By Dan Guttenplan, FNF Coaches Managing Editor
Most coaches think of fundraising as a necessary evil. Although many of us don’t have the training to run a fundraiser, we can find companies to help. Fundraising revenue can help us improve the product on the field, update existing technology, and make the game safer for our players.
Mark Nolan is like most coaches when it comes to fundraising. The Trabuco Hills High (Calif.) coach wants it to be quick and easy.
He’s done the golf tournaments, the lift-a-thons and the year-long fundraising efforts, and he’s never felt completely comfortable walking around with his hand out.
“So many fundraisers are labor-intensive, and you have to rely on coaches and parents to put it on,” Nolan said.
Nolan found a new fundraiser last spring, and it fit the bill of being quick and easy. Trabuco Hills raised about $30,000 with an Hour-A-Thon online fundraising effort. Ninety percent of the fundraiser took place in one hour’s time with players taking responsibility for their own efforts.
During the hour-long fundraising event, each player sent a text message to 20 potential donors, and then followed up with a phone call. This level of interpersonal contact has been documented to garner comparatively more donors than other methods of online fundraising where donors are encouraged by email to make a donation.
The only work done prior to the hour-long campaign is each player’s drafting of a contact sheet with 20 phone numbers. The online fundraiser also remains open for a week after the hour-long campaign, and players follow up with one more text and phone call to those who haven’t replied before the campaign is closed.
“Coaches can use hundreds of different online campaigns,” said Hour-A-Thon representative Michael Braunstein. “Most of them require 20 email addresses, and you’re waiting 3-4 weeks to get donations. Then it takes 2-3 weeks to get the money. This campaign lasts a week, and we cut the coaches a check right away.”
Hour-A-Thon has representatives all over the country, so it deploys one representative to each high school for the one-hour fundraising session. The representative will help the players with scripts for the text messages, phone calls and thank-you notes. The rep also sets up a digital leaderboard to create a competitive fundraising environment.
“One of our reps takes them through the entire thing,” Braunstein said. “The live leaderboard allows the players to see the money coming in.”
Nolan says his players like Hour-A-Thon because it appeals to their digital sensibilities.
“They’re terrified of making phone calls,” Nolan said. “They text the people on the list, and they get experience making sales calls. That connection is great in terms of job training and practical experience.”
Trabuco Hills will run its second annual Hour-A-Thon this June. Nolan believes his team can increase fundraising revenue by 30 percent.
“You just want to be able to raise money and not have it be an albatross or ball and chain,” Nolan said. “Fundraising is something no coach wants to do, but it’s a necessary part of the job.”
Fundraise with Hour-A-Thon
For more information on Hour-A-Thon, visit www.hour-a-thon.com or call 1-800-484-0423. Hour-A-Thon funds are collected within an hour and made available to the team within five days.
“With spring football and the end of the school year coming, schedule Hour-A-Thon now. Use one day of spring practice, and have the money before the summer starts so you can spend it in the fall.” – Hour-A-Thon representative Michael Braunstein