21 Fundraising Ideas for Sports Teams You Should Try Next
Sports teach the value of teamwork and give athletes an outlet to express themselves. They encourage people of all ages to spend their time in a worthwhile endeavor, form long-term connections, and simply have a good time. With all these benefits comes one major drawback—the cost.
Raising money for sports teams isn’t always as simple as it may seem. Between paying for travel and equipment, the costs can quickly add up. Not to mention that your budget can be thrown completely off course by other miscellaneous expenses that appear along the way.
Without effective fundraisers on your side, expenses can quickly overshadow the fun of the sport. Avoid this by making sure your team gets supported with all the funds it needs to succeed.
To help you get started, we’ll walk you through some effective fundraising ideas that work for any sports team:
- Our Favorite Sports Team Fundraising Idea
- Best Fundraising Ideas for Sports Teams
- Easy Fundraising Ideas for Sports Teams
- Fundraising Ideas for College Sports Teams
- Fundraising Ideas for Youth Sports Teams
Hopefully, these ideas will inspire your next fundraiser, so you can get back to what matters: focusing on the game and bonding with team members.
Our Favorite Sports Team Fundraising Idea
Running Shoe Drive Fundraiser
Ranking as the top winning idea for sports teams: a running shoe drive fundraiser!
It can be challenging to figure out what to do with old running shoes, so supporters will likely jump on this opportunity. They can clear out their much-needed closet space while also giving back to their favorite organization (that’s you!).
When you partner with an organization like Sneakers4funds, the process is easy. Get the whole community involved, and you’ll raise money for your team in no time! Here’s how it works:
- Step 1: Collect gently worn, used and new running shoes.
- Step 2: Fill the pre-paid shipping bag provided by Sneakers4Funds.
- Step 3: Ship the bag (free of charge!) from the nearest UPS store.
- Step 4: Within 48 hours of processing the athletic shoes, a check for your team will be in the mail!
This fundraiser is also great for supporters who are passionate about your cause but don’t have the financial stability to donate. Best of all, it can be combined with pretty much any event you host!
Most people own perfectly good sneakers that they haven’t worn in months that they’d be willing to give away. Don’t let those running shoes go to waste! Encourage your supporters to give the athletic shoes to you and support other communities, all while you earn a few extra dollars in the process.
To explore running shoe drive fundraisers further, visit our step-by-step guide for donating running shoes.
Best Fundraising Ideas for Sports Teams
A walkathon is perfect for active supporters who want to show their passion for your team. Walkathons take a bit of planning, but they’re sure to get the whole community involved. These are great for spreading the word about proper health care and staying active! Here’s how they work:
- Supporters register to participate in your walkathon.
- They collect pledges from people who will donate a certain amount per mile or lap walked.
- Participants complete the walkathon, and your organization receives the pledged donations.
Pick a time and location, and get to work! You’ll need plenty of volunteers to raise funds on your behalf, not to mention a few to run the event itself. For a unique twist, turn the event into a paw-a-thon where participants bring their furry friends to keep them company.
To take it to the next level, coordinate a running shoe drive fundraiser for some extra funds. Encourage walkathon participants to retire their gently worn, used and new running shoes after the event.
Pick the perfect theme to capture your supporters’ attention with our walkathon guide!
This classic fundraiser has been around for ages. All you need to do is purchase some snacks and recruit some volunteers, and you’ll be raising money in no time. Best of all, this fundraising idea works for any type of sports team.
Consider selling classic concessions, such as:
- Soda and water
Once you receive enough funding, you can expand to bigger food items that sell for more money, like hotdogs and hamburgers. Depending on the time of year, experiment with other concessions. Consider things like lemonade during the summer and hot chocolate during the fall and winter. Get spectators more into the game, and try out this classic fundraising idea for sports teams.
Here’s a unique fundraising idea for sports teams: rent-a-team! From yard work to household chores, advertise that your team will be spending a weekend completing whatever community members need to get done. Either set an affordable hourly fee or encourage donations.
Plus, your team members will acquire several useful qualities in the process:
- Time management
- Advertising and marketing
Before kicking off your efforts, ask your team and prospective customers the kinds of tasks they’re expecting. See if your team members’ families would be willing to loan out their cleaning supplies or other equipment to cut back on costs.
As far as fundraising ideas for sports teams go, a car wash has always been a popular (and effective) choice. Take it a step further by bringing man’s best friend into the mix! A pup-and-car wash is a great two-in-one fundraiser. Choose a warm, sunny day, and encourage team members to advertise from the get-go. Take to social media, community bulletin boards, local radio stations, and so on.
Chances are, your supporters will have spare car wash and dog wash supplies. Maybe a local business will be willing to provide in-kind donations of equipment for your fundraiser. If this isn’t the case, you’ll need to purchase:
Set up separate stations, at least one for dogs and one for cars. Make sure to choose a visible location. That way, you’ll get a lot more business from bypassers who wouldn’t have heard about your fundraiser otherwise. Create a poster with a fundraising thermometer to encourage participation. If the fundraiser goes well, consider making it an annual event!
An epic mud run race is sure to drum up some support. Everyone loves a good, old-fashioned competition. Plus, participants will enjoy slipping and sliding on the course. Spread the word throughout the community, and charge an admission fee. For the big day, have team members set up some of the following obstacles:
- A mud pit (a must-have!)
- Monkey bars
- Climbing wall
- A muddy slope for a slippery finish
Sneakers4Funds even offers a special mesh bag for muddy sneakers, so coordinate a running shoe drive fundraiser with your mud run. Participants likely won’t want to clean the sneakers themselves (especially since they’ll be tired). When they cross the finish line, have them drop off their athletic shoes. Rinse them off and store up to 15 pairs per bag!
Easy Fundraising Ideas for Sports Teams
If you’re limited on time or low on a workforce, don’t worry! There are plenty of easy fundraising ideas for sports teams that are sure to bring in a few extra bucks. In fact, some of the easiest are also some of the best fundraising ideas for sports teams. Explore these suggestions to get started.
Restaurant Percentage Night
This event may be one of the easiest fundraising ideas for sports teams. Team up with a local restaurant and get going. With these fundraisers, your team takes home a percentage of the restaurant’s profits for the evening. While you earn some additional revenue for your team, the restaurant will gain exposure (and more profit!). It’s a win-win situation!
As the percentage night nears, advertise more and more. Post eye-catching flyers around town and encourage team members to spread the word to their family and friends through social media. Percentage nights are relatively easy to set up, and your supporters will enjoy a new way to help out your team. After all, everyone loves a good meal!
Sure, cash donations are great, but these days, people don’t always keep spare dollars and cents in their wallets. That’s why a text-to-give campaign may be the perfect fundraising idea for your sports team. Here’s how text-to-donate works:
- You choose a text-to-give software provider.
- The provider sends you a unique phone number.
- Donors text that number, using the keyword chosen by your nonprofit.
- They choose their preferred donation amount and press submit.
- Your organization receives your supporters’ generous donations!
Plus, you can coordinate it with other fundraising ideas for sports teams. At any of your fundraisers or even at games, post flyers with your text-to-donate number. Even if supporters don’t have access to cash, they’ll still be able to donate and maybe also enjoy a new method of giving.
Letter Writing Campaign
Writing letters to supporters is a quick, straightforward project and probably one of the easiest fundraising ideas for sports teams. It’ll be a team effort, but it’s sure to stir up some donations. When you put in the time and effort to craft a personalized letter, people will take notice, making them more likely to donate.
Throughout your campaign, leverage the relationships team members have within the community. Consider writing to local businesses, asking them to sponsor the sport’s team. Then, hone in on individuals who have expressed support in the past. If you have any upcoming expenses, mention them, and say how sponsorships can help.
