In this current economic climate, money is tight. Unemployment is at a generational high and the prices on even the most basic necessities like food and gas, have skyrocketed. With your money buying less and less, supporting your child’s basketball endeavor may seem like an economic impossibility. New uniforms, tournament fees, overnight lodging and travel are predictably more expensive than they were the previous year and with budget cuts becoming the norm, fundraising has become increasingly more important.
Fundraising, as the name implies, is the activity of raising money for a specific cause or event, usually by requesting donations or selling a product or service. Most people probably won’t be willing to open their wallets for you unless they know they are receiving something in exchange for their hard-earned money. The key is to find something you can sell a lot of that is highly profitable. Car washes are a classic choice, but there is a lot of planning and scheduling involved, and you are always at the mercy of Mother Nature. As any of my neighbors could tell you, selling cookies to strangers is a gold mine, but unfortunately, I think the Girl Scouts have that market covered. Many teams however, have found selling t-shirts to be a highly profitable fundraising activity with very little effort. Here’s a couple of things to keep in mind if you decide to go this route:
They’re cheap. The beauty of fundraising with t-shirts is that they’re relatively cheap to buy and customize. You can easily buy a printed shirt for $5 and sell it for $10, doubling your money. Depending on how many your team ends up purchasing up front, some companies will even lower the price per shirt. Buying 144-287 printed shirts from a company like Ares Sportswear, will drive down the cost to $3.88 and if your team continues selling them at the $10 price, they would stand to net over $600.
They are easy to reorder. Once the initial artwork has been set up, most printers can turn reorders around pretty quick. Furthermore, many printers will give you a price break on a reorder since the art is done and the screen is already made. With reordering shirts so cheap and simple, there’s no reason to overbuy on your first order, which leads me to…
Don't overbuy them. I have seen a lot of teams order 200 shirts right off the bat in order to hit a manufacturer’s price break- don’t. If you wind up only selling half of the shirts, you break even- that is the profit you made on the shirts you sold was only enough to pay for the rest of the shirts, leaving you with no money left over to put towards your team’s expenses. Shirts don’t have an expiration date, and you can certainly sell them the following year, but we want to make a “Fast Profit”. Buying only enough shirts that you can sell in the shortest amount of time is the key.
Find your sales team. Once the question of “what to sell” is answered, the next step is deciding on “who” will do the selling. Recruiting the kids on the team to do the selling is the obvious choice. Doing so will increase their confidence while providing them with a sense of responsibility and accomplishment. Many parents will make the argument that simply raising money for the team should be enough motivation for the kids, but I have noticed that the most successful fundraising drives are the ones with a selling contest attached to them. Popular prizes can range anywhere from free t-shirts to gift cards and movie tickets.
In addition to having the kids fundraising, the parents can also help bring in money for the team. Parents can assist the team’s fundraising effort by setting up “sale stations” at games and outside of local grocery stores or even try selling them at work.
Regardless of how your team decides to fundraise, money still makes the world go ‘round. Having a solid fundraising game plan in place might mean the difference between saying “yes” and saying “no” to the next tournament invitation.