As a grassroots sports club that doesn't have the support of a wealthy benefactor, balancing the books to ensure you continue to serve the local community is one of your most important yet challenging tasks.
Fundraising at sports clubs requires the efforts and endeavours of all your members, but with enough inspiration you can make it fun and engaging for everyone involved.
To provide you with that inspiration, here are no less than 15 varied ideas for giving your club coffers a timely boost.
1. Sponsored challenges
For raising a significant block of cash that gets the whole of the club involved, look to sponsored challenges.
The wackier and more imaginative you get, the better. Your members are more likely to want to take part, and the more members you get involved, the more potential there is for raising funds. Plus, the more outrageous the challenge, the more likely potential sponsors are to part with their cash.
Sponsored challenges are a particularly good way of raising funds for new projects at your club. Hoping to build a new clubhouse? Changing rooms not been painted since 1954? Sponsors are much more likely to get onboard with these renovation-type projects, so make a sponsored challenge top of your list.
2. Quiz night
Regular, reliable income is something we all strive for at our clubs – and you need look no further than your clubhouse bar.
Everyone loves a good quiz night, so pick a weekday where everyone's fed up from their daily grind and offer some fun at the clubhouse. Not only does it get club members putting cash behind your bar, it also attracts members from outside the club who just fancy a pint.
3. Buddy nights
A double whammy of fundraising opportunity, the buddy night can bring money into the club on both and short and long term basis.
Buddy nights are training sessions where youth teams are able to bring their friends along for one night only. Each buddy pays a small fee (say £2), and suddenly you have a significant increase in the turnout for your session. Coaches should make these evenings based more around fun than the competitive aspects of sport, treating them as an opportunity to sell sport to that child and their parents.
If your new arrivals are sufficiently impressed, you'll boost your chances of bringing new members in. As you'll doubtless already know, the more members you have the more income your club is able to generate.
4. Club websiteThere are countless reasons sports clubs need to embrace digital. One of them is the opportunities it offers to your club's revenue streams.
For a number of current generations and every single one to come in the future, being digitally savvy is innate. To find the latest news, fixtures or results from your club, they only head one place – online.
That cultural shift can be converted into cash for your club. A quality website that holds all your club's latest and greatest goings-on is one that attracts new members and keeps traffic flowing into your club.
High traffic to your website is a sellable asset to sponsors, who will be eager to showcase their business to as many people as possible. Get on the phone to local companies and sell website space to them.
Elsewhere, collecting your club subs online can help cut out the losses you inevitably make from archaic, paper-based collection. Buried in a mountain of IOUs and struggling to keep track of who has paid what, collecting payments online through your club website helps you get a firmer grip one of your club's major sources of income.
And it's all possible with us. Pitchero offer responsive club websites that showcase your club online. Please your sponsors by boosting traffic and use your team management tools to create and collect payments from players securely online.
5. Match-day raffle
Raffles may not draw in as much income as some of the other ideas mentioned here, but they do provide a simple supplementary method for generating revenue.
Raffles are simple to organise. Buy a bottle of wine and walk around the ground selling tickets off at a pound a go. It might only turn £15 profit a game, but over the course of a season it acts as a nice, easy method for getting a little extra funds out of those who come to watch your games each week.
6. Club events
Cram your club calendar with events and not only can you bring some cash into the club, you'll also bring all your club members a little closer together.
Jumping on national calendar events is a good way to make sure your club is the place members head to for major nationwide holidays.
Ideas are plentiful - you could: hold a summer barbecue, create a Christmas-themed event or have a bonfire on the 5th November complete with fireworks.
Put on good food, drinks and games to keep families coming back and spending their cash at your club.
7. Open a club shop
If your club has a loyal band of supporters that follow you up and down the country to every game, it might be worth creating and selling club merchandise.
Loyal fans are always eager to showcase their love of your club. Sporting a item of clothing with your club emblem on it is one of the most popular means.
This one requires a level of initial investment; printed t-shirts, hoodies and beanie hats are not that cheap to come by in small numbers – but it can lead to long-term profit.
Plus, you can run it online through your club website. Pitchero club websites come with a PayPal Club Shop, where you can sell merchandise online and see the revenue run straight into your club bank account.
