Printer Friendly

State your (fund-raising) business.

Many scholastic and collegiate sports programs have been living on shoe-string budget for years. Now, in the face of a recession, being financially prudent is at an all-time high.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Not only do the increased costs on uniforms, equipment, and insurances keep athletic administrators and coaches up at night, but the rising costs of fuel will impact travel and compound the need to generate much-needed income in an uncertain economic climate.

Questions abound as athletic teams struggle to stay competitive on and off the field.

That being said, we asked an esteemed panel of fund-raising gurus to assess the marketplace affecting the nation's scholastic sports programs.

Jeff Ellenberger President Dutch Mill Bulbs

What is the current state of the fund-raising business as it pertains to high school sports programs?

Fund-raising plays an increasingly important role in supporting high school sport programs. In many cases, schools have opted to divert funds earmarked for extracurricular activities to supplement rising energy and benefit costs. Whether the need is to offset the purchase of new uniforms and equipment, transportation costs, or coaching fees, fund-raising is instrumental in assisting teams and booster clubs meet their financial needs.

How are fund-raising companies, such as your, enabling athletic departments to cope with budget shortfalls?

Since its inception in 1960, Dutch Mill Bulbs has recognized the importance of fund-raising. Our mission is to help our costumers exceed their fund-raising expectations by providing a popular, affordable, and quality product. Our flower bulbs are economically priced and easy to sell everybody loves flowers, and they're guaranteed. There's absolutely no risk! Our fall and spring programs are simple to administrate. Plus, the team earns at least 50% of the profit.

What new initiatives has your company introduced to help schools achieve monetary goals?

We continue to fine tune not only the types of bulbs we offer in the fall and spring, but also the programs themselves. Customer feedback is very important. Free shipping and free sales brochures (no hidden costs) put maximum dollars in the team's treasury. Discounts for payment with order allow profits to exceed the guaranteed and initiative, various, prizes, the team can opt for a cash rebate to increase their bottom line.

Where is the fund-raising business going? What's on the horizon?

The fund-raising business continuosly evolves. As the need to supplement budgets increases, so does the need to successfully fund-raise. The diversity of products from which to choose will continue to grow and change. Non-food items will gain popularity as our increasingly health conscious society looks beyond the tradi tional food-fund-raisers (candy, cookie dough, pizza, and pastry products).

Environmental consciousness will boost the popularity of "green fund raising"--items such as flower bulbs and plants. Product cost and economic conditions will gain in importance as major considerations when selecting a fund-raiser. When money is tight, sales of affordable products have broader customer appeal and generate higher sales (higher profits) than sales of more expensive items.

Tom Coughlin

Sports Marketing Manager Daktronics

What is the current state of the fund-raising business as it pertains to high school sports programs?

The need is growing across the board and an absolute necessity in many cases. In addition to, or instead of traddtional team fund-raisers, advertising and corporate sponsorship has quickly become the central piece to generating revenue for programs. Another critical element is time and school staffs don't have it. A marketing program takes time to execute and that's where we come in.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

How are fund-raising companies, such as yours, enabling athletic department to cope with budget shortfalls?

Daktronics Sports Marketing brings a comprehensive programs to schools that is, really, like a collegiate or pro-sports market program. We customize our service to fir the needs and objectives of the school we're working with. With our program, marketing, and advertising is not seen as just a donation. It's an investment, by the corporate partner, with an expected return on objectives. This builds value and leads to higher long term revenue.

What new initiatives has your company introduced to help schools achieve monetary goals?

Clearly, our Video boards and other LED displays bring the ability to greatly enhance the fan's experience. It also gives us the ability to create advertising and sponsorship inventory just like the college, university, and professional teams. It brings tremendous excitement and value to the corporate partner. It gives them multiple ways to not only brand and create association with school, but also gives call-to-action and activation to their marketing plan.

Where is the fund-raising business going? What on the horizon?

From DSM's perspective, it's continually building on our work of providing solutions for schools. The only way that gets done is to provide marketing and advertising solutions for the businesses in the community and region. With the right marketing plan in place, it can eliminate the need for the types of fund-raising programs that sometimes fall into the kids' hands to do. As parent of a high school student athlete, I see this as a good thing.

Lyle Black

President Varsity Gold

What is the current state of the fund-raising business as it pertains to high school sports programs?

More than ever, fund-raising is critical to high school sports because costs are rising even as school athletic budgets are shrinking or disppearing entirely. For a team to compete at a high level, it must have funding for equipment, a coaching staff, transportation and more. Yet many school districts aren't in position to provide teams with even the basic needs these days. That's what makes fund-raising especially important--it is no longer a luxury; it has become a necessity. As a result, the fund-raising business has exploded, as people jump on board to take advantage of the growing need among schools.

