As a coach, you want your athletes and players to get off to the best possible start in their sports careers.
Sport is all about having fun and taking part, especially for young people. When you don’t have a lot of money, it can be hard to keep the kids’ attention and make learning fun.
I started playing junior rugby at a club near my house that didn’t make much money. The clubhouse was falling apart, and the equipment we used was about to break. In the end, that kept us from getting new players to join our team.
But with some hard work and smart marketing, we were able to get some big sponsors, including a professional rugby club, to help fund our youth sports team.
It can be hard to find sponsors for youth sports.
But almost always, it is worth it.
Here is a guide to getting more sponsorships for your youth sports team and making it a more fun and exciting place for kids to play sports with their friends.
The Main Principal
When looking for a sponsor, the goal is to build a relationship with someone from whom you can keep getting money in the future.
Keeping this in mind, you should keep in mind that the deal works for both sides, i.e., there is something in it for everyone.
And there are many places that will help fund sports teams for kids.
Businesses, foundations, and other corporate bodies are always trying to reach out to the people in their area.
Many companies also have social responsibility goals they need to meet. So, remember that you don’t have to be the Los Angeles Lakers to get a sponsorship from a large company.
In fact, the largest student housing association in the country gave money to my college soccer team.
How did we make them give us money?
We just asked, and we didn’t worry about being turned down. There is no harm in asking, so one of my best pieces of advice is not to be afraid to ask for money.
But you won’t always find big companies willing to sponsor your youth sports team right away, so you’ll need to start closer to home.
Who You Know
Most coaches don’t use their network of friends who have jobs, which I think is their best resource.
Don’t forget about them.
As they are closer to you than a business might be, they will know right away or already know that you are trying to get the word out about your youth sports team. That means they will always be more likely to help.
Start by asking your friends or family members who work for companies that sponsor youth sports teams if they know anyone who does.
Parents And Guardians
Don’t forget that some of the parents or guardians on your team may have a lot of power and can help pay for new gear or a new box of balls.
The best way to talk to a parent is at the annual pre-season meeting or when you sign up for your team. Learn about them. Check to see if there are any ways you can ask them to sponsor you, and again, don’t be afraid to ask.
I can guarantee that most parents don’t want their kids to run around in old sports gear, which could sometimes be dangerous for their child.
Plus, most parents will jump at the chance to be a part of their child’s sports team, even if they don’t play. So giving them a chance to get their name out there by sponsoring their child’s sports team could be a very profitable deal for you.
Leagues And Federations
Next, you should talk to your league or federation.
In the United States, there has never been a bigger push to get people involved in sports at the local level.
Since 2019, when the government started its National Youth Sports Strategy, the US Department of Health has been working to make sports easier for young people all over the United States.
That means that youth sports programs all over the country are getting a lot of money right now. The best sponsors for sports teams tend to be foundations and sports leagues.
Depending on what sport you coach, you can usually apply for some of that money through the sport’s governing body or federation.
Here are some other online sponsorship funds you can look into:
- Dicks Sports Matter
- Nike’s Community Impact
- NFL Community Foundation
- US Soccer Foundation
- Baseball Tomorrow Fund
- LPGA Fund
You can also try to get in touch with the professional sports team in your area.
When I was younger and played junior rugby, we were lucky enough to get money from the local professional rugby team. They gave money to our club and then used us to promote their brand by putting their logo on our team uniforms and hosting festivals.
They also used our club to set up a rugby scholarship program to help promising young athletes move quickly into their academy systems.
Your Local Community
Next, reach out to people in your area. This is one of the best ways to make money as a sponsor. Local businesses will already know your club and might have a vested interest in supporting you.
And if you know a small business that sponsors sports teams, there’s a good chance they’d be willing to do it again.
Especially if they have sponsored an adult team before, they will probably also want to sponsor a junior team.
For any local business, having their logo on your team’s gear is a huge plus. Regardless of the sport, there are always a lot of kids on youth sports teams. And since so many players wear their logo, they’ll be able to see the results of this almost right away.
Don’t forget that your team will wear these kits for more than one season, so they will be seen for a long time.
National Companies That Sponsor Youth Sports Teams
Why not think about taking things nationally?
Here’s where the cash is.
Companies like Nike, Subway, and Domino’s donate money to youth sports teams all over the country on a regular basis.
You should never think big brands won’t be interested in sponsoring a small youth team, because they will. mostly food and clothing brands!
