fundraisersThe Monterey Company is our name and Team Trading Pins is our game.

Planning for summer sports leagues is now in full swing, and whether you’re leading a soccer, baseball, or softball team (or another sport altogether), we know that right now you’re busy doing things like reserving field time, setting a date to hold tryouts, and calling up other league leaders to schedule away games.

We also know that a lot of summer sports planning involves coming up with unique and creative sports team fundraising ideas to keep the game going. Soliciting donations is a necessity for many teams just to stay in existence, but what kinds of activities and events will be a draw for people to attend and — more importantly — want to donate money to your sport?

If you need some fundraising inspiration as you plan for this summer, check out these successful (and savvy) sports team fundraising ideas to get donors on board:

1. Youth Sports Clinics: If you have some adult players who would be willing to volunteer their time, why not offer weekend clinics for high school teams before the season gets underway? This could work for softball, baseball, tennis, soccer, football, or really any sport played at the high school (or younger) level. You don’t need to charge a lot for these special clinics, especially if you are able to hold them at the school or use donated field or court time. Reaching out to schools is also a way to make your team a more visible community asset and can really go a long way to raise your visibility — in addition to fundraising for your sports team.

2. Cook-Offs: There are so many great home cooks and restaurant chefs out there, and many of these folks have a competitive streak, so why not harness this to help your organization? A pre-game chili cook-off, for example, is an easy to organize sports team fundraiser: Entrants pay to have their chili included in the cook-off and you sell “tasting tickets” for attendees to receive a chili sample and cast a vote for the best tasting chili. Some organizations charge a flat rate just to enter the tasting area and then let individual chefs decide on their price per portion; additional money can be made on soft drinks and other food items on sale. What do the winners get? Custom medals are an easy and eye-catching way to award great cooking skills, while still staying within your budget.

3. Car Lottery With a Twist! Who doesn’t want a 1 in 600 chance at winning a new car? You will first need to contact a car dealership willing to work with you on this sports team fundraiser, but reassure them this is a great way to generate free publicity. The gist of this unique sports team fundraiser is to print up 600 lottery tickets that you will sell for $100 each for a chance to win a brand new car (for example a VW Bug). Set a date for the drawing and put it in writing that entrants will get their $100 refunded if all the tickets don’t sell — but chances are if you do some basic publicity legwork, they will. On the day of the drawing, there are really three winners: the person who gets the car, the dealership who gets paid for the car, and your sports team, who can stand to pocket between $30,000 to $40,000 just for being able to reach 600 people!

4. Team Memorabilia Sales: We work with sports teams across the country to design team trading pins, coins, medals, and key chains that showcase something unique about their team, whether it’s a mascot, a particular tournament, or the commemoration of a trophy-winning season. When teams buy these team trading pins, they are often purchased as tokens of appreciation for hardworking players. But don’t forget, these team trading pins, coins, medals, and key chains, can also be put to work for your team by serving as attractive items to add to silent auction gift baskets, being given as gifts to donors who commit to a certain donation level, and as an item to sell outright to fans. Remember, most sports fans already own plenty of t-shirts and baseball caps. But how many have a custom lapel pin or collectible coin that incorporates their favorite local team?