It's important for schools to be careful when choosing their fund-raising partner. There are a lot of startups out there offering schools fund-raising programs that, on the surface, appear to deliver high-profit numbers. In reality, they don't provide the partnership schools need to succeed in their fund-raising. One way you can be sure you'll get the results you want is to work with a fund-raising company that makes money only if you do. It's a partnership, and you shouldn't be asked to pay for products until your team has sold them.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

How are fund-raising companies, such as yours, enabling athletic departments to cope with budget shortfalls?

Varsity Gold products drive repeat business from year to year, which is crucial to a school team's long-term success, especially when you consider the rising cost of equipment. The quality and value of the fund-raising product a team sells this year will determine whether consumers are willing to buy it next year.

We know coaches have limited time and resources, especially with budget cuts. Varsity Gold, through an exclusive network of more than 200 local fund-raising consultants, provides the day-to-day support and fund-raising expertise that coaches need, and we offer products that provide value and wide consumer appeal. We're bringing out new products that give consumers what we know they want, based on our market and industry research. As a result, teams often raise $25-30k in a single fund-raiser, in less time and with less effort by the coaches and players.

What new initiatives has your company introduced to help schools achieve monetary goals?

We recently introduced a major upgrade to our discount Varsity Gold [R] Gold Card [TM], which includes premium features not available on any other card. Better packaging makes it easier to sell the cards and our national presence has enabled us to negotiate valuable deals with national brands that provide significant value. Buyers can register their card online to access discounts at 150,000 locations nationwide. That kind of value really drives sales, enabling teams to reach their monetary goals.

Athletic teams reach their goals by giving consumers the products they want. In a recent survey of more than 2,000 buyers of the Gold Card, two-thirds rated the value of our card at seven or greater on a scale of one to 10, and 82 percent are likely or extremely likely to purchase again next year. The community needs to see real value, especially if they're going to buy the product year after year.

Where is the fund-raising business going? What's on the horizon?

While most coaches would probably love to see fund-raising disappear altogether, in reality it is going to become increasingly more important. Knowing mat, coaches are best served by working with an innovative fund-raising company that will partner with then for the long term.

Coaches and ADs need to think about the "staying power" of their fund-raising program--and their fund-raising partner. They need a product that virtually sells itself and a program that practically runs itself. That's the result of research, product innovation and a commitment to service. It's the result of working with a company that offers the strength of a national presence, combined with day-to-day service provided by local reps.

Jeff Hughes

Director of New Business Spartan Athletes

What is the current state of the fund-raising business as it pertains to high school sports programs?

As prices for everything continue to go up, budgets for athletics programs get cut back and schools have to find creative ways to fund their activities. One program in California that we helped was considering eliminating freshman sports to help with budget shortfalls. More and more, schools are charging to also help with the shortfalls.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

How are fund-raising companies, such as yours enabling athletic departments to cope with budget shortfalls?

Our company provides a fund-raising vehicle for athletic departments to offer a true value to donors in exchange for their sponsorship dollars, we don't just ask for donations. There are many programs out there that give donors a good value, however the ImpactSportsFundraising.com program provides athletic departments and their donors access to quality Nike products at significantly reduced prices.

What new initiatives has your company introduced to help schools achieve monetary goals?

The Impact Sports Elite Card is a new, exciting, and unique fund-raising program. Because it is sports-based, this product is the perfect fit for the high school, college or even competitive club athletic organizations. Our product is an access card to an exclusive website filled with Nike apparel, shoes, equipment, college licensed gear and much more at prices between 30% and 60% off retail price.

The card is sold for $20 to donors and our company returns $12 to the organization for every card sold. At 60% profit, our program offers one of the higher returns back to the organization for their efforts.

Where is the fund-raising business going? What's on the horizon?

Fund-raising is going to be a necessary function to maintain the level and quality of athletic programs across the country. Everyone must fund-raise in today's environment, so the market is saturated with traditional fund-raisers. We believe new fund-raising programs must offer something unique such as our program, which can not be found anywhere else. We also believe that creative, fresh ideas much like our Impact Sports Elite Card are necessary to give donors a true value for their sponsorship.

Pete Bryden

Associate Director ESPN The Magazine Fund-Raising Program/ESPN Coaches Fund-Raising Program

What is the current state of the fund-raising business as it pertains to high school sports programs?

It seems like high school budgets are continuing to be cut in all areas. Many AD's and coaches have told me that this is the worst year ever for funding. Every sports program has several challenges these days: from outdated equipment, to paying for travel for games and more. Coaches are left with the decisions on what fund-raising if any that they choose to run to enhance their particular sport. Many coaches choose not to run any fundraising programs because of their hectic schedule or they do not have someone to run it for them.

