sponsor donations to increase revenue and prize value. Sell raffle tickets at events or online, and announce a winner at the end of each basketball game.
13. Set up a concession stand
One of the best basketball fundraising ideas is selling snacks and drinks at games. Many fans appreciate the convenience of grabbing a quick bite or drink without leaving the venue.
The process is simple:
- Set up a booth or stand at your home games.
- Stock it with snacks, drinks, and other items.
- Sell them to fans, players, and visitors.
The profit you make from selling these items goes directly back to your team.
14. Sell scratch cards
A scratch card is a fundraising product with a scratch-off area that reveals a hidden donation amount. They are a great way to raise money because they are easy to sell.
Here’s how it works:
- You order scratch cards from a provider.
- Athletes present the scratch cards to potential supporters.
- The supporters scratch a circle and reveal the donation amount. They then give that amount to your team.
But what’s in it for supporters? After a supporter donates, you can give a discount card/coupon book to local businesses in return. It's a win-win for your team and community members.
15. Host a silent auction
Silent auctions are popular for nonprofit organizations because they are easy to manage. In silent auctions, you display items for attendees to check out, and then they bid silently on a sheet.
Here’s how it works:
- Reach out to sponsors and local businesses to gather donations of goods, services, and experiences.
- Once you have the items, you assign a value to them.
- Then, you arrange tables to display items and take bids from attendees.
You can make a silent auction as its own event for adults. Set up an evening with dinner and beverages while people bid on your items. You can also open up bidding to supporters online using a tool like OneCause.
16. Apply for a youth sports grant
Sports grants help youth organizations cover sports-related expenses by giving them monetary awards. Grants can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands, often offered by corporations, private foundations, and government agencies.
Unlike loans, grants are free money. They don't accrue interest or require repayment. You only need to apply for specific grants and show how you’ll use the funds.
17. Have a shoe drive
Kids and teens are always growing, whether they play basketball, hockey, or soccer. When they outgrow their shoes, what happens next?
With a shoe drive fundraiser, you can pass down those shoes while raising money for your team.
It goes like this:
- You partner with a fundraising company like Funds2Orgs.
- You hold a shoe drive where people bring gently used or new shoes.
- The fundraising partner picks up the shoes and pays you.
Shoe drives don't have to be one-time events. Keep a shoe box at home games and tournaments. Remind parents and supporters to drop off the shoes they don't need.
18. Organize a restaurant night
Local restaurant owners love to support hometown teams, especially if it helps keep them up and running. Ask a local restaurant to host a percentage night on behalf of your team. This means the restaurant will give you a percentage of its sales.
To make restaurant night a success, get the word out about the evening. Tell your team and supporters to go to the restaurant on the night of your fundraiser. See if you can host a fun event or live entertainment during restaurant night to attract more visitors.
Fundraising tips for your youth basketball team
Whether it’s your first or fifth basketball fundraising campaign, here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Use social media to promote your fundraising efforts. Create a strong social media presence on Facebook and Instagram at minimum. Share updates about your fundraisers, post photos and videos of your team in action, and highlight the impact that donations have had on your team and the community.
- Involve coaches and other stakeholders in your activities. Ask coaches for their help in planning and executing fundraising events. Provide incentives for top fundraisers, such as special awards. Get everyone in your league involved to create a sense of community and shared purpose.
- Keep legal and ethical considerations in mind. Ensure you comply with local laws and regulations related to fundraising and charitable giving, such as disclosure obligations and tax implications.
- Measure the success of your campaigns. Develop clear and specific fundraising goals and track your progress over time. Track statistics like total donations received, number of supports, or average donation size. Metrics can tell you what campaigns need improvement, or if you need to try a new youth sports fundraising idea entirely.
- Build relationships with supporters. People donate because they believe in your vision. Provide regular updates and impact reports to show the success of your league. Recognize and appreciate donors at all levels, and offer them personalized opportunities for engagement.
It doesn’t matter if you’re raising money for a high school or travel basketball team. The ideas above will help you meet your fundraising goals.
Remember, you don’t have to launch all 18 campaigns at once. Try one or two first and see how they perform. Stay open to what supporters find interesting and exciting.
By adapting your fundraising efforts, you can position your basketball team for long-term success and sustainability.