5 Ideas for Funding Softball League Scholarships
Improving Your League
Funding League Scholarships
Softball player league scholarships are a necessary means of overcoming the enrollment challenge caused by the financial burden of playing fastpitch softball. The cost of playing youth softball can be very burdensome for some families. With League fees of around $100, plus a uniform of about $40, plus cleats and a softball glove, the cost can easily approach $200 for a child to play softball. My view, and I believe most would agree, I would hate for money to ever be the reason a little girl couldn’t participate in youth sports.
Every Fastpitch Softball League should have a donation closet for items such as softball gloves, softball cleats and softball bats. These items are routinely outgrown by players and typically have a lot of life left in them which could be put to use by players in need. To get enough participation, you’ll have to publicize and promote the donation closet. This is a great, NO COST, way of saving some families $30 to $50 dollars.
A Fundraiser Specifically for Scholarships
Do not associate this fundraising event with other fundraisers that are to support the league. Make this a special event solely for the purpose of raising money for league scholarships. People are much more inclined to participate if they think they are helping out children as opposed to helping out a league. There are lots of ideas for fundraisers such as softball skills contests, or selling car window stickers, or selling T-shirts. I know for a fact you can purchase 300 t-shirts for less than $4.00 and sell them for $10.00. (Feel free to contact the good people at American Silkworms, Inc. for T-shirts @ 972-243-8087). Three great days for fundraisers are opening day, tournament days, and closing ceremony day.
If possible, set up a loose change bank near the concession stand specifically for donating to league scholarships. I’m always amazed out how much money 7 — 11 and McDonalds donate to MDA each year via their loose change collection banks. This is just so easy and so affordable for everyone to participate in.
The Beneficiaries of your Softball League
Besides the players, who really benefits the most from your local Fastpitch Softball League? The answer is your local High School Softball programs. The local Fastpitch League acts as a farm system for developing players that will eventually play High School Softball. More than likely you won’t be able to get any money from the School District, but what about the High School Softball Booster Club? You should be able to make a strong case to the High School Softball Coach that s/he has a vested interest in promoting youth Fastpitch Softball. The more and better trained athletes that decide to play High School Softball, the easier her/his job is going to be to field a winning program. You will have to convince the coach that this is an investment into his future softball program. It will be imperative that you win over the High School Coach, as s/he will have to be the person that makes this a priority with the Booster Club.
Hitting the Home Run
Finally, I would approach the City in which my league played for financial support of your local league scholarship program. Consider this a long term project as cities have budgets that are approved in advance, red tape, and various hurdles to get across. However, if you can ever get this approved on their budget, it’s likely to stay in their budget for years to come. Local small cities are very aware of their social economic demographics, which should work to your advantage. You should be able to make the case that X% of the population is near or below the poverty level or on the government assisted school lunch program (pick some criteria that works to your advantage). Then make the case that these children are either a burden to the survival of your league, or that they are under served in your league due to the financial constraints. Know the amount of money you want, and add about 40% on top of that figure (they will never give you what you want, but you might get a healthy percentage). Generally, I have found that small cities are very sensitive to assisting under privileged children in their community. Don’t get greedy when you approach them for money, but I wouldn’t be shy about it either. There is no doubt that families move to cities that have outstanding sports programs and there is also no doubt that the amount of money you are looking for wouldn’t even be noticed in their budget. Your proposal to the city needs to address the needs of your softball league, the needs of your players (their residents), and the potential benefits to the city and it’s citizens. Once you are successful at getting the City’s participation, it will almost act as an endowment to your league scholarship program for years to come.
Now, Go Get ‘em Coach!
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