Monday, February 9, 2009

Baseball Fundraising: Biggest Moneymakers and Timewasters

RT Staff Note: In this tough economic time, the strain on finances will be tougher in the upcoming summer season. More than ever, fundraisers will be needed to pay for the cost of summer travel. But be smart with the type of fundraisers you engage in. Some successful ones for us were bake sales, brewing our own StarBucks coffee and selling it in big corporate office parks and See's candy sales. This is an article from and Deb Yeagle.

If you are part of a travel baseball organization, then you are no doubt familiar with the costs of fielding a team. Tournament entry fees and umpire expenses are the primary costs associated with a travel team. While most teams charge each player monthly dues, fundraisers are used to offset the monthly charges or to raise money for special events such as trips to Cooperstown, Disney’s Wide World of Sports, or the Ripken Baseball Complexes to play in the ultimate tournament experience.

We have participated in many different types of fundraising events for our teams over the years. The key to a successful fundraiser is finding an activity that is high on profit margin and low on time investment. Following are some of the biggest moneymakers you should get involved in and the biggest timewasters you should avoid when planning fundraising events for your team.

One of the biggest moneymakers are team sponsors. Players, with the help of coaches and parents, can canvas local businesses to ask for donations. If the team establishes levels of giving prior to requesting donations, which provides benefits to the sponsor commensurate with the donation, then these businesses will be more likely to support the team, knowing that they receive something in return. Requesting flat donations is not as an effective fundraising tactic.

Following are sample levels of giving and associated sponsor benefits:

• $100 – Plaque
• $250 – Banner + Plaque
• $500 - Advertisement on Team Website + Banner + Plaque

This fundraising activity is also a learning experience for the players. If they participate in the letter writing campaign and follow up with prospective sponsors, then they can learn / practice basic writing and communication skills. This also helps instill team pride in each player who participates.

Another big moneymaker is doughnut sales. It is possible to clear $500.00 in 3 hours of sales, provided you select a high traffic location (e.g., WalMart, Lowe’s, grocery stores). Keep in mind you must obtain permission from the owner of the location at which you intend to sell doughnuts to their customers. Very little time is required in advertising the event, and time required to pick up the doughnuts varies depending on the arrangement with your doughnut supplier. We have used Krispy Kreme Fundraising ( for all of our successful doughnut sales.

Another good fundraiser, if you don’t have more than 2 sales a year, is Joe Corbi’s pizza and cookie dough products ( A team can easily make $1000.00 on a sale, but having more than 2 sales a year will result in oversupply and decreased fundraising.

Gift card sales are also potential moneymakers. ( is a good source of retailers that support fundraising through gift card sales. The percentage donated to your team varies by retailer. For example, Food Lion gives back 5% of all gift card sales. Based on our experience with gift card sales, grocery store cards are the best seller (since everyone needs groceries).

Hit-a-thons and car washes are time intensive events that result in very little profit. Hosting tournaments is a time intensive effort, but it is possible to turn a healthy profit. Selling concessions is a worthwhile fundraiser for tournaments, but is hardly worth the time and effort for single day events such as doubleheaders. Rental or purchase of vending machines requires little or no time, but involves a significant investment of funds up front.

The most successful fundraisers for our baseball team have been team sponsors, doughnut sales, pizza sales, and gift card sales. Very little time is required for these fundraising activities, but the profit potential is high. Setting expectations for participation in fundraising events by both players and parents is a must. This should be done by either the coaches or a parent volunteer fundraising coordinator at the beginning of the season. When the team sets a goal of making a trip to play in a tournament at Cooperstown, Disney World, or the Ripken Experience, it’s a good idea to establish the fundraising goal at the same time to help defray travel costs for the team and ensure a successful tournament experience.

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