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by: Bob Howdeshell
High School Baseball Web

Usually in the winter months we get questions on the message boards about fundraising for high school baseball programs. The following article puts together some of the great ideas by our readers.

You can go out and sell candy bars .... yeah right, they usually all end up here and I buy them, and of course eat them as well. Or you can be creative and make real money for your baseball program. Here are just a few ideas.

  • Concession Stand
    I know you already have a concession stand. The real question is ..... are you getting the maximum return on the effort involved?

    Here in the south many high school baseball groups actually serve a meal in their concession stand. For example a hot dog or hamburger, bag of chips and a drink for $5.00. As McDonalds will tell you .... there is more profit in a combo meal. But the better stands serve a real meal! Pinto beans, cornbread, a drink and a slice of home-made cake for $5.00 - $6.00. Maybe chili at an early season game when it is still cool. I have seen stands that serve homemade bar-b-que. So many ways to be creative.

    One of the most important ingredients for any concession stand is to buy economically. This is where smart purchases at Sam's Club, Costco, etc. can be a real profit making difference.

    Here are a few more ideas that I have seen that add value to your stand. A bag of microwave popcorn for $1.00. Cheesesticks ... all you need is someone's long forgotten "Fry Daddy." Nachos with all the fixings .... cheese, salsa, onions, peppers, sour cream, etc.

    No items will sell better than the hot dogs (and/or brauts) and hamburgers. The best idea is to have a grill outside.... allow the smell of the food to bring the customers to you. And as for a boiled hot dog .... personal opinion is that they should be illegal in all 50 states! If a grill is not an option I have seen stands that use a George Foreman grill.

    For more ideas on concession stands see the article below:
    Concession Stands

  • Program Ads
    In our program this item was our second largest fund raiser. Each year we averaged between $9,000 and $11,000 in ad sales for the baseball team's program.

    Too many programs make it the player's responsibility to sell the ads. While I agree this is a good life lesson it usually results in a failed campaign. The parents and yes, the coaches should be active in the advertising sales.

    Examples of ad costs are as follows:
    $100.00 for a full page ad
    $50.00 for a 1/2 page ad
    $25.00 for a 1/4 page ad

    Don't forget Mom and Dad and the Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles that would all like to buy an ad and wish "Johnny" a successful season.

    Too many high school groups get bogged down in the printing costs of a program and spend any possible profits at the printer. With today's easy to use desktop publishing programs most team's have a parent or someone at the school that put together a program for very little cost.

    One rule of thumb that we always used ..... If the team purchased items from a vendor and that vendor did not purchase a full page ad the next year we found a new source for that item/product.

  • Outfield Fence Signs
    At some schools these are backstop signs and I have even seen the back wall of the dugouts used for signs. No matter which way you choose to go these can be a good source of annual revenue.

    Costs for these vary from school to school, and one geographic area to another. Here is the idea .... You sell the first sign for a initial cost, let's say $250.00. Each year after that you sell a renewal. Here's one of the variables. Some programs sell the renewal for the same price as the original, others reduce the cost by 1/2 or so. It all depends on what your market will bear.

    Many schools are now using the heavy vinyl banners for wall and fence signs, instead of the old trusty painted plywood. The vinyl signs last longer and can be taken down and stored in the off-season. Always shop around for the best price on these banners. You will find that the cost can vary greatly from shop to shop. One other idea is to ask the sign shop if they would consider trading some of the work for a free banner advertising their business.

  • 100 Inning Games
    These have been around for a while, as a source of revenue, for baseball programs. I am always surprised when I mention them to folks and they have not heard of them.

    Again the player's should be involved in this process but if solicitation of pledges is left up to only the player's efforts the event will be under-utilized. Parents and coaches should be the main sales force here.

    The premise of a 100 inning game is much like a "walk-a-thon." An individual or company pledges an amount per inning. For example 25 cents per inning or $25.00 for all 100 innings.

    One element that is always up for debate .... does the team actually play the game or not? I have seen it done both ways. I know of a program that plays their game in the gymnasium (obviously a northern team). They start on Saturday morning and play continuously until all 100 innings are complete. This program makes the event a "happening." They set-up concessions, invite the local television and newspaper media and even invite local press celebrities to take part.

  • Car Wash
    I know, I know .... a car wash .... "sigh." They are dependent upon weather and timing is the key to one being successful. However a good car wash can be the source of $500.00 in just one day. If you are fortunate much more.

    Personal experience has been that asking for a donation will make more money than those that specify a set amount.

  • Yard Sales
    First you find a church or business that will agree to let you use their parking lot for a Saturday. Preferably the location is on a busy street. If the school is located in a well traveled area this is fine as well. Location location location.

    Next you give all of the families on the team plenty of time to gather up all the "treasures" that they have accumulated around the house.

    Run an ad in the local newspaper (these are usually free or very inexpensive for groups). Publish both a date and a rain date for the sale.

    Don't forget tables and chairs .... this is where a church or the school can be helpful by loaning some to the team.

    If the weather cooperates and if you have the right kind of junk a yard sale can raise a surprising amount of money

  • Golf Tournaments
    These can be a mixed blessing and do take a good amount of work to set-up and coordinate. If you have a parent or coach that is familiar with these it is always a good idea to follow their lead.

    4 person swat format with a per team entry fee is the standard way of doing these. Focus on the business community

    Example of the format:
    18 teams X $200.00 = $3,600.00

    The entry fee can vary and usually does, some swat events charge $400 - $1,000 per team. You will need to find out what your market can bear.

    Another revenue source is to sell "hole sponsorships." These typically run between $25.00 and $100.00 dollars. Again it depends on your market.

    It is also a good idea to have door prizes, maybe a raffle (if legal in your area) etc. Golf events are also dependent upon the weather and competition by other groups. It seems like everyone is having a fund-raising golf tournament in the spring. But the successful events can raise $1,000 or even much more.

  • Spaghetti / Chili Supper
    It doesn't matter whether it is spaghetti, chili or a pancake breakfast, just something that can be made in large quantities, easily.

    Many programs use the school dining area (lunchroom), some use a church social hall and on occasion a restaurant that does not serve breakfast will help with a pancake event.

    These events can be a nice source of revenue with a realatively small amount of work. One nice touch that I have seen is to have the players actually serving the meals to the guests / contributors. No standing in line for folks that care enough to come out and help our team.

    Don't forget a large jar marked "Donations" prominently placed for that spare $20.00 bill! You might be pleasantly surprised.

  • ESPN (the magazine)
    Many high school athletic programs have had good success in selling subscriptions to this publication.

    One of the nice features is that the program usually gets about 75% of the sales. The magazine is counting on the subscription renewal.

    This program may not be one that can be run effectively every year and may have better results every other year or season. Fund raising totals of $2,000.00 are not uncommon with this promotion.

    For more information contact ESPN The Magazine's fund-raising program's general mailbox at: (212) 515-1180.

  • Readers Digest
    eFundraising.com, a subsidiary of Readers Digest offers several different ways to raise money for groups. From traditional candy, to scratch cards and gift brochures to magazines.

    While I do not have a personal experience with this source I have been told that good results can be achieved with a little work.
    Readers Digest Fundraising

These are just a few ideas that are tried and true and can work well for a high school baseball program. There are countless others. If you have a suggestion post it in the "General Items" section of the Message Boards

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