Cheer teams are special: they foster exercise, creativity, and teamwork. The bonds formed within a cheer team can be irreplaceable for those who do not have them elsewhere. As such, consistent funding for your organization is key. Be it for uniforms, travel, or enrichment programs offered to the team, a solid fundraising plan is vital for the survival of nonprofit cheer groups. Here are 20 ways you and your team can bring in donations.
There are a variety of different sales you can have – and they are the easiest fundraisers to host. Our first 4 ideas are easy to run sales ideas for cheer team fundraising.
Shirts? Sweats? Bomber jackets? If it’s branded with your cheer team’s name, it’s bound to be an immediate hit among your team and your team’s friends and family members. Give discounts for the cheer team members themselves. Then, sell full-price to other customers to make a profit. Everyone will be happy to rep their cheerleader.
Pro Tip: If your budget allows, give discounts to family and friends with a “code” they’ve received from their cheerleader. It builds a sense of camaraderie, and discounts are always enticing.
Seat cushions are important when it comes to sitting in the notoriously uncomfortable bleachers. Rather than let the crowd find their own, brand seat cushions with your logo and team colors to sell. It’s a unique piece of merchandise, and no one will doubt who you’re rooting for at cheer competitions!
Put together a basket full of goodies from the corresponding season. Put hand warmers in a winter basket, or flip flops in a summer basket, or tea bags in the fall basket; whatever is relevant, put it in! Invite all members of the cheer squad to find different, inexpensive additions for the baskets, then sell them at a profit. Hint: everyone likes a good snack.
Textbooks are expensive, so a used book sale is the best way to provide to your community and reap the benefits. Those who can’t afford new books will be grateful to have a chance to pay less for their math textbooks.
Pro Tip: You can also sell class notes – just make sure this doesn’t go against your school’s/organization’s policies.
You might not be throwing non-cheerleaders around, but you can still teach all ages a fun cheer! Simplify a routine down to a few dance moves, claps, and cheers, then sell spots to friends and family (and anyone else who’s interested). They’ll get a behind-the-scenes look at the hard work that goes into memorizing and executing routines.
Pro Tip: You can offer different levels of lessons – for example, a Bronze lesson is for beginners, a Silver level is for intermediates, and a Gold level is for advanced.
Make donating personal: for each donation, choreograph a cheer for the donor. You can use their name and any other information you have about them. The more personal, the better.
Pro Tip: If this is too much to take on, you can give donors different prizes, such as sneak peeks of routines that are still in progress.
If your cheer team is registered as a 501(c)(3), share your registry, tax ID number, and organization’s bank number with Facebook. This way, cheerleaders, friends, and family can all host fundraisers for your team. This is perfect around the holidays or for birthdays in lieu of tangible presents.
Pro Tip: Have templates for what you’d like the funder to say within their fundraiser’s description. These can drive donations, so make it impactful!
One of the best parts about Halloween is picking out and carving a huge pumpkin. Take it further this year and host a pumpkin-carving party for kids in the community. For a small fee, parents can drop off their kiddos with your team. Have some snacks and drinks, then provide a pumpkin for each participant. Choose designs and help them carve out the pumpkin of their dreams!
For added fun, you can teach your cheer team choreography to spooky songs – Thriller and Monster Mash, anyone?
Pro Tip: Limit the number of kiddos you take in – you want to make sure there is at least one cheer member per child so they don’t get hurt.
Holidays are always ideal for fundraising – in fact, 31 percent of all annual donations are made in December alone. So, take advantage of these special days! The following three ideas are perfect for holiday fundraising.
Very few people enjoy gift-wrapping – it’s tedious, occasionally frustrating, and not always pretty. Enter: your cheerleaders’ wrapping presents for friends and family. Have people bring in their gifts, then offer to wrap them in an assortment of wrapping paper and ribbons. Either set a price per package or ask for donations.
For a small fee, community members can stop by the gym or studio and create their own ornaments! There are many different ways to create an ornament – let them decorate a bauble, glue together some colored Popsicle sticks, or make some from pipe cleaner if they’re feeling ambitious.
