Seven Best Sports Team Fundraising Ideas

When someone wants to raise funds, one of the first things we suggest is to assemble a fundraising team. If you’re already on a sports team or any other kind of team, you’re halfway there. Teams of all shapes and sizes use our free platform to raise funds. Whether you’re looking for tips to cover travel costs, buy new equipment, or donate money to a cause outside your team such as an environmental charity, team crowdfunding is the most effective way to reach your fundraising goal.  Here are some great team fundraising ideas to get your team started.

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Get your fundraiser moving

Whether you’re planning an extreme challenge to raise awareness of your cause or holding a more laid-back event, sports fundraising can help you access the funds you need to improve your life or someone else’s. Some information on sporting fundraisers are:

  • Fundraising for sports teams is a billion-dollar industry that creates around 8,823 new jobs each year, according to IBIS World.
  • It’s becoming more popular—sports fundraisers are growing at a rate of 1.4% per year, as reported by the Chicago Tribune.
  • The Huffington Post reported that parents spend almost $700 a year to cover costs for youth sports teams.

Ten popular fundraising ideas for teams

1. Host a clinic

Athletes can put their skills to good use by teaching them to others. They can help community members perfect their dribble or master their golf swing. Teaching is a great way to learn, so a clinic may have an added effect of helping athletes improve, too. Hosting a clinic is one of the most creative fundraising ideas for sports teams. Whether it’s a soccer club or school robotics, your team has a specific set of skills that others want to learn. Use those skills to your advantage by hosting a clinic. For example, Darin organized a community baseball clinic to raise donations for his friend Robert’s cancer treatment.) Ask friends or businesses to sponsor scholarships.

2. Organize an exercise class

Get people moving for a good cause. Organize a fundraising event exercise class and ask participants to donate at the door. If you ask a venue to host your class, tell them of your team fundraising ideas, and why you’re raising money—they may be inclined to sponsor the event and give you the space for. From Crossfit to Soulcycle to yoga, the options are endless.

3. Host an -a-thon

Most of us are familiar with walkathons, but why not put your own spin on it? For one of the more interesting sports fundraising ideas, you can tailor-make an event that fits your cause and team, find a venue, plan, the details, pick a day and time, and ask participants to secure pledges. If people don’t want to pledge a certain amount, give them the option of a flat-fee donation. On GoFundMe, we’ve seen teams host a Swim-A-Thon, Read-A-Thon, Skate-A-Thon, and Spin-A-Thon.

4. Hold a competition

Sometimes a little friendly competition motivates people to donate more. There are endless games you can play. It can be as intense as bodybuilding for a good cause or as laid back as a bocce ball tournament. Not into sports? Get creative with your activities or games, like the team that competed in a gingerbread build-off challenge for charity. Have people donate a fixed amount to participate. Consider creating a fun trophy for the winner.

5. Take on a challenge

What better way to show your dedication for a cause than by taking on a major challenge that raises money at the same time? After his father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, Stu dreamed of running long-distance races with his family to raise awareness of the disease—and with his GoFundMe, he was able to do just that.

6. Offer unusual rewards

If you’re looking for creative fundraising ideas for sporting clubs, you may want to consider offering unique prizes. Sometimes we see teams provide rewards to their supporters as an incentive to donate. For example, wrestling champion AJ Mendez offered to mention donors in tweets to her following, and the JFK Library offered custom calendars.

7. Create something you can give

To implement a creative twist when designing fundraising ideas for sports teams, you can gather your team members to work towards something that relates to your cause. Consider asking a local business or a local restaurant for in-kind donations and resources that you can incorporate. A few examples we’ve seen on our site are a can sculpture for your local food pantry, brown bags full of food, personal care items, clothes, and hygiene products for homeless people.

Man and woman on a bike outside in the snow

8. Long-term athletic endeavors

The best fundraisers for sports teams create a long-term challenge. Athletic fundraisers that extend over multiple days have a unique advantage: they allow athletes to post updates throughout their journey. Supporters can follow the athlete’s progress and make donations as they go.

18-year-old Lucy and her dad had an audacious goal: to ride their bikes 2,500 miles from San Diego, California to St. Augustine, Florida. The purpose? They wanted to raise money to fund mammograms for the early detection of breast cancer. Lucy kept her donor community in the loop with frequent Facebook posts of photos from the road—and she raised $4,000 for women’s preventative health.  

9. Less-rigorous sport challenges

 You don’t have to be superhuman to raise money through athletics. Softer adventures can also attract media attention, especially if they involve large numbers of people. A run, bicycle race, or swim empowers everyday people to exercise while giving back to charity. Remember that lots of participants means lots of social media shares—for more donations. 

4th grader Lucas hadn’t even learned how to skateboard yet when he started his GoFundMe for a class project to benefit Skateistan, a nonprofit that helps kids in developing countries access education through skateboarding. But with the help of his donors, Lucas raised money for the organization, decorated some skateboards, and picked up a new skill.

People playing basketball at a school

10. “Punish” the Coach

This classic is less cruel than it sounds. An easygoing coach might agree to sit in a dunk tank, take a pie to the face, or even dye their hair if the price is right. After a grueling practice, players themselves might also want to donate to this fund.

Successful examples of teams fundraising on GoFundMe

1. 28th Annual Beta Omicron Bike-A-Thon

The men of the Beta Omicron fraternity of Tennessee State University have been organizing charity bike-a-thons for 28 years. During the event, they ride their bicycles 250 miles from Nashville to Memphis by way of Highway 70. For their most recent charity bike-a-thon, the brother raised more than $1,400 to help those affected by Hurricane Harvey.

2. Katie Heintz Memorial Basketball Tournament

Northern Michigan communities have been coming together for more than 12 years to organize a benefit basketball tournament to honor the memory of Katie Heintz, a 16-year-old student who passed away from leukemia. All proceeds and sales from the GoFundMe and other fundraising events go to the Munson Healthcare Pediatric Infusion Clinic.

Fundraising team, assemble

Your team might be surprised at the power of your combined social networks and fundraising skills to make a profit. Hold a team meeting, brainstorm ideas, and assign fundraising roles. And if you haven’t already, start your fundraiser today and get your team on track for success. For more information about team fundraising ideas, check out our team fundraising page.