Raising money for your sports team can be a tall order! Paying for travel, equipment, and other miscellaneous expenses can quickly overshadow the fun of the sport or athletic activity that brought your team together in the first place.
Luckily, there are a lot of great fundraising ideas for sports teams out there. The challenge is finding the fundraising idea that’s right for your team.
To help you get started, we’ve picked our top 30 team fundraising ideas that are perfect for any sport and organized them into five groups for you to browse. Explore team fundraising ideas like:
- Our Favorite Team Fundraising Idea
- Online Team Fundraising Ideas
- Convenient and Easy Team Fundraising Ideas
- Classic Team Fundraising Ideas for All Sports Teams
- Creative and Unique Team Fundraising Ideas
If you’re looking for inspiration, try browsing through each idea to see what catches your eye, or jump to the category that best aligns with the type of fundraisers your team is currently looking for.
Our Favorite Team Fundraising Idea: T-Shirt Fundraisers
Designing custom apparel for your sports team is a surefire way to raise support! T-shirt fundraisers double as both an effective team fundraising idea and a smart way to deepen your team’s relationship with its community. This makes t-shirt fundraising work especially well for school sports teams and community intramural leagues.
Look for a top t-shirt printing site, like Bonfire, that offers flexible options for designing, printing, and selling custom merchandise to your supporters. For instance, Bonfire lets you:
- Accept t-shirt orders and donations through your fundraising pages.
- Sell a variety of t-shirt styles and merchandise like mugs and tote bags.
- Place direct orders of shirts to sell at your games.
- Create an online merch store to house all of the products you’re selling.
Everyone loves a well-designed t-shirt, especially one that shows off their favorite local sports team. Get your community excited and raise more support with custom tees!
Online Team Fundraising Ideas
Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Campaigns
Tangible fundraising events and products tend to yield the best results for sports teams. Even though peer-to-peer fundraising is an online technique, it’s one of the most flexible, customizable, and effective ways to reach your whole community.
Peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns leverage the power of your extended supporter network. Your team members and volunteers create their own fundraising pages through a peer-to-peer fundraising platform and raise funds on the team’s behalf.
This structure makes peer-to-peer fundraising extremely engaging. For instance, it’s easy to create timed fundraising challenges or post rankings of top-earning volunteers to generate friendly competition and keep everyone motivated. To get your campaign started, look into peer-to-peer fundraising best practices and start researching potential platforms to invest in.
These campaigns are also perfect for promoting and hosting major fundraising events! For example, many charity races and walk-a-thons are the grand finale of a longer peer-to-peer fundraising campaign.
If your launch a p2p campaign leading up to something like your annual 5k, you can also design a special edition 5K race shirts to sell alongside their peer-to-peer fundraisers. It’s a great way to promote your campaign and raise money for your event at the same time!
Auctions are a powerhouse strategy in the fundraising world. And the idea that they’re only for major charities with wealthy donors is a misconception. Your team can easily host its own fundraising auction night, making it as casual, fancy, or faux-fancy as you want!
Auctions are above all an experience for your community—a fun night out to enjoy a nice meal, mingle with neighbors, and maybe purchase that perfect auction item.
Your auction can also take place online and be just as engaging. For a virtual auction, your team can host a live stream with live music, entertainment, and all the other fun of in-person auctions. Guests will bid remotely, which can even help drive bidding wars as they can make a new offer within seconds of being outbid rather than needing to circle back to a physical bidding sheet.
If a live or silent auction sounds like a smart idea for your sports team, be sure to explore all your options. Reach out to other local teams, schools, organizations, or businesses that might be interested in partnering for the event.
Then, start building your catalog of donated auction items (maybe even including some of your team’s own memorabilia)! Plus, consider promoting your merchandise with swag bags or offering your custom team shirts for sale.
Online Shopping Fundraisers
Online shopping fundraisers are one of the easiest ways for teams to earn a little extra throughout the year. Essentially, teams will partner with an online shopping program that will provide them access to their app and browser extension. From there, any time someone makes an online purchase at a participating retailer through the app or browser extension, the team will earn a percentage of the sales total.
To launch an online shopping fundraiser, your team will just need to sign up with a shopping fundraising program. The program will then handle all transactions, relationships with retailers, and technical needs. This means your team will just need to promote your fundraiser to see it succeed.
Get the word out about your fundraiser through email, social media, and your team’s website. Be sure to include directions on what an online shopping fundraiser is and how to participate. Chances are that your team’s shopping fundraiser will be the first one many of your supporters join!