How are fund-raising companies, such as yours, enabling athletic departments to cope with budget shortfalls?

Our new program this fall is simple and easy: Teams sell 2-year subscriptions of ESPN The Magazine for $40 and they keep $30 or 75% from every subscription sold. New and renewal orders are great sources of revenue. It's a great win-win situation for sports team to partner with ESPN, the worldwide leader in sports.

What new initiatives has your company introduced to help schools achieve monetary goals?

The ESPN Coaches Fund-raising Program allows teams to keep 75% of all money collected!

Where is the fund-raising business going? What's on the horizon?

With all the economic and environmental issues the last few years, every fund-raising program is effected and they are continuing to reinvent themselves to help the kids. At ESPN, we are all about helping the student athlete excel on the field and in the classroom.

Sam Fowler

Director of Fundraising Sales Krispy Kreme Doughnut Corporation

What is the current state of the fund-raising business as it pertains to high school sports programs?

From our view and feedback from customers, high school sports programs generally continue to be under-funded and in need of additional fund-raising efforts especially in some locations.

How are fund-raising companies, such as yours, enabling athletic departments to cope with budget shortfalls?

Krispy Kreme has been providing fund-raising opportunities to schools and sports teams for over 50 years in many of our markets.

What new initiatives has your company introduced to help schools achieve monetary goals?

Over the past few years, we have added a few new products such as our fund-raising certificates and partnership cards, as well as our signature coffee to give a little more variety and flexibility to our program. In addition Krispy Kreme has always tried to maintain a pricing schedule that allows for 50% or more profit on our doughnuts.

Where is the fund-raising business going? What's on the horizon?

We feel that the fund-raising business will continue to play a necessary role in providing the opportunity for sports organizations to reach their goals through their own efforts in fund-raising. Like all players in this industry, we have an obligation to provide a high quality product that is rea- sonably priced and that allows for good profit.

Gregg Nelson

Senior Market Manager Wenger Corp./Gear Boss

What is the current state of the fund-raising business as it pertains to high school sports programs?

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

High school budgets are tight, particularly for extra-curricular activities like athletics and the arts. This makes the revenue generated from fund-raising efforts increasingly important. The most successful programs tackle this issue like professional teams; they sell their brand. A powerful brand has a consistent look and color scheme across all school teams and programs.

How are fund-raising companies, such as yours, enabling athletic departments to cope with budget shortfalls?

Our solution addresses fund-raising efforts that focus on wearable logo gear or branded souvenirs, rather than non-branded items like wrapping paper or pizza. Sales of branded items feed a self-supporting cycle, raising funds and visibility, fueling further sales, and a growing sense of community spirit. We recommend schools keep their branded inventory manageable and focus on proven winners like hats, t-shirts, and mugs.

What new initiatives has your company introduced to help schools achieve monetary goals?

We developed our Mobile Kiosk to help schools improve the visibility and success of their merchandising and fund-raising efforts. It's a self-contained merchandising cart that can be easily wheeled to indoor/outdoor games, pep rallies, and other venues. Customers are finding that it significantly outsells traditional options.

During storage and transport, the Mobile Kiosk keeps inventory safe and secure with only one pad-lock. Panels easily open to create nearly 40 square feet of vertical display space. Removable bins help organize merchandise and offer flexibility for sharing among different groups.

Where is the fund-raising business going? What's on the horizon?

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

There is more competition for fund-raising dollars today, as more organizations need to tap additional revenue streams during challenging economic times. The most successful programs will be those that cost-effectively target customers and create turnkey volunteer opportunities that are easily managed with only minimal involvement of paid staff.

When boosters and programs cooperate, they can be selling something, somewhere every day: Student sales in the cafeteria during lunch, parent sales at conferences, concerts and athletic events, and community sales via shelf space at local businesses. A full-court press like this will dramatically increase revenues.
COPYRIGHT 2008 Scholastic, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2008 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:FACILITY FOCUS
Author:Newell, Kevin
Publication:Coach and Athletic Director
Date:Aug 1, 2008
Words:2729
Previous Article:Redefining greatness.
Next Article:Establishing an academic game plan for classroom success.
Topics:


Related Articles
Fundraising costs increased modestly in transition: Struggles with SOP-98-2 still evident. (NPT 100).
Let ethics be your fundraising guide: simply raising money is not enough--ethical treatment of donors and funds is critical to an effective...
Non-profits need boards with realistic expectations, fund-raisers say. (Non-Profit Sector).
Tri-State to close: United Way refocusing fundraising operations.
Auction firms pair-up to deliver broader service.
Obama has mouse power.
Resource directory.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2020 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters