Because 80% of youth sports leagues fall between $10,000 and $50,000 short in their budgets each year, the vast majority of leagues have to raise money. Here’s the math. There are at least 41,000 youth leagues in North America’s 21 top team sports. We know the average league serves about 820 players, or a total of 33,000,000 kids, involving about 2,200,000 coaches (often, just parents whose coaching experience is limited to seeing Will Ferrell’s crazy soccer coach in Kicking and Screaming or Billy Bob Thornton’s lovable wino Bad News Bears). We know that 80% of youth leagues run annual deficits of $1,000 to $50,000, for a total deficit of $1,230,000,000. That’s one-point-two-billion dollars. A big hole. It amounts to $37 per kid.
The problem is that most leagues cannot raise their per-player prices $37 without endangering participation. So they have to fundraise. But that brings us back to the ugly fact we started with: nobody in youth sports likes fundraising.
The worst part about fundraising is that what most youth leagues do is very inefficient. Many ask parents to use a coupon when they go buy shoes at Dick’s, which nets you a $5 check, (which you will forget to deposit). Or run a banquet, which after costs might net 20%. Or freeze your butt off standing in front of Dunkin’ Donuts with a coffee can to bring in $93.50, (mostly in quarters and dimes). Or run a bake sale that takes 19 people 3 weeks to organize to raise $85, (and get stuck with 14 pounds of leftover brownies).
What you need is assistance. Or, more exactly, assisted fundraising. Assisted fundraising means a sure-fire, professionally-run, easy way for your league or club to raise $30,000 or $50,000 to keep your league’s player fees low and scholarships in place, or cover team travel or new equipment.
Here’s a little-known fact that makes youth sports fundraising even harder than regular non-profit fundraising: an increasing number of leagues, clubs, teams, and tournaments are for-profit organizations.
That means that non-profit fundraising tools and systems do not work for you. They can only handle donations to registered non-profits. Today, about 35% of youth leagues, clubs and tournaments are NOT registered non-profit 501(c)3 organizations. In 4 years, by 2020, that might be 50%. Mixing for-profit and non-profit beneficiaries makes youth sports fundraising a giant challenge.
And while you want professional-level service, you don’t want to pay anything up-front, you want to keep the cost under 15% of what you raise, and you don’t want to spend much time or effort to get it done. Non-profit watchdog groups such as Charity Navigator have long set 15% as the ideal upper limit of fundraising costs. High-profile charities such as Wounded Warriors have taken heat for their fundraising costs of 60% or more. But you don’t want any guff, only glory. So the cost has to be under 15%.
So the folks at LeagueNetwork.com and League Network Magazine are offering a new service, Assisted Fundraising™. It is now scheduling league and tournament Assisted Fundraising™ campaigns to start January, 2017. It charges nothing up-front and it charges amount to a few percentage points on the funds raised.
After all, while failure is an orphan, success has many fathers and mothers. And when the fundraising works, you want everyone to know it was you who did it (even though you didn’t have to do much work…nobody needs to know that part). And that’s where League Network Magazine and LeagueNetwork.com comes in, featuring league and team and tournament manager success stories.
You can see videos on how this new Assisted Fundraising™ for youth sports league leaders works online at www.LeagueNetwork.com/grow. There you can also complete a form to schedule your Assisted Fundraising™ campaign for early next year. Campaigns are short and sweet, only a couple weeks. And they involve no selling—League Network Assisted Fundraising™ coaches run your campaign online for you, and funds go direct to your league’s account.