As hockey tryouts approach, every parent is faced with the costs of the expensive sport. Expenses can include registration, ice time, travel and accommodations for tournaments and away games, on-ice gear (helmets, skates, jerseys, sticks, pads, socks, shorts), bags, and off-ice training uniforms. In many cases, hard-working families and single parents have to face the fact that these costs may dictate whether or not their child gets to play. Fortunately, fundraising is an excellent game plan to bring in more money for the team and to help offset expenses.
Fundraising has provided youth with an opportunity to participate in community sports and activities for years. There are two fundamental approaches to fundraising: the first is through corporate or small business sponsorship and support, and the second is through community activities and events.
Company names can be found on jerseys and on the boards and walls at the rinks, showcasing sponsorships from local or corporate businesses that support youth hockey. These sponsorships can be approached at the organizational, team, or parental level. Sponsorships at the organizational level help to cover major costs that can relieve some of the upfront expenses for parents and players. However, teams can take their fundraising further by brainstorming a list of local businesses that might support the team and reaching out with a proposal.
Do not forget to keep supporting companies updated throughout the season and to send a thank you at the end explaining how their contribution has helped. It is important that the company knows that their support is appreciated and worthwhile; this will also help to encourage returning sponsors for the following season. If a company is not willing to provide financial support, they may be able to offer support in other ways such as through donations for raffle items, or donations of their services.
Community Activities & Events
The ideas for community activities and events are endless. They can be effective in generating an income for the team, but also as opportunities for team bonding. Here is a list of ideas and examples:
- Sales: Bake sale, Community garage sale, Lemonade stand, Craft sale
- Sell tickets to dinner events: Spaghetti dinner, Chilli cook-off, Fish bake, Pancake breakfast/dinner
- Game night: Trivia, Bowling, Poker
- Tournaments: Baseball, Golf
- Create a team product to sell: T-shirts, Calendars, Cookbooks
- Intermission activities: 50/50 raffle tickets, “Chuck-a-puck”
- Raffles (ask for product donations from parents and local businesses)
- Car wash (When it’s warm!)
- Bottle/Can drive
Fundraising is most successful when the whole team is involved, including kids, parents, and coaches. Not every parent can dedicate time and not every parent can donate money, but every parent can be involved in some way. There are many roles that can add value to the team, so make sure to offer many options and to be appreciative of any help that can be brought to the table. Here are some ways to get involved:
- Fundraising committee: Parents who can commit to the time involved in planning and organizing fundraising initiatives.
- Sponsorship team: Parents who can reach out to local businesses for support.
- Volunteers: Coaches, parents and players who can volunteer time at fundraising events.
- Financial contributors: Parents who can donate funds.
- Other contributors: Parents who can cook, bake, or donate other resources (ex: soap for the car wash, raffle items, etc.).
Remember to keep the kids involved in every area with some responsibility. After all, it is for them.