Online fundraising is an easy way to raise money using the Internet.
It means that sports teams can collect donations without putting on events, going door-to-door, or even handling cash. You just need a laptop and WiFi.
Online fundraisers became popular with the onset of COVID-19. And have remained popular even after because they:
- Are more convenient
- Are cost-effective
- Attract new supporters
Ahead, you’ll learn the best sports team fundraising ideas you can achieve online from the comfort of your home. So you can raise the money you need for next season.
1. Collect donations on your website
Getting donations through your youth sports league website is a great way to raise money.
Setting up a donation page can make donating to your organization easy for parents, fans, and community members. It's convenient and saves time and resources that would have otherwise been spent on traditional fundraising.
If you collect donations on your website, you'll reach a wider audience. Your donation page can also explain how the money will be used for equipment, travel expenses, or scholarship money for low-income families.
💡PRO TIP: Give donors choices for what to donate. Create donation tiers and offer rewards or incentives for each level. Here’s an example of donation levels and rewards you can use:
- Bronze Donor ($25): This tier could include a thank-you note and a shoutout on social media.
- Silver Donor ($50): This tier could include a personalized thank-you card, a team photo, and a shoutout on social media.
- Gold Donor ($100): This tier could include a personalized thank-you card, a team photo, a shoutout on social media, and a special recognition on the team's website.
- Platinum Donor ($250 or more): This tier could include all the perks of the previous tiers and a custom-made team jersey with the donor's name on it.
Want to set up a donation page on your website? Set it up in minutes with a free Jersey Watch account.
2. Ask for donations during registration
Simplify the donation process by allowing people to donate during their season or event registration. With sports registration software, collecting online payments is a breeze.
Consider requesting donations on your registration form, as shown in the example below, when you create your online registration.
3. Sell team merch online
Team merchandise is a low-effort, low-cost way to raise money for your youth sports team online. You can:
- Reach supporters beyond your local community
- Offer supporters a convenient way to purchase merchandise
- Generate a steady income.
Creating an online store with team-branded items such as t-shirts, hats, and water bottles allows supporters to show their team spirit while contributing to your team's fundraising efforts.
Set up an online store using Shopify or Teespring and customize it with your team's logo and colors. Use social media to reach a wider audience and promote your store.
4. Run social media campaigns
Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram can help you reach a wider audience. Creating engaging, compelling content is the key.
Here’s how to set it up:
- Outline your fundraising goals and the types of content you plan to share on social media.
- Use eye-catching visuals such as photos and videos to capture your audience's attention.
- Encourage your followers to share your posts and spread the word about your fundraiser.
You can also partner with local businesses or influencers to promote your fundraiser on their social media. You can reach more people and raise more money this way.
5. Launch a crowdfunding campaign
Crowdfunding is a popular way to raise money online, typically through fundraising platforms like GoFundMe and Kickstarter. It involves creating a compelling story or pitch for your team and sharing it with your network to encourage people to contribute small donations.
The beauty of crowdfunding is that it allows you to reach a wide audience quickly and efficiently. You can share your campaign on social media, through email lists, and even with friends and family, who can then share it with their networks. The platform also provides tools to track donations, thank donors, and update everyone on your progress.
6. Host an online auction
Online auctions are a fantastic way to raise funds for your youth sports team. They allow you to collect money from people who can't attend in-person fundraising events. It's also much cheaper because you don't need to rent a venue or provide refreshments.
Here’s how it works:
- Gather donated items from local sponsors.
- Create an online auction.
- Invite supporters to bid.
Using an online auction platform, you can reach a larger audience and provide a fun and engaging way for supporters to contribute to your team members.
💡PRO TIP: Make your life easier and the bidder’s experience better with a tool like OneCause to offer mobile bidding, event ticketing, and bid tracking.
7. Sell online raffles
Raffles are a classic youth sports fundraising idea. The goal is to offer participants the chance to win a prize in exchange for purchasing a raffle ticket online.
To ensure maximum participation, advertise the raffle on social media platforms, and share the link to the raffle website with the team's email list. Include prize details, ticket prices, and the date of the drawing.
Use a tool like Random Picker to draw winners for the contest to ensure everything is fair. Random Picker is free for nonprofit organizations.
Remember that raffles and online gambling laws can vary by state, so research and follow the right regulations to avoid legal issues.
8. Get sports grants
If you're looking for funding to plan for your team's future, sports grants can be a great option.
Many reputable companies sponsor youth sports, such as Nike, Walmart, and Cabela's. In addition, there are various local and federal grants that you can apply for to secure funding.
To learn more about the grant application process for youth sports programs, check out our blog post, How to Apply for Grants for Your Youth Sports Program. This resource provides more detailed information on how to get started and what to expect.
9. Seek local business sponsorship
You can raise a lot of money for a youth sports team by getting sponsorships from local businesses.
Reach out to local businesses and see if they'll sponsor your team. You can offer them advertising opportunities for their sponsorship, like putting their logo on your website, uniforms, or banners.
Say, for example, you were running a youth softball team near Cleveland, Ohio, and you wanted Mitchell’s Ice Cream to donate to your team.
You’d head to their website and find the “Contact” link at the bottom of the web page. After clicking the link, you would go to their contact page and fill out the necessary information.
10. Start a digital discount card fundraising campaign
Discount cards (or coupon books) give valuable discounts to various local restaurants, shops, and entertainment venues. People love them because they offer a tangible benefit.
In the past, you would buy a bunch of discount cards at wholesale price, then sell them to supporters. Today, you can sell discount cards through an app.
Photo courtesy of: The Discount Card
It takes a few minutes to start with an app like The Discount Card. Then, you can sell digital cards anywhere and track sales easily.
Discount cards are also highly profitable. For example, you can purchase 500 digital cards for $3 a piece. Sell the cards for $10 a piece, which equals a $7 profit per card, or $3,500 in total.
11. Start peer-to-peer fundraising
Peer-to-peer fundraising is an online fundraiser where athletes create their own fundraising pages and ask their friends and family members to donate. It allows you to tap into a bigger network of supporters and reach your fundraising targets.
The use of digital tools makes it easy to promote the fundraiser. With Snap!Raise, everything is done online. Players can set up campaigns on their phones and share easily. The platform will also automatically email potential supporters to encourage them to participate.
12. Host a virtual 5K
A virtual 5K allows participants to complete the race on their own time and in their own location, whether that be on a treadmill or in their neighborhood. It’s more cost-effective because you don’t have to find a place or pay for event permits.
You can also run other virtual events, like:
- Fitness challenges
Any event that participants can take part in from anywhere will work.
People can register for the event and pay a fee that goes toward your fundraising goal. You can even spice it up and make a friendly competition out of the event, offering prizes for people who raise the most money.
13. Run a virtual sports camp
Virtual training sessions are another great way to raise money for your sports team.
A coach or athlete with expertise in a particular sport can lead these sessions via video conferencing platforms like Zoom or Google Meet. You can charge a fee that goes straight to your team.
Running camps is one of the best fundraisers for high school sports. You can have high school players introduce your sport to younger players in your community, all while raising a bit of money.
💡PRO TIP: Promote the session on social media and through email. Offer incentives to join the event, such as raffles or exclusive merchandise.
14. Start a donation letter campaign
A donation letter is another effective way to increase youth sports donations online. Rather than send the letter through snail mail, you can send it through email to potential supporters.
When running a donation letter campaign, be sure to outline your team's goals, mission, and objectives. Your fundraising letter should also include:
- A personalized introduction
- Results and success stories from previous donors
- An easy way to donate
To find email addresses, use a tool like Email Search. Or, go to a business website and find their contact information.
Take your sports team fundraising to the next level
Sure, the fundraising activities above are different from your standard car wash or field day. But they can help you earn more money this upcoming season.
With online only fundraising strategies, you can spend less and make more for your local sports teams. Try a few of the ideas above and mix them into your in-person events. Take some time to brainstorm with your team and see what fundraisers they’d like to participate in.
Soon, you’ll reap the benefits of having more donors and less effort to fund your team.