Fundraising Options for Cheerleading Squads
Cheerleading, in most schools, gets the short-end of the stick when it comes to funding.The majority of schools don't even consider cheerleading a sport, as it has not earned national recognition. Cheerleading, in my school district, is not even allotted a yearly budget to utilize. This leaves the team fending for itself year after year. It is often frustrating trying to collect money from 16+ cheerleaders for team necessities. Since everyone has to be uniform in appearance, every cheerleader must pay for the exact same items. What is a coach to do when cheerleaders are unable to pay for expenses out of pocket? Below you will find some fundraising options that have worked for my team, some are things you may have already heard of while other ideas are a bit more unconventional.
Car washes are always a go to fundraiser during the summer months. My school has had car washes at local gas stations, the local Arby's, and other local businesses. Car washes are a team effort and a fun way to build team spirit. Your cheerleaders can make signs to advertise the car wash. Pricing may vary. We have charged $5.00 for a car and $10.00 for larger vehicles and other times we have asked for any monetary donation.
A great seller for many area teams has been a fundraiser through a local sub shop. We were able to earn $450.00 just by running a one week hoagie/sub sale. We sold Italian subs for $6.00 and turkey, roast beef, and vegetarian subs for $7.25. Each sub made us a profit of $2.25. It was really easy to sell these subs because of the reputation the local shop has. Try to find a business in your area that has a reputation for making something delicious and inexpensive and ask them to work with you on creating a fundraiser!
You also have the option of selling food stuffs through well-known companies. I have seen various candy from catalogs, Hershey's bars, frozen foods, cookie dough, etc. used for raising funds.
My cheerleaders have had bake sales at the end of the school day. Students and teachers purchase snacks from a baked goods table as they exit the building. These snacks are sold at a nominal price.
School candy gram sales during the holidays are always a good bet, especially for high schools. The one setback with this option is that you often find that the student council already utilizes this fundraising method. If your student council doesn't sell candy grams, then you are in luck! Candy grams are a simple fundraiser. Cheerleaders are assigned to sell candy grams at a table during their lunch periods. The students purchase a candy gram and are given a small note where the sender and receiver are listed as well as a brief message to the receiver. Later, the cheerleaders attach candy or flowers to the note and on the designated day the notes are delivered to the homeroom of the recipients. The best holidays to sell candy grams are Halloween, Christmas, and, of course, Valentine's Day. Candy gram prices can be anywhere from .50 - $3.00, depending on what it is you are selling. Halloween grams should be some type of candy, while Christmas grams would normally have candy canes attached. Lastly, for Valentine's Day, students can attach carnations or other flowers to the messages.
Data Match Fundraisers
Data match fundraisers are fun for everyone! Data match surveys ask students multiple choice questions. Surveys are then sent back to the company where they are run through a scantron. Students are matched with other students who answered the questions similarly. These make great Valentine's Day fundraisers. If you are going to run one of these fundraisers you will want to obtain the materials in January to ensure that your surveys are returned to you by the date you wish to distribute them. The matched surveys are returned in boxes that are alphabetized by student name. The results are then sold during lunch periods for a nominal fee. Students have the option of buying the envelope with their grade level only matches for $2.00 or for $3.00 they can purchase their grade level match envelope and their whole school match envelope. The best part? You don't have to pay the company until after your sales are complete. You will only pay for the envelopes that you sold. You do not have to pay for any unsold surveys.
Things to consider
-Packaging. For an additional fee, most companies will put your results in private, individual envelops, usually decorated for Valentine's Day. I recommend paying the extra fee for the envelopes as it makes the results easier to locate.
-Most surveys are grade level only. You must pay an additional fee to get whole school result envelopes. I recommend this as well because most students have friends in all grade levels. Also, this allows you to earn more revenue from the fundraiser.
-Depending on the availability of technology, you have the option of conducting the surveys online instead of on paper. This is certainly a good option if you are concerned with environmental factors. Most schools, however, will choose the paper route and distribute the surveys during homeroom.
-Companies also give the option of creating your own survey or choosing one of their pre-made surveys. Usually you can find a pre-made survey that will suffice, but if you are particular and you or your cheerleaders have the time, you can create your own multiple choice survey.
-Lastly, consider the revenue percentage. What is the split of profits between your organization/team and the company? Is it fair? Generally, you don't want to accept anything less than 40% of the profits. Profit splits of upwards of 50% are ideal.
