By Dan Guttenplan, FNF Coaches Editor
Brandon Franke didn’t realize how much fundraising his team would need to do to makes ends meet when he started volunteering with the Land O’ Lakes High (Fla.) High football team three years ago. He’s been tasked with finding new creative ways to fundraise during the pandemic.
Franke shared some of those ideas in a recent Q&A with FNF Coaches.
How have you been raising funds during the pandemic?
“We just did a Double Good Popcorn fundraiser. It’s a four-day blitz, and it’s given us a really good return on investment. We had 55 participants, and it netted us $7,100. That’s significant. Normally, when we do fundraisers, I rate them as a success if they net out $1,000, but I like it to be closer to $3,000. This fundraiser was outstanding for us. I’d never heard of it. Supposedly the popcorn is really good. It’s not the bad stuff that you might get other places.”
How does it work?
“As a team leader, you simply download the app on iOS or Android. Create a team. It produces a code. You provide that to all team members. They download the app and enter the code. The great thing about it is it’s 100 percent virtual. It’s done through text messages. You text out a link, and individuals are jumping in and buying what they want.”
So, you don’t have to deal with the money?
“The individual who orders pays for shipping and receiving. I never get involved in the payment or take possession of the product. I don’t have to touch anything. That’s very rare.”
How did you hear about it?
“This is new for us, but it’s not a new product. People tell me they look for this because the popcorn is so good. Our cheerleading team did it first.”
Have you had trouble coming up with fundraising ideas during the pandemic?
“This year, we’ve had success raising money. Four months ago, I was very concerned. Through sponsorships alone, I generally sell about $22,000 a year. That’s field signage, field sponsors, social media sponsors, premier sponsorships. I was anticipating we’d get half of that this year. I thought we’d loose people. What I learned is we have fewer sponsors, but we have people who wrote larger checks because they knew some people wouldn’t be able to do it this year. We’re actually up for sponsorships.”
What’s the secret to getting sponsorships from local businesses and individuals?
“There is no special sauce to anything we do. We invest an enormous amount of hours. Between myself and our Touchdown Club, we invest 700 to 800 hours to fundraising. We’re not doing anything unique. It’s hard work. We come up with creative ideas that earn revenue and promotes local businesses.”
What do you spend so much time doing?
“First, we sell to those individuals. Collect money. Collect artwork. We send proofs or signage programs and websites, social media. Once the items are produced, we hang them in the stadium. We work from January through August to produce everything.”
Do you have any tips for coaches looking to create new fundraisers?
“Whenever we look at a fundraiser, we look for ideas beyond the parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. Those are the people that get hit up over and over again. Try to come up with ideas that bring in other people. The popcorn idea did that.”