Pro Tip: Don’t attach the hangers until they’re in an adult’s hands. Better yet, use string.
Gingerbread wars are fun for all ages. Set up stations with all of the necessities: the cookies, the gingerbread people, the candy, and the decor. Create a panel of judges (of parents and teachers, for example), then have them rate each entry. The winner gets to eat their house!
Pro Tip: Another fun twist is to try and beat your cheerleaders. Have teams pay for their spot, then compete against a cheer member.
Everyone loves an auction, so consider hosting one online! There are many free auction platforms, such as OneCause or SchoolAuction.net (which is specifically for schools, charities, and nonprofits).
Maybe members of your cheer team have friends and family with businesses who would be willing to donate items such as gift cards, dinners out, or other items. The good news is that with a virtual auction, your cheer team can share the link with friends and family regardless of where they live.
Pro tip: If you are going to need to ship items to the winning bidder, find out in advance what this will cost so that you consider this when you set your minimum bids.
One of the things cheerleaders have plenty of practice with: hair and makeup (just think about all of the performances and competitions they’ve done). It’s no surprise that many others – especially younger ones – want to learn these skills and show off their work.
Have your team teach others how to beautify themselves. Buy clean makeup, or encourage participants to bring their own – you don’t want to spread germs. Doll up participants and take plenty of photos showing off their new looks!
Do you have fans who are dying to be right by the action? Host an auction each month, with the highest donor receiving the “best seat in the house.” You can sweeten the deal by adding in products, such as a drink voucher and cheer apparel (perhaps seat cushions?).
Another late-morning cheer practice? Serve breakfast to friends and family before you take the stage. For a small fee, offer a continental breakfast with pastries, toast, fruit, and coffee to friends and family who stop by or drop your team members off. Want to sweeten the deal? Borrow a waffle maker and bring toppings.
Pro Tip: Some people may have dietary restrictions – make sure you have options for each diet!
Ask for donations through local businesses. Restaurants are ideal to pair with – talk with a higher-up, agree on a percentage that you will receive, and invite friends and family to come and dine during the allotted time. Everybody likes to go out every now and then – especially for a good meal.
Pro Tip: You can also work with smaller, local businesses. For example, see if you can receive a percentage of sales on pom-poms at the local cheer shop for a few hours of the day.
Pep rallies are fun for many reasons. Include your cheerleaders in the festivities and raise funds for the team! Pies to the face are always entertaining. Open up the event with donations. The highest donor is allowed to choose the cheerleader they most want to make a mess of. Bonus: let them be the ones to do it!
While your cheer team may be able to run miles without a problem, hosting walk-a-thons is a classic. Have friends and family members pledge in support of their cheer members. Better yet, invite friends and family members to also collect pledges and walk. Find a place to host the walk-a-thon – like a local park, or a local school’s track – then it’s off to the races! Have prizes at the end, as well as participation trophies.
Pro Tip: Prior to promoting the event in print or online, always confirm whether a permit or special permission is required for the site of your walkathon.
An easy way to bring in extra donations: photos. Take professional pictures of the team, both individually and within the group. Have your cheerleaders dressed in their uniforms, with hair and makeup done, and have different sized options – for example, keychain-sized or 4×6 inches.
Pro Tip: You can also take photos of the team while they’re practicing, on the road, or during a performance. Then, create and sell a photo book filled with memories of the year.
If your cheer organization is filed as a 501(c)(3), you can receive federal grant funding and/or private foundation grants. Do your research on grants relevant to your organization – for example, those for low-income families or homeless youth – and apply to each one. This funding can go toward costs such as coaches’ salaries, uniforms, and/or transportation to competitions and games.
Cheer teams can offer a place of support, camaraderie while building participants’ self-confidence and self-esteem. The inclusivity of a cheer team cannot be replaced, so put your all into raising funds. Your cheerleaders will be forever grateful!
Fundraising is not an easy task. Donorbox can help your cheer team raise funds and also help you with other fundraisers as well. Visit our blog for new fundraising ideas and tips to better your fundraising success.