How to Raise Money For Your Youth Sports Teams

How to Raise Money For Your Youth Sports Teams
Published: 2022-05-10
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Many youth sports, especially those at the travel team level, are faced with spiraling costs for tournament fees, transportation, hotels, meals, etc. 

Our research team has compiled a popular list of fundraising ideas with some advisories about their staging.  They are below and in no order of preference or success, though have been successfully staged by nonprofit organizations.


Host an auction to fundraise.  Plan and get donated auction items.  Invite the public to attend. Stage on a weekend. Hire a professional auctioneer. Auctions are among the most profitable fundraisers.

Bar Wars

Challenge local sports pubs to create trivia teams and stage a live competition.  Create a large trophy that will rotate to an annual winner.  Have a local TV sports announcer act as emcee.  Have judges panel be the answer authority.   Entry fees and participant and sponsor donations.

Car Wash

Likely one of the most popular forms of team fund raising events, the car wash can be spiced up with a foul shooting or putting contest while the car owners wait for cleaners to finish.   Could even offer a free wash to contestants who achieve at goal or pay double if they don’t.  Patrons can opt just for the wash, but adding the fun aspect gives an opportunity to make a pitch for increased donations.

Donation Kiosks

A digital age version of "pass the hat" at local events, establish an online, credit card taking kiosk on the sidelines so fans can enter their donation.  Be sure to have the game announcer promote use.  Pass out post-card-like info with an online donation URL as a post-event way to contribute.  Also, pass the hat. 

Custom T-Shirts

Unique t-shirts are good additions as add-ons or stand-alone fundraisers.  Mementos of giving and participating are popular and profitable.


Raising funds through crowdfunding is a good way to assemble many small donations.  They are not costly to create and savvy social media young players are encouraged to lead the way with posts seeking donations.  These campaigns can be very effective.


Modeled after the old-time pot luck supper, the chefs of the community are urged to donate their best dishes, and the community is invited to bond over the meals and bond in the common cause of raising funds.  It is suggested that care is taken to insure a variety of foods by having chefs name their dishes in advance of the event.

Best of all, meal donors will cover the bulk of the costs by providing the food and other materials for you. All you have to do is find a suitable venue.  It might also be good to entertain, and have an emcee to promote giving.   Diners are urged to donate.

Golf Tournament

Here’s what you’ll need: 

Be sure to engage the local pro, even buying some prizes from the golf shop, so the staff will be engaged in your event.

A great course to play on. A date that usually has good weather. A committee to help attract sponsors and participants. In-kind donations for event day needs, like golf balls and drinks. On course promotions.

You can sell tickets to individuals, but twosomes and foursomes will be easier to place. Let local companies or community groups sponsor a set number of foursomes.

When the big day finally arrives, make sure you have systems in place to handle registration efficiently and get everyone out on the course as quickly and as smoothly as possible.

Wrap up the day with an awards ceremony and a brief presentation.

Foot Races

Foot races, walking or running, are effective, low overhead fundraisers.  They have high ROIs and are easy to promote, appealing to support bases.  Joggers, runners, mall walkers, etc. are all invited.  You'll make money from entry fees and donations from the friends and fans of the racers who pledge their support.  Mostly your costs will be renting the venue if any, and refreshments.  Of course, participation mementos will add to the event's popularity.

Foot Rally

Foot Rally is like a car rally where an entry fee allows a walking team of two to race at a starting point and navigate to various stop points where they must perform a task before getting directions to the next stopping point.  The process continues through a pre-produced and administered course.  Teams start 60 seconds apart.  The fastest time correctly completing the course wins.  Time penalties are incurred for incorrectly performed stopping point tasks.  Winners get an opportunity to win a large insured sum by successfully performing the insured task. 

Might want to consider including tee shirts in the entry fee, so all participants come away with something.  Also might have local merchants provide prizes for the top 3 to 5 teams.

Pencil Pentathlon

This is a shopping mall carts-in-the-court game that tests contestants' memory, math, and puzzle skills (5) events.  The top finishers, move on to a second-round with the finalist getting a chance to win a large insured prize with the quiz.  Mall stores contribute prizes as a promotion.  Entry fees provide profits.


This is a skills game including putting, basketball foul shots, and darts.  Entrants perform each skill until they miss.  The top three are invited back to perform a pre-agreed insured skill for a large prize.   Would be a good idea to have entrants get some sort of small gift.  A sponsoring sporting goods store, will help stage and provide prizes in turn for the ability to traffic.


This is a combined promotion involving a department store or supermarket and local media that promote hourly in-store specials.  Stores share a percentage of profits with local sports team fundraisers.   Media gets audience loyalty.  Stores get traffic and sales.  The team gets funds. 

Field, Pitch, Rink, or Gym Sale

Like a yard sale, but big.  Stage it on the playing surface of your team, with players in uniform to act as guides.  The more items the more money is possibly raised.  Players, parents, coaches, and fans are asked to donate items for sale.   Promote in all available media, getting the entire community involved.  Sell snacks and refreshments.   Unsold items can be donated to a local charity.

Alumni Events

Former players, parents, and coaches are invited to relive their good times playing with teams.  Consider an alumni game, casino night, or just a dinner.  Be sure to hire a professional event planner and check regulations and permits if a casino night or raffles are involved.

The Peoples Prom

Parents and their network of friends and associates enjoy getting gussied up and mixing in a throwback dance, reminding them of their days as young men and women.  Create a dance replete with gymnasium decoration, punch, retired teachers as chaperones, DJ’d music of their era, and even talking a favorite local band of their time to a reunion set.  Have local merchants sponsor special events like the naming of king and queen of the People Prom, cocktail hour, and after-prom events.   Fees, sponsorships, and donations earn significantly.

Tree Planting

In an approved area, plant seedlings are sold to donors.  Purchase seedlings at wholesale and offer them to supporters at premium pricing.  An environmentally responsible method of fundraising.

Go Virtual

The digital age has opened the world to your fundraising efforts.  Several tried and true fundraising efforts have gone virtual.  For instance:

--A virtual bake sale has a modern flair.  Post a bake sale menu that interested parties can browse.  As their donations come in, your bakers will ship them the goods.   The menu itself should have the bake sale classics, but rule out or alter any items that won’t ship well.  The virtual bake sale can be ongoing too if your bakers agree.

--In a virtual foot race, everything stays the same except the racecourse.  Participants are still encouraged to crowdfund ahead of time and secure pledges. Racers still pay a registration fee and get event t-shirts (mailed, instead of picking up). Competitors cover the same distance. It just happens in dozens of parts of the country.  After they have gone the distance, runners report their times. Runners are held to an honor system for telling the truth about their race times.

Participants are still encouraged to crowdfund ahead of time and secure pledges. Racers still pay a registration fee and get event t-shirts (mailed, instead of picking up). Competitors cover the same distance. It just happens in dozens of parts of the country.

After they have gone the distance, runners report their times. Runners are held to an honor system for telling the truth about their race times.

Encourage nearby racers to run together to help foster communities of support in areas outside of your organization’s reach. Fundraising events bring like-minded people together. Strive for the bonding experience no matter the event, virtual ones included.

Victory Gardens

In bygone times Victory Gardens were patriotic demonstrations.  Now, a Victory Garden is tended by teammates who farm donated land planting edibles, as ordered by donors who sponsor designated plots and are entitled to its harvest or donate proceeds of retail sale.