Running a youth sports league can be expensive, and raising fees isn't always a good option.
While you can always host typical fundraisers, those activities can be a lot of extra work for your youth sports volunteers. That's why many leagues turn to donations to boost income and provide more opportunities for young participants.
With all the online fundraising platforms available, you may find it hard to know which one will be the right fit for your organization. Here are the 10 best ways to increase youth sports donations.
1. Use your team website to collect donations
The most important part of increasing donations at your organizations is to make it easy.
Community members should be able to visit your website and make an online donation at any time without writing a check or contacting a board member.
Create a dedicated donation page on your website. Explain why donations are important to help support young athletes in your sports club. People love to make an impact!
People will be more likely to contribute if you give them the specific reasons that donations are needed to operate the sports program, and make it quick and easy for them to contribute at any time.
Many parents of your players will also be happy to support your sports program in any way they can - whether that's coaching, volunteering at events, or even making a donation.
2. Collect donations from your registration form
During online registration, you can add a question to your form with the option to make a donation to the organization. The question should be "low pressure" since parents will already be paying for their registration fees for the season, so make sure it's easy for parents to opt out of donating.
You can even help family members understand the impact of an additional donation. For example, you can name one of the donation options "Sponsor a Player" to help cover the costs of another player, or offer the opportunity to donate a custom amount. You will be surprised to notice how many participants are willing to make a donation from your registration form!
A simple question at the end of your registration form can be a great way to increase donations before your season.
3. Try Donorbox
With a mission of making it simple for nonprofits to raise funds, Donorbox has helped organizations in more than 30 countries raise over $700 million since its founding in 2014.
Donorbox focuses on providing intuitive, easy-to-use tools so that technology isn't a barrier to securing the financial resources you need.
Choosing Donorbox gives you access to:
- Fast checkout: Donorbox relies on popular tools like Apple Pay, Google Pay, and PayPal to streamline the donation process for your contributors. Bank transfers are also available.
- Tools to increase donations: Donorbox lets contributors set up recurring donations with one click and supports company gift matching.
- Easy marketing: You can add a Donorbox pop-up form to your website by copying and pasting code. Also, you can share your campaigns on social media to secure even more donations for youth sports.
Using Donorbox your supporters can set up recurring donations each month or each year so you don't have to worry about chasing down checks or sending follow ups to donors.
4. Use PayPal for nonprofits
As one of the largest online payment systems in the world, you can trust that PayPal is a secure and reputable solution for your youth sports fundraising.
Each year, nearly one million non-profits around the globe use PayPal for Nonprofits to raise billions of dollars, with one year topping out over $16 billion.
When you fundraise through PayPal, you gain:
- Discounted transaction rates: All non-profits receive discounted rates and never pay platform fees, so you pay only when you receive donations. You'll need to make sure to qualify as a 501c3 to get the discounted rates.
- Fraud prevention: Built-in fraud detection assures you that financial information will stay protected.
- Easy donation tracking: You get helpful tools, such as reports and transaction searches to help you keep tabs on donation trends.
- Website integration: You can easily embed buttons on your existing website so donations can be made quickly online.
- Fast funds access: Donated funds show up in your PayPal account in minutes, with quick transfer to your league's bank account at no charge.
PayPal "Donate" buttons are a great way to set up a simple way for people to donate to your sports program.
5. Sign up for FundRazr
Building on its mission to support worthy social causes, FundRazr allows youth sports teams to raise money for equipment, training, tournament and competition fees, travel, and more.
To date, more than 3,500 sports organizations have collected donations of more than $7 million through FundRazr.
If you choose FundRazr for your crowdfunding campaign, you gain access to the platform's powerful features:
- Intuitive campaign creation: Thanks to the platform's simple campaign launch process, you can get your fundraising page setup in minutes.
- Extensive social sharing tools: When more people see your campaign, you'll gain more donors. Since FundRazr offers the most comprehensive social network list in the industry, you can reach more people easily.
- Secure, free fundraising: FundRazr offers secure, fast payment processing. All donations flow directly into your connected bank account.
FundRazr can be a great option to build momentum around a specific fundraising campaign - like a team trip or field renovation.
6. Try crowdfunding with Fundly
Crowdfunding has become one of the most popular youth sports fundraising methods. Fundly believes that crowdfunding has no limits and provides easy-to-use tools to help organizations achieve their fundraising goals.