Then, throughout the year, send out regular reminders about your fundraiser to get new shoppers to sign up and remind your current supporters to continue shopping through the app and browser extension.
Your team’s supporters can give quickly and conveniently through their phones with text-to-give. Without even needing to visit your donation page, supporters can give to your team through a text.
Here’s a breakdown of how this campaign works:
- Partner with a text-to-give service. To access text-to-give, you’ll need to partner with a text-to-give platform that will provide your nonprofit with a phone number your supporters can send texts to.
- Choose your keyword. Pick a keyword that’s short and easy to remember. For example, BEARS2022 is easier to type than BOSTONBEARSBASKETBALL2022.
- Share your text-to-give number with supporters. To make the most of your text-to-give number, try announcing it and your keyword at your games and fundraising events. When supporters start pulling out their phones to make a donation, others will join in, helping your team earn more.
To keep donations rolling in through text-to-give all year long, add your text-to-give number and keyword to your website. Then, supporters can use their phones to make a donation right then and there.
#GivingTuesday, hosted on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, is a national day of giving in the U.S. Lots of supporters looking for worthwhile organizations to give to will likely make their donations on #GivingTuesday, and your team can earn their support by launching a social media campaign.
Because supporters only have 24 hours to give to the campaign, #GivingTuesday creates a sense of urgency to get donations in quickly. With a trending hashtag, supporters can find information sharing their donation pages, mission statements, and other materials that can influence their decision to give.
To stand out on #GivingTuesday, encourage your team members to share your posts on their own social media accounts, ensure that your donation page is branded and easily shareable, and consider creating specially themed #GivingTuesday merchandise.
Matching Gift Drives
Some of your supporters may be able to give more to your team without actually spending more. How? Matching gift programs! Essentially, if a supporter works for a company with a matching gift program, they can fill out a match request after donating to your team. Then, if their application is approved, their employer will donate to your team too.
To start raising funds through matching gifts, you’ll first need to let your supporters know what matching gifts are. Many donors are eligible for matching gifts but have no idea if their employer has a program. After donating, reach out to supporters and ask them to check if they qualify for a matching gift. If so, ask them to complete their application and thank them for doing so.
You can also set up a matching gift drive for your team by partnering with local businesses. During this drive, the business will promise to match all donations to your team within a certain timeframe.
Many skills can be taught online through virtual classes, including some sports-related ones. While demonstrating exactly how to play a sport may require a more hands-on approach, your team can still raise funds by hosting online classes that teach exercise, fitness, and any other talents your team members want to share.
For example, here are a few types of classes you may be able to offer:
- Morning exercise
To run an online class, you’ll need to create online sign-up forms, set up a virtual meeting schedule, and ensure that your class’ instructor has the right equipment to live stream to attendees.
Viral Video Challenges
If your team has an active social media presence, you can earn donations and get your entire team involved in your fundraiser with a viral video challenge. During a virtual video challenge, participants will record a video of themselves performing some eye-catching activity as part of the challenge, make a donation to your team, then tag their friends and family in their post to encourage them to do the same.
To make your challenge successful, choose a challenge that will get attention while being fun for your participants at the same time. For example, you might ask participants to perform some athletic feat related to your team that’s challenging or do it as quickly as they can. Or, you may ask them to do something attention-grabbing and slightly silly, such as eating multiple saltine crackers at once
Along with tagging friends and family, ask your team members to share links to your donation in the description of their social media pages to attract attention from viewers.
Convenient and Easy Team Fundraising Ideas
Athletic Shoe Drive Fundraiser
There’s a reason why shoe drive fundraisers are among the top school fundraising strategies out there. Kids are constantly outgrowing their shoes!
This team fundraising idea can be particularly effective if your team is school-based or made up of parents. Here’s how shoe drive fundraisers work:
- Your team contacts an athletic shoe drive facilitator to set up a campaign.
- You’ll work together to establish collection goals and a timeframe.
- They’ll ship you collection bags and materials to promote your drive.
- Your team then starts collecting gently worn used and new cleats, sneakers and any other sport-specific shoe.
- Once you reach your goal, either the facilitator picks up the shoes or your team mails them back to the program in a pre-paid bag. Then, your team receives a check!
These fundraising drives are great for school- and community-based groups, and not just because families will have plenty of used shoes. It’s also very easy to promote shoe collections at your other events!
Post about your athletic shoe drive fundraiser on your team’s social media page, then set up a collection bin at your next game.
Team Fundraising Letters
Your teams can create more fundraising appeals and ensure each has a personal touch by recruiting all of your members to come together to help write fundraising letters.