Here are some companies to consider:
I have personally utilized the first two companies. Look over the options and the profit ratios and choose what is the best fit for your school.
Another option is to host a fashion show featuring your cheerleaders. This is a planning intensive funding option and will require help from team parents, local businesses, friends, etc. The most important factor is finding a venue. Ideally, you want to find a free space. The most obvious location would be your school's auditorium or multi-purpose room. You could also ask local country clubs in the district to allow you to use their space. You may even know someone who owns a club or other suitable venue for a fashion show.
Once you have a venue, you need to find fashions for the cheerleaders to model. This is surprisingly easy to do. The managers of most local branches of department stores and fashion stores are more than happy to lend out clothing, provided that the clothing is returned in the same condition with all tags attached. Clothing stores are always happy to have free publicity for their fashions. These types of events bring them more business. In my experience with this type of event, our local JCPenney even gave the cheerleaders a discount on the items that they modeled if they wished to purchase their outfit after the show. Some stores will also give you discount coupons to hand out to audience members at the event.
If you are finding it difficult to get a major name brand store to work with you, try local consignment stores. You may have better luck with small, independently owned boutiques. Often these smaller stores have expertise with fashion shows and may also provide you with valuable advice.
A few other details you may want to consider are music, ticket prices, refreshments, additional items to bring in money. You will want to find a DJ or compile a mix cd for runway music. If you don't know anyone willing to volunteer their services, a mix cd will serve the purpose. You should set your ticket prices at $5-$10 dollars. You may want to offer a student discount on tickets. If you are going to offer refreshments you will need to decide if your patrons will have to purchase them or if you are going to provide them using money from ticket sales. Lastly, think about having a 50/50 raffle and a Chinese auction. Try to find local businesses to donate gift baskets and gift certificates for patrons to try to win. If you know anyone that sells Avon or Mary Kay, see if they will donate a basket. You will find most people are willing to help out because they are receiving free advertising for their business in return.
Fashion shows are a lot of fun, a great way to earn money, and they are also a great team bonding experience!
-Involve the football or basketball team and share the funds.
-Ask your local beauty school if their students can do makeup and hair for your event. The students will be happy to work on real people instead of cosmetology dolls and you will be helping them with their practicum hours!
-Make sure you have someone to be the Master of Ceremonies and that you have descriptor cards for each model and what they are wearing. Make sure your cards are in order.
Sponsor a Casual Friday for Teachers
The school that I work for allows teachers to wear jeans on Fridays for a small price. Teams and clubs in the building are able to schedule a jean day. A student representative and a sponsor or adviser collect 1-3 dollars from the teachers as they are signing in for work in the morning. It's an easy way to earn a quick hundred or so dollars.
Grant Funding Options
If you need a large sum of money you might want to consider a grant. I earned a $5,000 Responsible Sports Grant from Liberty Mutual for my cheerleaders. This grant requires you to involve community members by having them take a quiz on responsibility in sports. The 6 schools in the country with the most quizzes taken will earn a $5,000 grant. It sounds daunting, but I will tell you that when I found this grant it was halfway through the voting period. We had only two months to get to 6th place. I knew that if I could get our school on the leaderboard, which shows the top 15 spots, that I could motivate my team to succeed. I managed to get the squad to 15th place in less than a week. We snagged that 6th place spot with 731 votes. If this sounds like something you have the time and perseverance to do, then here are my tips for success with this grant.
1. Facebook. You can post about the contest on your facebook page through the grant website. It will post a link on your wall where people can go to support your organization.
2. Don't trust that people will click the link. Though it was a lot of work, I found the best way to get votes was to directly contact people in a private message. People are more willing to help if you address them directly expressing your team's need.
3. Get your team to follow your lead and contact their Facebook friends.
4. The greatest boost in votes came from our student body. I scheduled girls to sit at tables with laptops outside of the cafeteria during the lunch periods. The girls asked their peers to help out their cause and assisted the students with filling out the survey right on the spot, thus securing the votes of many students. We did this for a two week period. This was the most influential trick that we used.
Below are links to the above grant opportunity as well as several other opportunities that I know of and plan to utilize in the future. This is not an exhaustive list, so look around on the web and explore other grant opportunities.
I hope that you have found some new and useful fundraising ideas. If you have some unique funding ideas I would love to hear your comments below! Thanks for reading!