Companies like Nike and Adidas will sometimes give teams free gear if they buy a lot of new team uniforms from them.
Here is a list of ten of the best companies in America that regularly offer sponsorships:
- Wells Fargo Bank
- Dick’s Sporting Goods
- Whole Foods Market
- State Farm
- US Bank
- Bank of America
- Coca Cola
But How Do You Secure A Youth Sports Sponsorship?
Now that we’ve talked about the different places you can go to get money, let’s talk about how to get a potential sponsor to send you a check.
And in the same way that you might pitch a business plan to an investor, you need to pitch a sponsorship plan to possible companies.
Create A Package
To give your team the best chance of getting a lot of money, you should talk to businesses in a professional and clear way.
That means you need to do your research to know what you want to provide your team with, how much that costs, and how your proposed sponsor can help you actualize that.
Step one is to figure out what your team needs. Before you ask anyone for money, you need to know what your team needs and how much it will cost. It could be money for a new kit or a little extra money to help pay for renting a pitch.
You can then set this out in a package.
This will be your business plan, which you can send to possible investors to get their money.
And you want to be very clear with proposed youth sport sponsors about what they’re investing in, emphasizing the value on your end and what you’ll use their money for.
Most important of all, though, you’ll then need to emphasize what value you can provide to your youth sport sponsors for the money they’ll be giving you.
That’s why it’s beneficial to set out a variety of sponsorship packages. Each package will have a different price and offer the sponsor a different way to advertise or place their logo.
As an example, you could say, “The Ohio State boys soccer team is looking for a new sponsor for the 2021-2022 season to help raise money for a new team kit.”
“The uniforms will cost $1200, and we are looking for a sponsor to cover some or all of that fee.”
You can then provide them with multiple packages tailored to the sponsor you’re looking to approach. For example, a sponsor might want to put their logo on your training kit but only have $600 to spend.
Offering different sponsorship plans is a great way to get more sponsors, and the more you can get, the better.
Don’t forget that you have to convince your potential sponsor why they should sponsor your team and what they’ll get out of it.
For example, tell them about the people who live in the area where you’ll be playing. This is especially important for local businesses that want to get their name out there in the community and the areas around it.
Companies that sponsor youth teams will also need regular updates on how your team is doing. Did they come out on top? This season, how many games have they won? Where are they going to play? The best way to do this is to
You could also tell them how long you plan to use your kit with their logo on it and how many players will be wearing it. That will tell them a lot about how often people will see their logo.
and invite them to watch you play! This will help you get to know your youth sports sponsors better and show them what they’re investing in before they write you a check.
Creating a partnership with a local business can be a great way to get money or even free stuff.
Having a fundraiser or festival day is a good way to get businesses in your area to help your team. Here, you can ask a local caterer to take care of the food while your team is in a tournament.
Then, vendors can sell their food and drinks at the event and give some of the money they make back to the team. You can also use these kinds of events to build long-term partnerships with these vendors, who will now know you well.
Youth sports sponsorships don’t always have to come in the form of a bank transfer.
And some businesses that sponsor youth sports teams may not be able to support you financially but can offer their services in another way.
For example, a rental car service might be able to give you a minibus for the day so that your team can get to an event. Or maybe a fruit and vegetable stand could give you some oranges for your team at halftime.
You could also hold a raffle to raise money. This is an interesting way to make money with little risk. Each organization will buy a ticket in order to get some kind of sponsorship or brand exposure.
The potential gains for these organizations are huge. The more tickets they buy, the more likely it is that their logo will be in the best spot on your team’s new uniform.
So make something! Don’t always try to get big checks.
Sponsoring Youth Sports
If you want to get a good youth sponsorship deal, my best advice is to get to know your sponsors on a personal level. The more they know about you, the more likely it is that they will send you money.
And the better you maintain these relationships with them over time, the more likely it is that they will offer to sponsor you again in the future.
Invite businesses that sponsor sports teams to come watch your team play. Show them what your youth sports program stands for and how it works.
And most importantly, let them know about the good things you’re doing to help kids in the community have fun while exercising.
The more money you have, the more likely it is that you will be able to give your team the best gear possible.
So, to get the most out of your marketing plan, try to use at least two of the ways to get money listed above. Your goal should be to raise funds from as many sources as possible in order to invest more in your team.
Setting up a youth sports sponsorship program can take time, but the benefits are worth it when you see your team having fun in their brand-new gear.