What’s the Most Necessary Evil in Youth Sports Today?

A guest post by Jon Goldman of Reaching Our Goal

The answer is, of course, fundraising.  No one wants to do it, everyone needs to do it and rarely is it done well. That’s because while we’re all racing around texting, posting on Facebook, tweeting and downloading apps to our to cloud-connected smart phones, the typical fundraiser is a throwback to the ’70’s and 8-track tapes!

At a time when youth sports has never been more competitive or demanding, why are so many travel teams still selling candy, standing in front of a Walmart shaking a can or in a parking lot washing cars?

In the good old days, we lived in a zip code-driven fundraising world.  Raising some money by canvassing the people who lived nearby was simply what everyone did. On the menu: magazine subscriptions, tubs of cookie dough, Christmas wreaths, scented candles, printed cups, banners and discount cards – you name it.  Chances are, at one time or another, some youngster rang your doorbell hoping you would buy some, right?

But that just isn’t going to cut the mustard any more.  For so many reasons, starting with the fact that the average adolescent today lacks the desire or time to knock on doors, parents definitely don’t have the time to chaperone junior around the block. Sales efforts often generate hundreds of dollars, but the teams needs thousands. Giving companies such as Nestle or Coke 50% of your heard-earned sales just doesn’t seem right. And, most importantly, who really wants to buy that stuff aElectronic fundraisingnyway?

Today, fundraising for sports teams is best done electronically and is based on relationships, not geography.  After all, who’s going to be more generous toward your young baseball player today? The neighbor who barely knows him or an aunt or family friend who lives two counties or hundreds of miles away?  It’s the people who know and care about your athlete —regardless of how far away they live — who will be more supportive every time.  The challenge simply is how to ask.

Companies like Reaching Our Goal are making it easier and easier for teams to raise thousands of dollars in just minutes by using the Internet to reach people around the corner and around the world. Think mouse clicks instead of footsteps. The joy of giving instead of the burden of buying.  College teams have been at the forefront of this trend for awhile now. They don’t have the time or the desire to move through neighborhoods near campus.  Folks today probably wouldn’t be excited to see a 19-year-old university student on the stoop with a clipboard and outstretched hand!

Today, the very same approach that’s worked for collegiate squads in every sport and at every level, is now easily available to travel teams or organizations just like yours. And that’s good news because, if we’re really being honest, fundraising has never really been anyone’s idea of a good time.  But now, it can be accomplished safely, painlessly and profitably from a keyboard.  So, yes, fundraising really is a necessary evil, but doing it well and getting real results has never been more crucial.