From small, incremental additions to a significant revenue driver. Without sponsorship, most clubs would be unable to remain afloat. We've mentioned how you can harness the power of your new digital home, the club website, to do this – but there are a number of other assets at your club that have sponsorship potential.
Take your ground for example. Pitch-side boards, clubhouse banners and match day programmes are just three ways you can promote businesses every weekend. Elsewhere, you could sponsor members of your team, or bring in a match day or ball sponsor. Sponsorship can go as far as you're willing to take it.
Even online, where as we mentioned earlier much of this can take place, sponsorship has real multi-channel potential. Take your social feeds for example. If your club is regular tweeter with a number of followers, you might want to harness that channel and allow someone to sponsor that Twitter page – giving them regular shout-outs and including their logo when appropriate.
Plus, sponsorship doesn't always have to be about cash. If relevant, sponsors could provide you with kit or equipment that your club needs – or provide you with a service they'd usually charge for. Either way, it saves the club cash it would have otherwise had to spend.
9. Hire out your facilities
Take a look around your club, do you have any facilities that members of the local community might be interested in using?
The obvious one is training pitches. If your lucky enough to have an all-weather surface, recoup some of the cash it took to build by hiring it out to locals who want to have a game of five-a-side once a week (this is particularly effective when targeting local businesses with 20+ employees).
Elsewhere, a pot of potential income is waiting for clubs who have a big enough clubhouse for renting out. There's never a shortage of birthdays, retirement dos or Christmas parties – and many of them will be on the look out for venues.
It might take a bit of initial cost to give your clubhouse a lift, but serious funds can be raised from venue rental costs and additional drinks purchases.
For a way to raise cash while your sat on your sofa doing a spot of online shopping (yep, it exists), head to Easyfundraising. Sign your club up, and every time one of your members buys something from one of over 3,000 online shops, your club gets a handy cut of the total cost.
Major retailers like John Lewis, Sainsburys and Amazon are on board with Easyfundraising, and it doesn't add a penny to what you're buying online. Plus with Christmas on the way, now is the best time to take advantage and open up a brand new revenue stream for your club.
11. Bag packing
You won't get any thankyous from players for this one – but bag packing is a simple and effective means for getting a little extra money.
Turn up to your local supermarket sporting your club kit and spend an afternoon packing everyone's shopping. It takes a little sacrifice from members, but turn on the charm offensive and you'll soon find all those copper coins add up to a tidy sum.
12. Family fun day
Finally, as an extension of those club events mentioned above – organise an annual family fun day.
Engage with the local community by inviting them to your club for a day of food, games and ultimately fun for all the family. Events like this will also be of interest to local businesses – so create some space where they can sell their service (food stands and book shops are two perfect examples).
Use family fun days as an opportunity to sell you club to potential new members. Parents are always on the look out for ways to keep their kids occupied, and sport is one of the best ways of doing so. Paint your club as a friendly, active means to stay healthy, and you'll soon find new members that could stay with you for an entire life time.
13. Car boot sale
We've all got plenty of tat, but often that tat is worth something to someone. Have a collection day at your club where members bring their unwanted electronics, DVDs, games and whatever else is worth selling at 50p a go.
Fill up your car and get down to your local car boot sale. For a morning's work, you'll raise a couple of hundred pounds and freed up some storage space in your house.
14. Play an exhibition match
Bring a wow factor to your fixture list by holding a one-off special event where your club takes on a standout opponent. These could be club legends from down the years, a local team that has a higher profile than yours, or a touring all-star team that specialises in these events.
Take cricket's Lashings XI for example. Made up of ex-international pros and cricket personalities, you can take on the Lashings XI in a special fundraiser for your club. It's one of the best ways of harnessing a team that's known from a wider perspective than yours to get people down to your ground for one day of fundraising.
15. Match-day car wash
As one final means of raising cash on match day, why not clean some of the cars that sit motionless in the car park during the game?
As their owners sit and watch the match, charge them each a fiver and get your sponge out to give their car a quick once over. Again, it's not going to revolutionise your club's fundraising efforts – but it's a handy £30 into the bank account every weekend.