At this point on the Roadmap to Success, we’re looking pretty good. We understand what we are going to do. We have our club, leagues, and teams configured in HQ. Now, we have to start working on the most critical function of any organization. We need to start raising money. Oh, boy!
When I first joined our local hockey association board, I was assigned to work on our sponsorships and fundraising program. Probably due to my work at U.S. Pond Hockey Championships; even though it wasn’t apples to apples, if that’s what they needed, that’s what I would do. Very quickly, I learned that previous record keeping in this area was a clown show at best. You know, one of those, “my files are corrupted, and the computer died last night. Not kidding.” kind of conversations. A grown adult was telling me this no more than 20 minutes before my nine-year-old used the same line about homework. It’s going to happen, so if we’re going to be successful, we’re going to do things differently.
You’ve probably seen the ads or read the articles about what I did. No need to go through them again in this article (I do suggest you read that article though,) but here are the highlights and tips to make sure fundraising and sponsorships are a success for you.
Know what you’re doing
Thanks, Captain Obvious. But, knowing the difference between sponsorships, fundraising, and advertising is essential, and you should build a separate strategy for each of them.
Sponsorships: [BEST but HARD WORK] - Connect with local businesses who want to support your programs. In exchange for aid, they get benefits. Generally, these are local businesses or franchises who want to be good community citizens. They usually don’t ask for metrics. Treat them well.
Fundraising: [GOOD but TIME-CONSUMING] - Look, there are some excellent fundraising programs out there. Most involve selling a product. Do your research. Look at some programs like Amazon Smile or SnapRaise.
Advertising: [OK but HARD TO BE SUCCESSFUL] - Putting ads on your website to monetize the traffic: easy. However, getting enough traffic to make it worthwhile: insanely difficult. It takes particular brands and programs that publish data (such as stats and scores) to monetize at a volume that moves the needle. It’s hard. Not impossible, but hard.
Notice a theme here? Some programs work to raise money, but they tricky, time-consuming, and require hard work. I'm just being honest, but you can do it!
Assign someone to manage your sponsorship program. Give that person access to the resources in SportsEngine HQ. The sponsorship builder, design center, and invoicing were critical to my past success, and no doubt will be a part of yours as well.