Writing multiple fundraising letters at once can be a chore, but by getting your whole team involved, you can turn it into a bonding experience. Here are a few tips for keeping your team members motivated and ensuring your fundraising letters are high-quality:
- Provide templates. Most of your team members probably won’t know exactly what to put in a fundraising letter off the top of their heads. Gather a few templates for team members or use these as a jumping-off point to create custom templates just for your team.
- Encourage team members to tell their own stories. Fundraising letters are more meaningful if they feel like they’re coming from a specific person. Work with your team members to put their stories about what your team means to them into words. Then, help them share those stories in your fundraising letters.
- Host a letter-writing party. Make writing letters fun by hosting a get-together with snacks, music, and plenty of cards and writing materials. Team members can have fun, write letters, and encourage each other to keep going just like they would in the middle of a game.
After writing your letters, you’ll still need to mail them! Your team can also help with sealing envelopes and placing stamps if they’re feeling it up to after your writing party.
Some fundraisers are known as classics for a reason. Easy, popular fundraisers like car washes are still alive and well today, and people still need to get their cars cleaned! Your team can raise funds and help out by hosting a car wash.
Car washes are simple events that tend to succeed when they’re hosted on sunny days in locations that see a significant amount of traffic, and effectively manage the team members volunteering.
Keep spirits up throughout your car wash by playing music, having plenty of snacks on hand, and scheduling shifts to let team members come and go as best fits their schedules (and to avoid wearing anyone out).
Various holidays like Valentines Day, Mothers Day, and Fathers Day are a prime opportunity to raise funds by setting up eCard sales.
eCards are online cards that are emailed to recipients. They can have custom messages and visuals, and some even play short animations or sounds. To start an eCard fundraiser for your team, design various options for supporters to purchase or allow buyers to create their own cards by choosing elements to put together.
Partner with an eCard service and prepare your website to let supporters easily buy and create their eCards.
If your team has someone skilled in photography or connections to a professional photographer who would be willing to donate their time, you can run a sports photo fundraiser.
For many teams, especially children’s teams, parents will appreciate the opportunity to purchase high-quality photographs of their child posing in their uniform or in action during a game. These items make popular gifts for grandparents, aunts, uncles, and family friends. Plus, a professionally taken photo of your team can easily be a memorable keepsake supporters will want to keep for years to come.
Set up different photo opportunities for buyers to choose from, such as team photos, individual photos, photos of team members with their families, and even action shots from games.
Classic Fundraising Ideas for Sports Teams
Kids’ Summer Sports Camp
Hosting your own sports-themed day camp for kids on summer break is one of our top team fundraising ideas for a few reasons:
- Parents will love the chance to keep their kids busy and active.
- Your summer camp can be as simple or as extensive as you want.
- Your own facilities or a public park are cost-effective settings.
- Custom camp shirts are an additional source of support.
- Your team members are ready-made volunteer coaches and counselors.
All types of local, intramural, and school sports teams rely on kids’ summer camps for annual support! High school athletes often coach younger students in yearly day camps, for instance.
Check with local schools, parks, and recreation programs for more information on forming a partnership to develop and host your camp. Make sure also to research any requirements you’ll need to meet, such as waivers, camp counselor qualifications, and location guidelines.
Depending on your team’s sport or activity, this might be among the easiest team fundraising ideas out there!
Popular activities and subjects for fitness classes include:
- Wellness and exercise
Chances are that your whole team, or at least one member, is well-practiced in one of these activities and would be willing to lead a course to raise funds. Partner with your local gym, park, or community center to reserve a space to hold your fitness classes.
Then, decide if your class will be one-time or part of a multi-week course. Promote your classes to your network of support, making sure to post flyers wherever interested people might see them. Charge a registration fee, then get started sharing your fitness knowledge with the community!
Community potlucks and picnics are another classic fundraising idea for all types of sports teams. This fundraiser can work particularly well for school-based or intramural teams.
Find the perfect place for your gathering, like a local park or your school’s campus (with permission, of course), then start organizing. Potluck events can take a bit of planning, so start early.
Create a sign-up document for all your team members and other registered attendees to list what they’ll bring, and promote it to your whole network. Community-based food events are a perfect way to bring everyone together, but be sure to incorporate fundraising elements.
You could either ask for a flat ticket fee or incorporate competition or cook-off elements into the event for attendees to register for. Even simply gathering the family and friends of your team members for the picnic can provide a support boost for your team through ticket sales and community building. Get creative to develop contests, themes, or games for your potluck picnic, too!
Neighborhood Field Day
Hosting a community field day is a great way to raise money while getting your neighbors more active and interested in your team at the same time!
