By Thomas Rothman, FNF Coaches Contributor
While traditional fundraisers such as bake sales have their merits, it takes an awful lot of cupcakes sold to put dozens of players in uniform, transport them from town to town, pay for staff to instruct and watch over them, and maintain a stadium in which the athletes can play and well-wishers can watch in comfort.
With that in mind, two companies — both partnered with USA Football, the national governing body for amateur football in the United States — provide services for programs looking to diversify revenue streams and break from, or at least reduce reliance on, the monotony of everyday fundraising.
SquadLocker, an online shop-builder, allows teams to design, market, sell, and ship gear. While many schools use SquadLocker’s service simply to facilitate the process of getting gear for its teams, the fundraising options allow the schools to create markups between 5 and 20 percent that the program can pocket as profit.
The ability to create and maintain a marketplace available to parents, friends and fans alike allows for a fundraising system that does not rely on the players and coaches themselves (which would, of course, defeat the purpose of creative fundraising and more closely resemble a membership fee for the athletes).
For example, parents can customize school gear with their child’s name on the back, which is a much easier and more exciting sell than asking for a straightforward donation to the program. High school football won’t have fans buying authentic jerseys, life-size posters or autographed helmets honoring their favorite superstar players, but team gear and merchandise can still be a source of revenue.
Another service, FlipGive, allows players, coachers, faculty, friends, fans or even everyday shoppers with a philanthropic side to help keep a football team on the field. Schools can use FlipGive to create a fundraising campaign funded by “give commerce.”
Rather than receiving a discount, purchasers can buy products from ubiquitous brands such as Nike, Fanatics and even Starbucks from the team’s fundraising page and have a portion of their purchase go towards the fundraiser while the rest goes to the seller. This allows teams to raise funds from everyday purchases rather than asking parents and students to spend money on things they wouldn’t otherwise want to buy.
SquadLocker and FlipGive are just two examples of companies that are helping schools combat the growing cost of meeting growing expectations for football programs in America’s high schools. Many coaches and athletic directors have tired of the bake sale (and perhaps of ironically promoting unhealthy eating in order to fund athletic pursuits) but more and more options are opening up for those willing to look a bit farther down the field.
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