One compelling Fundly feature is its focus on using visuals to help organizations tell a compelling story to win the hearts and minds of potential donors.
With Fundly, you get mobile and social-friendly campaigns that share your message with the world:
- Featured photos and videos: Fundly helps you tell donors all about your youth sports team through visuals. Import videos and images from Facebook, YouTube, or Vimeo or create an interactive slideshow to highlight your organization.
- Free app for easy campaign management: Check on or add to your campaign from anywhere with the free Fundly mobile app.
- Facebook integration: Fundly integrates directly with Facebook, so reactions to your campaign on the social site show up in your campaign activity feed. When potential donors see that your campaign is attracting interest, they may be motivated to give.
Fundly's Facebook integration allows you to collect donations through Facebook and track progress easily.
7. Sign up for StartSomeGood
As its name implies, StartSomeGood is all about helping people make positive changes in the world.
Although smaller and less widely known than other fundraising platforms, StartSomeGood has earned a 96% approval rating from its users -- a testament to its quality and success.
If your youth sports organization has a strong social and community mission, StartSomeGood might be the right fundraising platform for you. Unique benefits of StartSomeGood include:
- Crowdfunding academy: Before you launch a campaign, you can learn all about how to make it successful through StartSomeGood's Crowdfunding Academy. Learn concepts, strategies, and tactics to help you meet your fundraising goals.
- No fees unless you achieve your goal: StartSomeGood shows its commitment to your cause by not charging any fees until you raise the amount you set out to secure.
- Partnerships to support projects: StartSomeGood partners with businesses, governments, and sports foundations to connect potential donors with worthy causes. This approach gives your campaign visibility to people who likely would not have seen it otherwise.
Learn more about peer fundraising in our post about the top baseball fundraising ideas.
8. Get youth sports grants
A grant is like a donation from the government or a corporation. These entities give athletic programs non-repayable funds for sporting goods and services.
Some companies that sponsor youth sports are Nike, Cabelas, and Walmart. There are also federal and local grants available for your sports team, as long as you're registered as a nonprofit organization.
Learn more by reading How to Apply for Grants for Your Youth Sports Program, on our blog.
9. Ask for donations at team fundraising events
The best sports team fundraising events take a lot of time and energy to create. Why not collect donations at these events and take advantage of the hype?
There are many youth sports fundraising ideas your team members can try for collecting donations:
- Car washes.
- Sponsorships from local businesses.
- Team night at a local restaurant.
- T-shirt and jersey sales.
- Auctioning sports memorabilia.
- Hosting a walk-a-thon.
- Setting up a concession stand on game days.
- Holding raffles.
- Hosting a field day.
- Think sport specific, like hosting a charity game as a hockey fundraising idea
You can collect donations through Venmo or Zelle on the spot.
10. Write donation letters
Another way to get donations is by sending out donation letters. This is a proactive way to engage potential donors, whether it's by email or snail mail.
Think of a few donors in your area and get their contact information. Then, sending out those letters.
When writing donation letters, be sure to:
- Identify your target audience: Understand who you're addressing, whether it's parents, alumni, businesses, or the broader community. Tailor your message to resonate with them.
- Personalize the appeal: Share stories or testimonials that highlight the impact of sports on participants' lives, emphasizing the importance of donor support.
- Be specific about your needs: Clearly outline your team's financial requirements. Do you need new equipment like cleats or soccer balls? Are you accepting used sports equipment? This helps donors understand how their contributions will be put to good use.
- Express gratitude: Show appreciation for potential and past donors, acknowledging their role in your team's success.
- Include a clear call-to-action: Guide donors on how to contribute, whether through online platforms, in-person events, or mailed donations.
To learn more, read How to Write a Donation Letter for Youth Sports on our blog.
Raise more money through youth sports donations this season
If you feel pressured to do more with less each season, part of your fundraising strategy should include donations. Running campaigns on popular fundraising platforms can be an excellent solution.
To secure donations, you can feature the campaigns on your website and social media. In addition, sending a donation letter to potential sponsors is another smart move for your fundraising efforts.
Choosing the right fundraising platform is critical to your success. You may opt for a platform that exclusively focuses on non-profits, go with a recognizable brand name, or source free or low-cost solutions. Any of these options can work for youth, community, or high school sports leagues, so be sure to do your homework.
By generating more donations you can invest in the growth of your organization and continue to build a successful sports program!