Archive for the ‘funding’ Category

A “Thank You” to the volunteers

November 24, 2015

Photo courtesy Greater Cincinnati Sports Corporation

In this season of thanks and giving, it’s only appropriate that we pause to thank so many people who make sure that our many events come off smoothly.

It’s estimated that about a quarter of Americans, 25.3 percent to be exact, volunteered for an event or cause in 2014. That works out to about 62.8 million people volunteering at least once, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Among volunteers with children under the age of 18, the Bureau says that 46 percent of the mothers and 38.6 percent of fathers volunteered, mainly for an education or youth service organization. Break that down a little more and 9.4 percent of the men who volunteered for sports teams did so as a coach, referee or supervisor, The women were more likely to serve food (think concession stands) and fund raise.

And that’s just the tip of the volunteering iceberg for youth teams: Handling team apparel, taking team photos, making sure everyone gets those all-important snacks, organizing and taking care of facilities, even organizing special fundraising events, all are important and almost all are taken care of, by volunteers. And yes, usually those volunteers are mom and dad.

But there are those who volunteer because they love the sport: Whether it’s track and field, fencing, basketball or gymnastics, those who perhaps played the sport as a youth now give their time and talents to help the next generation enjoy the sport as much as they did.

So in this season of giving thanks, take a moment to thank those who volunteer to make sure your events are professional and safe.


Go Fund Them

August 11, 2015

With students going back to school this month (if they haven’t already), families are facing a familiar task: Getting kids into sports and finding the money to pay for the activities.

With schools pinched for resources and parents nickled-and-dimed with school fees this time of year, some teams and/or individual families are now looking at the crowdfunding route to pay for their kids’ recreational fees.Youth gymnastics.jpg

This example comes from KATU in Portland, Oregon, where the coach of a cheerleading squad, Oregon Dream Teams in Beaverton, was looking to pay for a trip to the cheerleading World Championships in Orlando. The cost was $1,200 per cheerleader—and that’s on top of the minimum $4,000 the athlete pays for practices and regular competition.

Cher Fuller, the head coach, started a on line account for the squad, and asked people to make donations. Her goal was a thousand dollars, and raised a little more than that.

She’s not alone. Also in the Portland area, Karen Emmett, one of the crowdfunding parents quoted in the KATU story, set up a crowdfunding site for her daughter’s soccer expenses. In explaining why she did so, Emmett posted on the station’s Facebook page: “What isn’t mentioned in the video is not only am I a single mom, I’m working two jobs to pay our bills … and my daughter and her soccer team have been doing other fundraising (rummage sales, bake sales, can drives, yard work for neighbors, etc).

“I only opened an account because I was pushed by a lot of family and friends to do so. I was told to swallow my pride and admit that I need help paying for this.”

This isn’t unusual. Go to the website and on the left side you’ll see a menu of causes to which you can donate. Click on the ‘sports’ tab and you’ll see requests from teams (especially Little League teams in World Series playoffs) and individual athletes, all asking strangers to help pay for their expenses to play a sport, travel to playoffs, whatever.

Crowdfunding is a relatively new phenomenon, but now that it is pervasive in youth sports, perhaps it’s time to look at the cost of youth sports altogether. For those who wonder why those kids aren’t washing cars and doing other fundraisers to pay for their sports, see the quote from Karen Emmett, who says the team had been fundraising in more traditional methods to get enough money.

Are youth sports, especially traveling team costs, too expensive now? Are parents less willing to chip in or are financially unable to pay for their children to play? As sports professionals it’s up to us to make sure EVERY child who wants to play sports can, regardless of financial status or ability to pay. If you haven’t done so, perhaps its time to look into charitable funds connected to what we do, to make sure kids can still play sports.

Finding funding: Sometimes it comes to you

July 28, 2015

So you have a great idea for a new event for your facility: It would bring in hundreds of athletes who would stay multiple days and bring in thousands of dollars to the local economy.

Or, you’d like to expand your facility, adding fields or courts, which would allow you to bring in bigger, better events. All sounds good, but the bottom line, as they say, is the bottom line: How to pay for all of this?

It’s a universal issue that all organizations, rights holders, facility operators, high school and college athletic departments or team managers face. You may have great ideas, but you don’t have the resources to fund them. Where does the money come from?

As a sports corporation or CVB, you might ask your sales staff to acquire more sponsorships or partnerships. (what your sales staff says after you leave the room, well, that’s out of our control)

We already know that more colleges and universities, especially those outside the “Power Five” conferences, are looking to beer sales at games to help fund the athletic department. A year ago, there were 21 on-campus football stadiums where any fan of legal age could grab a brew. That’s more than twice as many as five years ago.

Troy University Athletic Director John Hartwell estimated that beer would account for $200,000 in commissions for the season. According to its contract with concessionaire Sodexo, Troy receives 43 percent of gross beer sales at its 30,000-seat stadium, or better than $2 for every $5 beer.

But sometimes the money comes to you, through an endowment. A trend that started in the Ivy League and spread to other schools is now becoming the new way to save that school from paying a salary.

The most recent example? Richard Corbett, a Florida real-estate executive who served as the business manager of Robert F. Kennedy’s 1968 presidential campaign, gave $35 million to the University of Notre Dame, from which he graduated in 1960.

Of the total, $25 million will go for a new building to house the anthropology and psychology departments and a digital-media center. He also directed $10 million of the gift to endow the university’s head football coach position.

In another case, Xavier’s men’s basketball coach, Chris Mack, is now the Sedler Family Men’s Head Basketball Coach after Tom and Genny Sedler provided Xavier with the endowment to fund Coach Mack’s salary. The endowment basically allows the university to take the money that would go to salaries and use it somewhere else.

The academic side has been doing this for decades, as donors have funded the “so-and-so-chair for chemical engineering research” at universities around the country. So how can you get the endowment idea to work for you?

It might come in the form of a civic-minded philanthropist who wants to fund a new soccer or basketball complex, or a company that can use foundation dollars to help a community cause while getting its name out in public.

This is a time we all have to be creative to find sponsorship and partnership dollars. Doing a form of an endowment might be the way to get your project from the drawing board, into the community.

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