Fundraisers may seem daunting, but it’s likely essential for your team. Anthony Stone has some advice to get you started.

Sports are not free and most team fees only cover the uniform, referees and facility rentals. The majority of youth coaches are either volunteers or recipients of a very small stipend, which means they face the challenge of fundraising to help with various team expenses such as travel, equipment, uniforms, trophies and an awards banquet at the end of the year.

There are so many fundraising options that selecting a process can seem daunting. What you decide to do should depend on what age level you coach.

I recommend youth coaches stick with catalog sales. Here are some I’ve used over the years:

  • Soy candles
  • Food items (pies, candy bars, cookie dough, popcorn, etc.)
  • Sport cups
  • Discount cards to local restaurants
  • Restaurant gift certificates
  • Local minor league sports team (sell tickets at a discounted price and keep the difference)

These options are also available to coaches of older athletes, but don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Here are some ideas for middle and high school athletes:

  • Breakfast (such as a pancake fundraiser)
  • Car wash
  • Challenge or team relay (have friends and family sponsor players to win a basketball shootout or score the most goals in soccer)
  • Restaurant meal, during which the team serves the food
  • Lawn mowing
  • Team spirit apparel
  • Cookout

Consider these final tips as you select a fundraiser:

  • Make sure the company you choose is legitimate.
  • Pick something that fits the age group you coach and what their families like.  
  • Avoid events where you have to buy everything in advance—always look for something you sell before ordering.  
  • Keep it local. Families love to support local vendors.
  • Ask parents for input before selecting a company. You never know what they have connections with or how much they’re willing to help.
  • Keep it as simple as possible.
  • Check with your city or county if you need any special permits or licenses before hosting certain events.
  • Give yourself plenty of time.
  • Have a goal and explain to the team and their families what they’re raising money for.

Be creative or use a tried and true way to fundraise—the possibilities are endless. Please share your fundraising ideas and tips with me through my website, or via Twitter or Facebook with the hashtag #HudlTeamFundraising.

Anthony Stone is a physical education teacher at Gregory Elementary School and quarterbacks coach at Boylan High School in Rockford, Ill.  He is also the defensive coordinator and assistant head coach for the Women’s Australian National Outback 2017 Team & writes blogs for Firstdown Playbook.

In July 2016, he was named to the Hudl 100 list. He has presented at IAPHERD, the top physical education convention in Illinois, on how to get students moving with his Games Galore presentations. He has also presented at the Chicago Glazier Clinics on quarterbacks & special teams. He was the defensive coordinator for the 2010 U.S. Women’s National Tackle Football Team, winners of the IFAF Women’s World Championship in which Team USA did not allow a point in three games with an overall score of 201-0. Stone has coached in the CIFL and the IWFL Leagues as well as Beloit College (linebackers/special teams coordinator) and Rockford University (quarterbacks/wide receivers).

Stone has also coached football at the youth, middle school and high school level. He will be putting on fundamental youth football camps around the world in 2017. Please contact him to bring his “Back to the Basics Youth Football Camp” to a city near you.

Follow him on Twitter @Coach_Stone_MT.