Hoping to hit your foundation’s next fundraiser out of the park? Seeking a donation that will ensure your charity’s next auction is a slam dunk? Well then look no further than your local professional sports teams! With the plethora of opportunities made available by these teams’ community outreach programs, you don’t need to feel that your next request for support is a Hail Mary, but instead an effective approach in leading your organization towards its goooaaallls!
Each of the nation’s major professional sports leagues have made efforts to contribute to the greater good of their communities, and many sports teams have implemented a fairly standardized process whereby organizations with 501(c)(3) status can request in-kind donations from their local teams. These donations, which often include tickets, merchandise, and autographed memorabilia, can then be used by the organizations to help raise funds at auctions, raffles, and other events. Typically, teams limit applicants to one request per season and ask that all requests be submitted well in advance of the organization’s scheduled event.
To learn more about the donation programs available to your organization, use the league websites below to identify the professional sports teams nearest you, and then click the link of your team’s website. Keep in mind that your “local” team does not necessarily need to be in the same city or county as your organization, as many teams extend their support of fundraising efforts to surrounding counties and regions.
- National Football League (NFL): http://www.nfl.com/teams
- Major League Baseball (MLB): http://mlb.mlb.com/team/index.jsp
- National Basketball Association (NBA): http://www.nba.com/teams/
- National Hockey League (NHL): http://www.nhl.com/ice/teams.htm
- Major League Soccer (MLS): http://www.mlssoccer.com/clubs
- Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA): http://www.wnba.com/players/Team_Rosters.html
After arriving to your team’s website, check for references or pages devoted to “community” (there is often a “Community” tab) and then scan for links titled “Donation Requests,” “Donations,” or “In-Kind Donations.” If your team does offer a donation program, it will set forth its specific guidelines and requirements, as well as detail how and where to submit your donation request. Here you can also read up on sports teams’ activities and partnerships with local schools and institutions of higher education.
Considering the popularity of professional sports in America, the addition of donations from your local sports teams to your organization’s next fundraiser could help garner the attention and interest of the community that may have been lacking in events past. Take a shot and go the distance to explore some of your teams’ donation programs – it may prove to become a valuable resource in your organization’s playbook for success!