Fundraising letters are a great way to acquire donations and sponsorships. They can help cover transportation and uniform costs, so be specific about what you need in your request. If you want a financial contribution, ask for it. If you need equipment, say that. You’ll never get what you don’t ask!
At some point, you’ve likely encountered this popular fundraiser. Consider hosting it at one of your games or other events. Near your concession stand, set up a table where volunteers will sell raffle tickets. Throughout the game, remind spectators to visit the table and purchase one or several tickets for a chance to win the prize money. The more tickets sold, the higher the winnings become!
At the end of the game, draw a ticket number and announce the lucky winner. Half of the money goes to the ticket holder, and the other half goes to your organization. With easy setup and minimum startup fees, no wonder this is one of the most popular fundraising ideas for sports teams!
Discount Card Sale
Some companies create discount cards with popular restaurants and retail chains, but you’ll have the best luck if you create them yourself. Team up with several local businesses, and once you have a substantial list, create your cards.
Depending on the number of restaurants and shops, sell each card for around $15 to $20. Then, ask your team members to sell them. Set a goal for every team member to reach. Even consider making it a competition where the top seller wins a prize!
Buyers will earn their money back in no time, and the businesses that agreed to participate will receive a lot more exposure as a result. Make sure to put an expiration date so that you can reuse this fundraiser over and over. Supporters will start to look forward to it every year, and over time, you’ll gain more support.
Fundraising Ideas for College Sports Teams
Fundraising can consume team members’ energy, leaving them with less time to focus on playing the game. Especially when it comes to college teams where team members also have classwork to worry about, it’s difficult to find spare time to devote to campaign efforts. To simplify the process, let’s explore some effective fundraising ideas for college sports teams.
Instead of showing up at a local bowling alley with dozens of guests, coordinate this event with the owner. Settle on a flat fee for each of your attendees. It should at least cover shoe rental and the bowling itself. Then, charge an entry fee for each attendee.
The best part about this fundraiser is that it can be hosted year-round, rain or shine! Plus, the bowling alley will already have all the equipment you need. Maximize earnings by doing the following:
- Run a concession stand.
- Reach out to local businesses to sponsor the lanes.
- Coordinate a running shoe drive fundraiser.
Make sure to advertise each of these opportunities well beforehand. This way, participants can plan accordingly. For instance, they’ll know to bring extra dollars for snacks or bring a change of sneakers for your running shoe drive fundraiser.
Social Media Campaign
As social media gains more users, crowdfunding continues to grow in popularity. For these campaigns, set up a donation page with an effective crowdfunding platform. Then, team members should share the page with their social networks online, asking for donations. Social media campaigns are great for covering:
- Transportation expenses
- Equipment costs
- Tournament costs
Crowdfunding is most effective if you have a specific cost to cover. This way, you can set a concrete goal and leverage relevant stories to encourage donations. Explore this phenomenon further with Fundly’s crowdfunding guide.
Some fans are willing to shell out money for branded sports merchandise just to show off their favorite team. Choose a low-cost (but quality) vendor to design your merchandise. Feature your team logos, colors, and mascot on anything you create. However, don’t clutter it up. Instead, feature large fonts and simple designs. Then, when fans use your merchandise, it may spark a conversation with others. Consider selling:
- Car decals
- Team flags
The options are endless, but only if you get creative! Sell the merchandise at your games and feature it on your online store. That way, no one misses out on an opportunity to rep your team. Strengthen your bond with your fanbase, spread the word about your team, and earn some cash all at once!
To raise money, consider hosting a fitness class, or sell individual lessons. Chances are there’s someone on your team who would be willing to run it. After all, it is for the benefit of their team.
Since your team will likely be teaching in its area of expertise, you won’t have to find a venue. You can just use your own field or court. However, if team members choose to host a general fitness class (like weightlifting or cardio), partner with your on-campus gym. Not only will it help others develop useful athletic skills, but it can also help your players improve their game.
