Booster-Clubs

Booster Clubs: Raising Funds to Buy New Bleachers

Having good, comfortable bleachers for spectators is important for any sports organization. It is hard to show your team spirit if you are more focused on what you are sitting on than the game. Like you, most parents are happy to support their kids’ sports teams, but often don’t know how to help. As a member of a booster club or parent organization, the key to successful fundraising is to encourage other parents to get involved especially when it involves a large task like how to buy new bleachers.

Parents today are busier than ever before, and getting them to agree to be involved in “just one more thing” is often a near impossibility. With the modern lifestyle moving at the speed it does, it is time to take the fundraising to the parents, instead of trying to get the parents to come to fundraising events. Online fundraising opens doors to reach both busy parents and supporters not local to your team.

Fundraising efforts for equipment can be particularly challenging, but when done right, they have a long lasting positive effect on the team. Evaluate your team’s needs, and any existing resources available, before sitting down to plan your fundraising campaign. Goal setting is imperative, and starts with determining how much money needs to be raised.

What Type of Bleacher System Will Suit Our Needs?

The first thing to look at when considering bleachers is what the spectator’s needs will be. Some sporting events do not require the towering stands found in a football stadium, which are typically priced well above $100k. Moveable bleachers come in varying lengths with anywhere between two and five risers. These kinds of bleachers are ideal for lacrosse or field hockey games, and are used mostly for smaller events or new teams still building a following.

Reasonably priced, multi-row low-rise bleachers can be moved to suit your crowd capacity. Pricing on these portable bleachers can run from a few hundred dollars up to a couple of thousand dollars, so there are options to fit most budgets.

It is very important to make sure the bleacher system you choose follows current laws and safety regulations. Per OSHA standards, anything over 48” will require a guardrail. Regulations can differ by locale, and your salesperson will be able to help you determine what is the best fit for your needs.

How Can A Booster Club Raise the Funds for Bleachers?

Fundraising for bleachers is not as hard as you might think. While old-fashioned fundraisers such as chocolate bar sales and concession sales should not be discounted, there are some more modern ways of generating revenue for larger projects that are worth a look.

  • Crowdfunding: This method of raising money is gaining popularity in many areas: paying off medical bills, starting creative projects, funding scientific research. Someone recently raised $55,000 for potato salad, so anything is possible with some creativity. Why not take advantage of the dozens of crowdfunding sites to help pay for new seating for spectators? Making a fun video always helps to increase support on a crowdfunding platform. This could be a great time to show off your talented cheer team or school mascot. The secret to successful crowdfunding is hype. Rallyme.com is one of the best-known sports crowdfunding sites, and they provide a great tutorial on how to get your fundraiser off on the right foot here.

 Having rewards and stretch goals for the various levels of support is a great way to encourage donors to give as much as they can, while also showing your appreciation for their donation. Rewards could be anything from coupons to the concession stand to tickets for a donor-only event.

  • Host an Auction: Silent auctions have been a popular fundraising event for quite some time, but many parents assume that an auction or Gala is geared only for the wealthier families in the community. Getting people to commit to attending silent auctions proves challenging for some organizations, especially those in working class communities.

Online auctions do not require the overhead or volunteer commitment that traditional events do, and when you start bidding at a very low dollar amount, it encourages those that wouldn’t normally attend an in person event to get involved. The most popular platform for online auctions is still eBay, and their charity auctions for non-profits and Giving Works program are great places to start.

  • Live Stream Your Games for a Fee:
    If school sports are super popular in your area and you have any tech-savvy parents to recruit, consider live streaming your games and charging a small fee to be able to watch. Another viable alternative involves setting up a ‘sustaining membership’ donation system via a website like playonsports.com, and allow only members to see the stream. Some programs find more success with keeping the stream free and available to the community, and instead allow local businesses to purchase advertising space on the livestream feed.

If your organization would like to know more about the types of bleachers available at BSN SPORTS, please contact us. One of our bleacher experts will be happy to help you choose the right option for when you reach your fundraising goal.

Chadd Edlein is the Director of Merchandising at BSN SPORTS. Chadd has been working for the company over 17 years.

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