Approach organizing your fundraising field day as a combination of a summer camp and a fitness class. Partner with a local park to reserve plenty of space, then gather or rent recreational equipment. Brainstorm various activities, classes, games, and events that you can incorporate into your field day.
For example, your team members can each lead a small group of participants during the day’s events, or you could have participants sign up for mini-tournaments.
The best part of a neighborhood or campus field day is that it’s incredibly easy to incorporate other team fundraising ideas. Your field day could be the wrap-up event for your peer-to-peer fundraising campaign, you could host a potluck dinner at the end of the day, or you can sell limited edition field day shirts online leading up to the big day. Get creative to make the most of the day!
Are you looking for a fundraiser that can help you raise money, bring your community together, and get your team members up and moving? If so, consider hosting a walk-a-thon!
Walk-a-thons raise funds through pledges. Before your event, have your participating team members collect pledges from family and friends. These will be donations based on how much your team members are able to walk. For example, one pledge might be for $2 per lap. Then, if that team member walks ten laps, they can collect $20 from that pledger after your event.
To host a walk-a-thon, ensure you have a method for helping participants track how much they’ve walked or run. Also, provide water, snacks, and places to rest if participants need to take a break during the event.
You can also raise funds at the event itself by selling concessions and merchandise.
Do you have a few natural salesmen on your team? If so, consider hosting a product fundraiser and have your team members sell candy bars, cookie dough, and other items and snacks to raise funds for your team.
Product fundraisers have been a fundraising staple for many teams for decades, but you can always add a few twists on the idea. For example, outside of the usual products, your nonprofit can sell:
- Healthy snacks
- Branded t-shirts
- And other merchandise, especially items related to sports!
To ensure your product sale succeeds, partner with a program that will give your team a good deal on products to ensure the majority of funds raised will go to your team, rather than just covering the cost of your order. Additionally, consider what types of items supporters are the most likely to buy and how you can help your team members get out there and sell their products safely.
Your sports team likely has a wider audience than you might assume. Chances are that many of your alumni would be happy to see the sports team they used to play on continue to thrive. You can tap into this network by hosting alumni events to create a community around your team and raise funds at the same time.
These events can range from formal in-person gatherings to virtual events. Here are a few events that could be a hit with your team’s alumni:
- Home game after party
- Pizza lunch
- Trivia night
- Alumni game
To raise funds from your alumni events, sell tickets and provide opportunities for alumni to buy items, especially branded merchandise. For some events, such as a game between your alumni and the current team, you may even be able to sell tickets to the rest of your community.
Creative and Unique Fundraising Ideas for Teams
Food Truck Partnership
Here’s another effective (and very simple) team fundraising idea! Reach out to a local food truck and strike a deal for a percentage fundraising partnership. If your team is based somewhere with few food trucks around, you can partner with a local restaurant instead.
Food trucks have gained massive popularity in recent years, with mobile kitchens serving customers at street fairs, farmers markets, and other public events everywhere. Offer your spectators some new refreshments to enjoy, and raise funds in the process.
These kinds of partnerships are a mainstay in the fundraising world because both organizations benefit. Food trucks, for instance, appreciate the opportunity to find new loyal customers in your team’s regular crowd of spectators. Pizza, tacos, and burgers are all popular classics, but don’t be afraid to find a completely unique partner, too.
Look online for food trucks and restaurants in your area to see all of your options. Then check out their websites and social media to learn more about their menus and which are local favorites. If your team plays at a public park or school campus, remember to check with the management of your game facilities before inviting a food truck or asking a restaurant to cater.
Creating and selling community discount cards or coupon books is a classic fundraising idea for all kinds of groups, schools, and sports teams!
With the right combination of special deals, offers, or coupons, it’s easy to engage your whole community with your discount cards. This is what makes this strategy one of the most effective team fundraising ideas for student and adult groups alike.
There are plenty of services out there that can develop and produce cards for your team to sell, or you could create your own. Start by reaching out to local businesses and asking them to create a special offer for cardholders. Small businesses often like getting involved in these fundraisers since they can very quickly attract tons of new customers. Then, promote your discount cards on your social media and at your games!
Holidays are a prime opportunity for fundraisers, allowing teams like yours to host a variety of seasonal events and activities. For example, from October to December, you can raise funds with:
- Ornament sales. Create ornaments that represent your team. This could be a logo or something related to your sport. For example, a baseball team could create ornaments stylized to look like baseballs, bats, a baseball diamond, and even baseball caps.
- Polar plunge. A polar plunge is an adrenaline-racing event where participants sign up to take a dip in a nearby lake, pond, or slow-moving river. With low temperatures, the experience can be thrilling, but be sure to have supplies on hand to help participants warm up quickly afterwards.
- Haunted house fundraisers. Rent a venue to turn into a haunted house! This could be a barn, house, rec center, or your team’s school. Gather decorations and even get your team to don scary costumes to bring your haunted house to life.
- Decorating services. For holidays like Halloween and Christmas, your team can lend a hand to locals in your community by renting them decorations and setting up their yards to celebrate the holiday. Then, after the day is over, your team will stop by to collect the decorations for easy clean up.
No matter which holiday fundraiser you choose, be sure to prepare in advance so your team is all set to go once the right season rolls around.
Carnivals are a fundraising event that entertains supporters by providing a variety of games, activities, and products to buy. When choosing your carnival’s games and prizes, decide whether you’ll charge to enter your carnival, for each game, have guests buy tickets to determine how many games they can play, or some combination of all three methods.
Along with games, you can also set up concession stands to sell classic carnival treats like cotton candy, hot dogs, popcorn, and more. Plus, carnivals are a great opportunity to sell your branded merchandise or even choose items to give away as prizes.
Face Painting Booth
Does your team have members with a passion for the arts or at least a knack for painting? If so, your team can earn funds by adding a face painting booth to your events and charging guests a few dollars to have animals, footballs, or anything else they can think of painted on their face.
Face painting booths can make a fun addition to other fundraisers hosted by your team like carnivals and field days. Or, you can partner with community events such as festivals and community days to set up your face painting booth.
Besides a few artistic volunteers, to run a face painting booth you’ll need brushes, wash clothes, and skin-safe paint. Have guests choose which design they want from a book of designs or let them get creative and ask for anything they can imagine (as long as it’s appropriate).
One of the big draws of fundraising events—besides the opportunity to support your team, or course—is how people are brought together to enjoy a few hours of fun. Game nights are a fundraising idea that prioritizes fun above all else, letting guests enjoy each other’s company over a few classic games.
Game nights can include a variety of different games, such as trivia nights, bingo nights, or board game nights where groups can bring in their own games or choose from the ones your team provides.
Game nights are also a flexible fundraiser that can be hosted virtually and in person. Of course, if you are taking your game night online, consider the logistics of your game type. For example, will you send trivia teams to separate discussion channels to talk over their answers or ask teams to coordinate communication themselves via a phone call, group chat, or other methods?
Many individuals, businesses, and organizations in your community likely have a few chores that need to get done, such as raking leaves, washing windows, and picking up trash. With their own busy schedules, it may be in their best interest to employ a helpful sports team to take on these tasks for them.
Cleaning service fundraisers have members of your team volunteer to form a cleaning service. In exchange for donations to their team, your volunteers will then perform various tasks for community members around town.
Along with raising funds, cleaning service fundraisers can be a good way to build relationships with businesses and individual members of your community. For example, if your team wants to partner with a local restaurant but doesn’t have any connections with the owners, you might first reach out during a cleaning service campaign. If your team does a good job, the owners might consider your request to cater an upcoming game more favorably.
Challenge-style fundraisers and sports teams go hand-in-hand. By choosing a fundraiser based around your team’s sport, your team members can show off their skills and get community enthusiasts involved, as well. For basketball teams, free-throw challenges are relatively easy to run and can generate a lot of excitement.
This fundraiser pairs well with other fundraising events, too! Gather participants and challenge each to make as many free throws as possible within a given time frame.
To raise funds, charge participants an entry free or have them collect pledges beforehand based on how many free throws they make. Create a bit of friendly competition among participants by giving out prizes to whoever can make the most free throws.
Fundraisers are all about providing unique incentives to get supporters to give, and sometimes that incentive can be as simple as seeing a beloved community figure get pied in the face.
Pie-in-the-face fundraisers are incredibly easy to run. Just assemble a group of volunteers willing to be pied, some pie tins primarily full of whipped cream—both to make the pieing easy on the volunteer and to provide a fun visual—and a method for collecting payments to participate.
There are also variations on this type of event that your team can try. For example, dunk tanks are a popular addition to carnivals and field days. Participants pay a certain amount for a chance to hit a target and dunk whoever is sitting in the hot seat.
Whether you’re part of a school team, community rec league, or other intramural team, your team will find success when you use one of our recommended fundraising ideas.
The key to this sort of fundraising is community engagement! Make sure that any sports team fundraising ideas you explore involve elements that will engage more people than just the family and friends of your teammates. This not only broadens the support you can pull from—it grows your team’s fan base, too!
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