Video Game Tournament
A video game tournament is another great fundraising idea for college sports teams. Turn it into a competition or just play for fun. At the end of the night, whoever claims the top score per game wins. Offer cheap prizes (like a gift card to a local restaurant) for the top competitors. To save some money, ask local businesses to donate these prizes.
Even if none of your teammates own consoles or you can’t afford console rentals, this idea can still work! Simply turn it into a board/card game night. Rely on team members to bring their own games to make the night possible.
Whichever you choose, charge an entry fee to earn money. For a few extra dollars, sell refreshments or coordinate a 50/50 raffle. Don’t forget to set time limits, so everyone gets a chance to participate.
Fundraising Ideas for Youth Sports Teams
Youth fundraisers don’t have to be monotonous or boring. Here’s your chance to break the door-to-door sales mold and get creative. Raise some extra cash with these fundraising ideas for youth sports teams!
Children love a bit of friendly competition. If your team is part of a league, consider hosting a league tournament. When properly planned, they’re fun, can be a great recruitment tool, and have the power to raise a good chunk of money for your team. Set up a bracket. Then, invite other teams within the league to participate.
Plus, this is a great way to bring the community together. Charge an entry fee or coordinate your running shoe drive fundraiser with it. Instead of having spectators pay an entry fee, allow them to bring their gently worn, used and new running shoes as payment. You can also encourage players to donate their athletic shoes, too! Just make sure to advertise this ahead of time, so they know to bring a change of sneakers.
Cover your team’s expenses with a pancake breakfast. It’s a great way to bring supporters together for a delicious meal while also raising money. With the help of parent volunteers, make and sell pancakes. You’ll need to book a venue, such as your school or community center. You may be able to book it at a discounted rate; just ask!
Consider turning this fundraising idea for sports teams into an annual event. That way, team members, family, and friends will look forward to it every year.
Your team may excel in your court or field, but what about when it comes to other sports? Host a field day with an array of challenges. Then, charge a fee to participate in each challenge or the event as a whole. Save some money by using equipment you already have and by using your practice field or court.
Also, don’t limit it to team and league members. Extend the invitation to supporters (like friends and family), too! Don’t forget to set up your running shoe drive fundraiser for some extra revenue. If all goes well, consider making it an annual event! It’s is one of many fundraising ideas for sports teams that’s sure to churn up extra support.
Most youth sports teams have a business partnership with a local sporting goods store, so why not use it to your advantage? Work with your sporting goods provider to set up a percentage day where you take home a portion of the profits.
Chances are, the owner will agree to participate, because it’s a great way to bring in some extra foot traffic. Encourage them to do it every so often (like every month or so). Don’t forget to advertise it to your friends and family!
Then, leverage your partnership by asking the business to host a running shoe drive fundraiser. Do the work—which isn’t much—for them. Pick a fundraising coordinator (like Sneakers4Funds) and encourage store employees to set up bins. Make sure to promote it to the community.
Consider this fundraising idea for youth sports teams: a kids’ camp! Raise funds and promote a healthy lifestyle for kids of all ages. Best of all, this is a great recruitment strategy! Charge an entry fee and post sign-up sheets around the community. Remember to use social media as a way to market the camp.
Your regular practice venue should be able to provide the space and equipment you need for the camp. That way, you won’t have to worry about any other expenses aside from water and snacks. If you’ve coordinated a running shoe drive fundraiser, don’t forget to encourage participants to bring sneakers.
Additional Resources for Fundraising Ideas for Sports Teams
21 Awesome 5K Fundraiser Ideas for All Organizations. Interested in hosting a 5K as your team’s next fundraiser? Check out these ideas to raise some extra funds!
What to do with Old Running Shoes: 18 Eco-Friendly Ideas. Find out what to do with your old running shoes at the end of your team’s season.
21 Essential Walkathon Fundraiser Ideas for Every Cause. Walkathons work for sports teams of all ages. Explore these unique walkathon theme ideas!