Crowdfunding: A Perfect Partner For Pro Sports Teams To Engage Fans While Raising Money

For years, pro sports teams have embraced the concept of partnering with charities to give back and improve community relations. It’s now industry standard for pro teams to provide donations, scholarships, and programming for a variety of important causes. In the last few years, the pressure for teams and even the leagues themselves (think NFL’s breast cancer partnership and Cleats for a Cause) to do bigger, better and more public events has increased substantially. Yet, the teams often underperform in a truly important part of these efforts: engaging their fans to help the causes. 

Successful charity campaigns need to feel authentic; they can’t feel like a marketing effort. Done right, charity campaigns rally the community around a cause. That’s where the fans come in. Fans want to help their team succeed, and also help give back to important causes in their community. Clever crowdfunding campaigns are the easiest, most effective way to do this. 

Using sports-oriented crowdfunding websites allow fans to donate directly, but also offer features like “pledging for performance” - allowing fans to donate for each goal, point, strikeout… Thus, aligning the team’s charitable cause and the fan’s desire for performance.

A note to pro team staff, whether community relations - or cause marketing - or corporate social responsibility - here’s how to turn your efforts up a notch by raising more money for your causes and engaging your fans.

  1. Have a Short, Clear Description: What are You Raising Money For And Why it Matters
    What is it you are raising money for or raising awareness about and why. Why is this cause important to the team? Brevity and “to-the-pointness” is important when raising money for causes. Get to it right in the first couple sentences of your online page. This page’s address can be broadcast in a stadium, put on pamphlets at the game, and advertised. Also important: why now, why the urgency? You should be able to explain it in two to three sentences. This short summary makes it easy for teams to engage their fans quickly. 
  2. A Picture Speaks a Thousand Words: People Invest in Personal Stories
    A photo says a thousand words and a short, 3-minute fast paced video is even more powerful (if you can pull that off). The visuals of a campaign have the ability to tell the team’s story quickly. Photos and videos are also great sharing tools, meaning that you can get fans and athletes, as well as the team’s social media platforms, to post and get even more attention. Feel free to use multiple photos throughout a campaign to update fans. Use video for more media attention, offering it up to the media to post along with their stories they might do on the campaign.  This can be highly produced, highly organic, or a fun challenge - think the ALS “ice bucket challenge.”
  3. Set a Goal: Sports Fans Are Competitive!
    It’s so much more fun when everyone is in it together and can see the results in real time. The crowdfunding platform clearly states the goal of the fundraising campaign and how much the team wants to raise. There’s also usually some sort of meter that tells donors and fans how close the campaign is to hitting its goal so that there are no guesses or questions. It’s exciting to check in and see how close the campaign is getting to the funding goal. Fans can check in online, teams can broadcast progress into the stadium during a game, and more.
  4. Share the Campaign with Others
    One of the best and most important parts to crowdfunding is that it is shareable - meaning that it is easy to post across multiple social media platforms. All good crowdfunding platforms should make this easy. For example, on FanAngel, there is a tool on the campaign page that easily allows for posting on Facebook, Twitter, emailing and texting to friends and other fans as well as embedding the direct link to the crowdfunding campaign into another web site. Super easy. This allows for the fans to not only donate and help to raise funds for causes, but also fans can get the competitive juices flowing by challenging their friends and family to donate as well.

Interested in crowdfunding but unsure how it fits into your organization? Contact us - we are always happy to answer your questions and help you design a successful program for your team.