Whether it’s tournament registration, new uniforms or just paying for gas in the car, the general consensus is that teams need money! In my experience dodgeballers are usually broke or beyond broke and are scrambling last minute for funds. The last minute scramble usually results in someone, usually the captain, floating a few players who ineveitably show-up to the tourney without the cash to pay him/her back. LOL With a little pre-planning the we can give the captains pockets and ulcer a break.
In the next couple paragraphs I’ll talk about roles in fundraising and also discuss some of the events our team the Arizona Rampage have held or been a part of to raise money. I’ll also talk about the long term results of pre-planning and how this indirectly results in bigger and better tournaments for you to play in and how that helps grow the sport.
The Captain and Co-Captains Role in Fundraising
Fact of the matter is the “fundraising ship” can’t steer itself. Someone has to lead the charge. The Captains Role in fundraising should be to organize the event, the team and the marketing efforts for the fundraising event. The captain should start off with a general email to the team asking for some fundraising ideas and stating what the team is raising money for as well as how much money needs to be raised to reach your goal. Usually you’re lucky if you get one email back from the team, but at the very least it gets people thinking. Next step is call a team meeting at a bar or restaurant. Ideas flow better with beer and food.
At the meeting get to know your team. Find out where everyone works, where they hangout, are they involved in any clubs or associations, do they go to college somewhere, etc. Hell maybe just sit down and pass this article out to your team and have them read it. Why find out this info you ask? People have connections that you don’t have, they work places you don’t work, they have access to things and know people that you’ve never met. Suddenly you’re not alone in mission and you have a list of potential resources to pull off your fundraising effort. Maybe they go to college and they have access to a gym for a tourney, maybe the company they work for is new and would love to advertise at the event and buy some of the supplies you need to pull it off or donate supplies. Maybe you find out you have a potential sponsor and don’t need to raise money at all!
Next step for the Captain is to pick what event you are going to do and form a basic plan as far as what you need to pull it off. Meet/talk to your co-captain or someone on the team you know that has the drive to pull things off.
This leads me to the Co-Captain’s role. The Co-Captain should be the person that nails down the venue for the event and also helps orchestrate the operations the actual day of the event. The captain can’t do it alone. Fundraising is a big effort and if different people have different roles it keeps everyone from burning out early in the process.
One more thing.. be very clear to everyone what the money goes to, why you’re raising it, and the consequences of not raising the money. Also firm up in advance who holds the money raised and who is responsible for using it to pay for everything. My suggestion.. pick one person to hold the money and that same person is responsible for paying it to whomever on-time. Passing the money out to the entire team usually results in everyone spending it on other things and still coming up short down the road.
Picking a Venue
Let’s face it the economy has been rough on a lot of businesses. Everywhere you go to for sponsorship you get the immediate response “not in this economy”. Don’t be discouraged. Instead ask if you can help them out by bringing people to one of their events. With this simple question you’ll see the conversation suddenly change with the venues owner. Suddenly they are more receptive and will actually throw things your way and offer to pay for things you need if you simply “bring people”.
There are two strategies to picking a venue.. You can pick one that really needs your business and is struggling such as a bar or night club or you can pick a place that is packed to the gills with people. Picking a struggling venue you’ll find that you get more of what you need to pull the event off paid for by the venue. They are usually more than willing to offer free food, discounted drinks pay for supplies to pull off the event, etc. if you just bring people, especially during their really slow times. The other type of venue is the place that’s always busy and always packed with people. You’ll find that you get less paid for by them since they don’t need the business, but you’ll also find that you’ll be doing less marketing because the people are coming anyways. So choose a place appropriate to your needs.
Thinking Outside the Box
Do something different! Don’t just throw a plain jane dodgeball tourney. Add a unique half time event or game. Make a custom trophy for the event at your local craft store using gold paint to make it look like it’s worth something. You can even go to a local trophy supply and they will make and sell just the plaque with the name of your event to you for cheap you can stick to it. Pool your resources! What will make this unique and make people want to come to it? Piggy back on events the bar is already holding. If they are having a Pajama Party ask to be a part of it.
Ask for Help
You’ll find you have resources outside your team. Other players are more than willing to help either run the event or ref or blow up balloons or sell jello shots. Just ask around and you’ll find out you have more help than you thought.
Events Rampage Has Held
Absurd Dodgeball Zumba Bash – We chose a local bar called Bogey’s with a patio and fairly enclosed parkinglot. The goal… to throw a parkinglot dodgeball tournament combined with a Zumba Aerobics Dance Class. One of the girls on my league team was an aerobics instructor. She talked to the other dance instructors into donating some time on a Saturday morning to teach aerobics out on the bar patio. All funds for the classes taught were donated to the team. We had about 50 dancers in all. The dodgeball tournament was held in the parking lot. We asked a local event company to donate cyclone fencing for the day for the tourney to stop the balls from rolling everywhere. A local DJ friend provided music and brought his own equipment and mic for announcements. A local start-up clothing designer screen printed event shirts with the caveat that they receive 100% of the profit for shirts sold which was no problem since it was just a fun thing to have their. Local graffiti artist used temporary spray chalk to tag the courts with designs. Local vodka distributor working with the bar brought their vodka girls to give out samples. Had a half time show called “The Bear Cage Vs. The Ladies of Dodgeball” where one lucky male dodgeball player was paired with the Zumba dancers to take on the best all female team in a head to head dodgeball match. All said and done I believe the team made around $700 after costs which isn’t bad for a Saturday Morning. Photos from the event: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.377402986429.166427.252387526429
Pajama Jello Shot Party – We piggybacked on a pajama/lingerie party a local bar was throwing. The bar owner aloud us to sell jello shots for $1 a piece and keep all of the cash from the event. The nice part about this the bar did the majority of the promotion. We made the jello shots the night before and used the bars refrigerator in the back to store them. All said and done we made about $450 after costs on a Friday night. Photos from the event: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.304213026429.156784.252387526429
Below is a quick list of other events I’ve seen or been a part of for fundraising:
Beer Pong Tourney, Cornhole/Bags Tourney, Car Washes (hard to believe these make money, but they do), Raffles, Golf Tourneys, Poker Tourneys both at bars and at people’s houses, Beer Olympics, Wiffle Ball Baseball Tourneys, Kickball Tourneys… the list goes on..
HOW YOUR HARD WORK PAYS OFF LONG TERM/BIGGER TOURNAMENTS
Dodgeball tournaments have a fundamental issue. The issue.. broke dodgeball players. How does this effect tournaments you ask? Dodgeball players register for leagues and tourneys nightmarishly late traditionally. Usually like the same day as the event. All because they wait for that last paycheck right before registration is due and pay then. Imagine being the event planner, knowing you’ve shelled out money for a gym, equipment, etc and feverishly checking your computer on a daily basis to find out only one team has registered. All the while popping Tums praying this events going to be good. Finally the day of.. everyone registers!
This tradition of late payments believe it or not both effects the size and quality of the tournaments and also the future of dodgeball. You can’t plan big events, get big sponsors, give away big cash prizes if you have no idea if people are going to show up. How can dodgeball expect to be taken seriously? What’s the solution? Firm cut-offs where you have to be registered by a certain date or maybe raising the rates the closer we get to the actual date is the answer? My suggestion is to break the cycle by empowering teams to raise money in advance. Teams with money result in early registration and bigger events.
SHARE YOUR IDEAS WITH OTHER TEAMS
Make sure to post a list of events on Facebook on Dodgeball Nation’s Group Page of fundraisers you have done and how much you raised. All this helps other teams and in turn makes dodgeball more successful!