28 Best Fundraising Ideas for Youth Sports in 2023

Connie Harrington

No doubt about it: Families get tired of the same youth sports fundraisers year after year. And tracking down enough sponsors to reach your fundraising goal takes time and effort.

It’s time to find some easy youth sports fundraising ideas to energize your league.

Some are tried and true methods that have been used for decades, and others are creative ideas that use your website and social media to raise money year-round. Some are almost effortless, while others take planning.

In this post, you’ll learn 28 of the best sports team fundraising ideas for your teams or league.

Top 28 youth sports fundraising ideas

There are plenty of “old school” youth sports fundraising opportunities that your organization should consider each year. Some of these ideas aren’t necessarily new, but they’ve been around for a long time for a reason and you shouldn't overlook them when you plan your fundraising for next season.

These ideas can help you raise thousands of dollars for your organization quickly if you are organized and promote them in the community.

Here are a few of our favorites...

1. Host a restaurant fundraiser

Aim to run at least one restaurant fundraiser annually. This easy fundraising idea requires little planning and can help you raise quick dollars before or during your season.

Most restaurant fundraisers let you send supporters to the restaurant on a particular night or week and donate a portion of those sales to your organization. 

Some of the top national chains that offer fundraising options for youth sports are:

💡 PRO TIP: Promote the fundraiser heavily, don’t just tell team members to attend. Make sure coaches, sponsors, past players, and others involved with your organization know about the fundraiser.

2. Use your registration form for fundraising

It’s tough to get people to participate in fundraisers. If you can make it convenient for them to register, you’ll get more people to sign up. 

Offer the opportunity for family members and coaches to register for your fundraisers or make donations when they are registering at the beginning of the season.

For example, include a question in your registration form like:

Giving people the opportunity to make a meaningful contribution when they register is a quick way to raise extra funds before your season.

3. Start a car wash

Car washes are one of the classic ways to raise a bit of money for your youth sports program. They can be fun for kids to work, they are effective at raising money, and require little planning!

Contact a local business with a prominent location but is closed on weekends, like a bank. It is likely that these businesses will let you use their parking lot for the weekend if you explain the cause. If the business is willing to donate their location for the car wash, you could list them as one of your sponsors.

After finding a location, let the players take on most of the responsibility - at the car wash, you may need one or two adults. A team effort will make people more likely to support the fundraiser.

💡 PRO TIP: Provide the team with a meal and some loud music to keep it lively. Make sure to let the players know that participating in the car wash will help fund your team or league greatly. 

4. Host a golf outing

Golf outings require a bit more work but can raise a few thousand dollars (or more) if you are well organized. Golf events typically need to be booked at least 6 months in advance, so make sure you’re preparing well ahead of time. 

Contact local golf clubs to learn more about availability. Targeting a Saturday or Sunday will make it much easier to get teams registered, but can also be more expensive.

Allow players to register an entire foursome, or register as an individual. Make sure you post flyers and share information throughout your community. Some people that just enjoy golf will be willing to play, even if they aren’t affiliated at all with your local sports organization.

Golf courses are unlikely to allow your fundraising event to play at a discount. Your players will need to pay to play golf. That’s ok though, because there are plenty of fundraising opportunities you can set up throughout the outing. 

5. Run a 50/50 raffle

A 50 / 50 Raffle or “Split the Pot” is super easy to organize, and they’re a guaranteed win for your organization.

If you have a charismatic person on your board have them organize a 50 / 50 raffle at your home games, tournaments, and any other exciting events throughout your season. 

If you have a PA system, remind everyone at the game about the raffle several times during the game and do a final announcement as ticket sales are about to close.

💡 PRO TIP: Use Venmo or CashApp to make contributions super easy, or even use apps made for split the pot raffles like WinHalf or Raffles Now.

6. Have a preseason chili (or favorite local food) cook off

Cookouts are a great fundraising campaign to have fun with your entire organization. Turning the preseason cookout into a valuable fundraiser is the best of both worlds.

Using an outdoor area like your field is a great place to host a preseason cook-off. All you need is a few tents and access to electricity so your participants can bring along their slow cookers. If you play a winter sport and the weather is too cold, use your gym or community center.

Try to get at least 10 participants to take part in the cook off. Sell tickets in your community, and allow attendees to sample each chef’s creation to vote for their favorite. Regardless of the size of your organization, try to sell at least 100 tickets.

Since the chili ingredients can be paid for by the participants almost all of the proceeds can go to your organization. You’ll just need a few prizes for the top chefs. The winner can be awarded something fun or goofy - like a personalized jersey of your team with the name “Chili Champion” on the back. 

💡 PRO TIP: Don’t be shy about the price of attending the event. Instead of charging a price like $5 per ticket, consider charging $20 or more. Set a limit per family, like $50 for a family of four.

7. Sponsor an athlete

In many cases community members and local businesses don’t know the total cost of playing youth sports. They know your athletes need equipment, but they may not understand all of the other hidden operating costs like: 

  • Facility rentals

  • Referee fees

  • Travel

  • League insurance

Understanding the true costs, and making a contribution to cover the cost of a player for the season can help community members feel like they are making a direct impact on youth sports in the community.

Create a “Sponsor an Athlete” program that allows people or businesses to pay for the cost of an athlete for the season. All you need to do is list out the costs associated with a player and add up the total. Create a simple spreadsheet so potential sponsors can see the details.

Totally up the average costs per athlete per year can help explain to potential donors why contributing to your fundraisers is so important.

💡 PRO TIP: Set an ambitious goal when you announce the program, like selling enough Athlete Sponsorships for 25% of your players. The funds also don’t need to be used to cover the costs of a specific player. Instead, they can be used to help with the overall operating costs of your league.

8. Sell ad space on your website

Use your website as a place to promote your sponsors throughout the year. Even if your website doesn't get a ton of traffic, you can still charge $100+ per year to local businesses or high schools to be a sponsor.

If you get 1,000 or more visitors per month to your site, consider charging $500+ to be a sponsor of the website as a part of your sponsorship packages.

Adding your sponsor logos to your website is a great way to provide value for local businesses.

9. Partner with apparel stores

Branded apparel, gear, and products are a great way to get players, parents, and other community members showing their pride in your organization. If people can’t buy branded apparel and items with your organization’s logo, set up an online store for your sports team.

The good news is that there are many online platforms to help you sell, print, and ship items quickly - and almost all of them can kick back a portion of sales to your organization. 

Players, parents, and fans want to buy their favorite sports teams apparel year round. You can promote your online stores during the months leading up to your season, and during the Holiday season so your team apparel can be given as a gift.

Setting up an online store can help with fundraising and get more people wearing your team gear in the community.

10. Cash in on social media

Social media is important at your sports organization for communications and marketing, but did you know it can be an effective way to fundraise too?

First, post updates often on social media leading up to any fundraisers. Encourage parents and coaches to share your posts to help spread the word around your community.

Take advantage of all the fundraising opportunities on each page. Facebook and Instagram each have built-in fundraising tools to attach to your organization's page. You can also allow individuals to assist your fundraising efforts using their personal Facebook account.

11. Collect donations on your website year round

Make sure you're giving people the option to donate to the cause directly on your website, year-round.

Have a section of your website that is dedicated to Fundraising, Donations, & Sponsorships. Information on the different options to support your organization should be prominent and easy to find.

Also, list sponsor testimonials, quotes from parents about how your organization has impacted their child, and the reasons why fundraising is so important to help fund your teams.

List all of the different ways people can support your organization and make it easy to get involved on your website.

Looking for solutions to make online donations easy? Learn about some of the top options in our post 7 Powerful Tools to Collect Youth Sports Donations.

12. Organize a walk-a-thon

Walk-a-thons can be a fun community event,  and just about anyone can participate. There also aren’t a lot of up-front costs. Use an online fundraising page to manage the campaigns for each of your participants. 

13. Host a preseason potluck 

Potlucks are a great way to get parents, coaches, and players together. Hosting a potluck before your first game can be fun to get community members together.

Parents and coaches can get to know one another, and you can generate excitement for the upcoming season. To raise some money, sell tickets to the event and have dishes donated (either by individuals or local restaurants).

14. Run a crowdfunding campaign

Crowdfunding is a quick way to raise money online with little work. Setting up a crowdfunding campaign takes a few minutes, and you can promote it on your social media pages and website.

It’s essential to make sure you have a specific project in mind, so donors feel like they are contributing to something meaningful. Two of the most popular crowdfunding platforms for sports are GoFundMe and Fundly.

15. Sell branded glassware

Coaches, parents, and former players love your team! Let them purchase glassware for their home and get a percentage of the sales. There are many online options to set up a store or purchase branded glassware to re-sell at your events.

16. Host a laundry detergent fundraiser

Does a laundry detergent fundraiser sound crazy? Well, everyone needs laundry detergent, especially parents with kids playing sports. Use Sudz Fundraising to set up a laundry detergent fundraiser before your season. 

Uniforms getting dirty? A laundry detergent campaign can be one of the top baseball fundraising ideas.

17. Sell Super Bowl squares

Everyone at your organization will participate in a Super Bowl Squares fundraiser this year. You might as well raise some money during the game!

You can easily promote a Super Bowl Squares fundraiser on your organization’s Facebook page. Get some good banter going! If your Super Bowl Squares fundraiser works well, try the same thing for the College Football Playoff.

18. Run an official season t-shirt sale

Getting parents and fans to wear the same apparel at games can boost your team. Come out with a new t-shirt design a few months before each season. You can even include a different theme or catchphrase for each season to make that t-shirt unique. 

Sell the t-shirts at a small markup to parents, grandparents, coaches, and other community members to increase support and raise some money.

19. Sell team yearbooks

Parents love remembering their kids' sports seasons. Each year, put together an “official” yearbook with pictures from the season, schedules, scores, and quotes from your coaches. 

Create the yearbooks using online tools like Canva and sell them to parents to raise money at the end of the season.

20. Give a “Round Up” option at your concession stand

Have you ever been asked if you want to round up a purchase to donate to a good cause? Do the same at your youth sports concession stand during games. 

Give customers the option to “round up” their concession stand purchase to the next $5 increment. For example, if someone buys a hot dog and a drink for $3.50, give them the option to round up to $5 and contribute the difference to your organization.

21. Host a brick fundraiser

Are you raising money for a new facility or another construction project? Brick fundraisers are a great way to motivate community members to get involved. 

Keep things simple and charge the same rate for each brick. Make the total bricks and dollars raised goals public so everyone can see your progress toward the goal!

22. Run a clinic for younger athletes

Getting younger players involved in your organization is critical to continue to grow your league. Organizing a clinic for younger athletes is a great way to get new athletes interested and raise some money. 

Run a short clinic on a Saturday, charge a small fee (like $20) and have your players volunteer to coach the clinic with oversight from adults. As a bonus, offer free pizza to the participants after camp and get it donated by a local restaurant.

23. Organize a tournament

You could host a small tournament for your local community, like a 3-on-3 basketball tournament or a volleyball tournament. These tournaments can take place at a local park or parking lot and just take up an afternoon.

Or, go big and organize a weekend long tournament for teams in your region. Tournaments like the Wayne Williams Memorial Tournament can attract dozens of teams for an entire weekend, and provide a big fundraising boost for your community.

24. Use Snap!Raise for mobile fundraising

Snap!Raise is a popular fundraising platform that allows players to set up individual campaigns that contribute to your team’s goal. Everything is done online and automatic emails are sent to the player’s family and friends to encourage them to participate.

25. Start a donation letter campaign 

Every offseason you should send a donation letter around to local businesses. Look up the addresses of local businesses online using your local Chamber of Commerce. 

Then track your progress with the campaign in a spreadsheet with number of letters sent, total responses, and total donation dollars. Set up a donation page on your website to make it easy for potential sponsors to donate. 

26. Bowl-a-thon

A bowl-a-thon is similar to a walkathon. Bowlers can participate as teams or individually, and set goals for donors to contribute to.

Bowl-a-thons can be a lot of fun for everyone involved, and you can count on the bowling alley to handle most of the work the day of the event. 

27. Lawn mowing fundraiser

Are your teams ready to get involved in a fundraiser? Start a Lawn Mowing fundraiser by having your players mow a few lawns in their neighborhood. 

You don’t even need to set a price for each lawn mowed, just have the players offer to mow lawns for free in exchange for a contribution of the donor’s choice. 

You might be surprised how much people might be willing to donate. You can also have a contest to see which player can mow the most lawns or raise the most money with a fun prize involved for the winner.

28. Use AmazonSmile

AmazonSmile is a program that donates a percentage of a customer’s purchase to their charity of choice. You can register your sports organization with Amazon Smile, and community members can select your organization when purchasing from Amazon. You’ll need your nonprofit 501c3 registration and a valid Tax ID to start.

Putting the “fun” back in fundraising for youth sports team

Whether it’s softball or baseball fundraising, finding successful fundraiser ideas is tough. After all, who wants to ask people to buy discount cards? Or go door-to-door peddling cookie dough or candy bars? 

With the effective fundraising ideas above, you can avoid these tired tactics and make money for your league, sports camp, or sports club. 

Experiment with some new ideas and find the right mix for your club or league. Whatever you choose, don’t forget the fun. You’ll get more support if people enjoy what they’re doing instead of viewing it as an obligation.

Additional Resources

How to Find Companies that Sponsor Youth Sports

How to Build a Website for a Youth Sports Program

How to Apply for Grants for Youth Sports

Attracting Sponsors to Your Youth Sports Organization

5 Powerful Tools to Collect Youth Sports Donations