Hit-a-thon fundraisers are a great way for softball and baseball teams to raise money. Based on non-profit crowdfunding, each hit-a-thon participant in the fundraiser will be raising funds by asking friends and family to donate a certain amount per foot or per hit. Donations and pledges can be collected after the hit-a-thon when the best hit has been recorded or a flat donation amount can be collected at the time of the request.
Now let’s get into how to successfully host a hit-a-thon fundraising event.
Plan Your Financial Goals for the Hit-a-thon Fundraiser
As with all fundraising events, the fundraising goal is the most important place to begin. Decide how much you want to raise and where the funds will be sent. Then review the costs required to host a hit-a-thon fundraiser. One of the best things about hosting a hit-a-thon fundraising event is that the event costs are minimal. Still costs will be incurred and may include the following:
- T-shirts and other prizes for the top fundraisers and best hitters
- Food and drinks for the participants
- Marketing materials (i.e. a crowdfunding website and printing – pledge sheets, posters)
Then decide how much is needed in addition to the costs to successfully achieve the fundraising goal. After deciding on the top-line fundraising goal, establish the registration fee (if any) and the minimum fundraising goal for each participant to successfully achieve the goal. For example, if the fundraising goal is $20,000 and there is a goal of having at least 150 participants, each participant should aim to raise a minimum of $133. Communicating reasonable individual goals provides a higher chance for the participants to achieve their goal.
You’ll need to use a fundraising event budget at this stage of the game, to plan smart.
Secure the Hit-a-thon Logistical Details
Next it’s time to determine the logistics – where and when will the event be held? Here are some items to consider:
- Venue: Reach out to the baseball fields where your team plays to secure the location, date and time of the event. Inquire about a rain date, as well.
- Vendors: Find trustworthy and reasonably priced vendors for the accessories needed for the event, which may include t-shirts, baseball caps and other items.
- Game Equipment: Discuss who will supply baseball bats and balls for the event, if your team doesn’t already have enough of these.
- Field Logistics: Decide if the organization will provide an umpire, dugout coordinator, someone to record distance of hits and outfielders.
- Prizes: Prize ideas can include one for the longest hit and one for the highest funds raised in each age group. If your hit-a-thon is a league event, be sure that teams compete against each other for the most money raised. Also consider other fun prizes that would attract players and raise the camaraderie of the game. Kids love prizes and will work hard to win even a very small prize.
- Volunteers: Establish the volunteers that will be needed for the event, which may include people to register hitters and give out t-shirts, distribute refreshments, set-up/breakdown, record hitting distances, or other necessary tasks. While parents are the first volunteers to keep in mind, check out these strategies for recruiting volunteers.
Plan the Hit-a-thon Fundraiser Marketing Collateral
Once the logistical details are finalized, plan the marketing collateral. This includes the physical flyers, posters and digital banners for social media (i.e. Facebook and Instagram). Flyers and posters should include the time and location of the hit-a-thon fundraiser, registration information, and information about your organization and cause.
Plan out a social media post calendar to promote different posts around the promotion of the hit-a-thon fundraiser, such as stories about the participants, achievements from the funds raised in the past, sponsor highlights, volunteer recruitment and other helpful posts.
Implement Crowdfunding Software for the Hit-a-thon Fundraiser
One of the most important steps of hosting any crowdfunding event is to find fundraising software that can handle the crowdsourcing needs for the event. DoJiggy offers a secure online platform that allows participants to fundraise by sharing their personal fundraising page easily through e-mail or on social media. Donors can give donations and per foot (or meter) pledges and see how far the participant is from reaching their fundraising goal.
Motivate Your Team to Participate & Raise Money
The success of your hit-a-thon lies in your participants’ ability to raise money. Therefore, motivating them is key!
To start – make it easy for them. Most everyone is busy and will want to streamline fundraising efforts as much as possible. Be sure that the registration process is easy for participants and your software can also be used to collect t-shirt sizes and any other helpful accessory details. Then provide them with peer-to-peer fundraising tools to use – don’t ask them to create everything from scratch.
Be sure to let participants and donors know what your cause is – why are you raising money? This isn’t just an obligation, it’s important. Monetary funds may be needed for field renovations and improvements, field and team equipment, team uniforms and travel expenses or other team operating expenses (such as lighting and umpires for games).
Finally, don’t forget to incentivize them with prizes and awards for their hard work.
Reach Out to Potential Hit-a-thon Sponsors
A pivotal step that will help maximize the baseball or softball hit-a-thon fundraising goal is to seek out businesses and organizations to sponsor the event. Whether it’s offering refreshments or snacks for the hit-a-thon, printing services, prizes, other in-kind or monetary donations, anything that helps decrease the cost (or increase the fundraising goal) helps your team reach your goal.
When seeking sponsorships, remember that companies are looking to not only support your sports team, but to benefit from sponsorship. What can you offer them, in return for free pizza for your batters? You can promote them on your website, in emails, with physical banners and flyers. This face-to-face discussion is a great opportunity to find community and local business sponsors for your team in general.
Baseball Team Sponsors
One of the biggest money-makers for baseball fundraising is soliciting team sponsors. Players, coaches and parents can help identify and reach out to local businesses to ask for donations. The team may want to establish various levels of sponsorship and outline the benefits sponsors will receive at each level prior to requesting donations.
A basic sponsorship requires a smaller donation (i.e. $100 – $250). At this level, sponsors receive benefits such as a link from the team website and the sponsor’s logo on the team banner. Offering larger sponsor levels such as a “Title Team Sponsor” can bring in much larger donations ($1,000+). This sponsorship level will receive enhanced benefits such as logo on team jerseys, a featured advertisement on the team website, and recognition on team plaques and trophies. If the title sponsor is a local restaurant, offer to host team parties at their location. This is a great benefit as you’ll be bringing customers in and introducing parents and community members to their restaurant.
Host the Hit-a-thon Fundraiser
On the day of the event, each participant heads to the field to bat at home plate. Based on the age of the participants and how many participants are playing, each player usually gets three to seven hits. Many teams use a tee, to ensure that the length of the hit is the most important factor in the hit-a-thon (rather than the pitch). The ball that is hit the longest is recorded as the best hit for that player.
Older teams can then host a Home Run Derby, similar to the major leagues. This is where the top four players in the first round (or top player in each division) compete to see who can hit the ball the furthest overall. A Home Run Derby also provides an opportunity to build excitement, promote the event to spectators, and sell refreshments.
During the event, the event coordinator should be keeping the pace of the event going so that there is no backlog of participants. Participants should be broken-up in accordance to arrival times to begin registration for their time slot. After their hits, participants should be given a copy of their scores so that they can reach out to their donors, if the donations are based on units of effort (such as feet hit).
Wrap-up Fundraising & Send Thank Yous
To follow-up the hit-a-thon fundraiser, contact the participants to remind them of the final date for collecting donations and to give any helpful tips to finish strong.
Like with every fundraising event, it’s important that your hit-a-thon planning team finishes strong. Send thank you messages to all of the participants, volunteers, donors, sponsors and any other parties that have made the event a success. Let them know how much money was raised and how it will be used. Highlight your top fundraisers and top hitters. Since the hit-a-thon fundraiser happens in staggered time slots, you may need to reach out to the winners of the event to give them their prizes, as well as promoting the winners and event successes through team newsletters or e-mails.
Evaluating the success of the event is another great idea that will help you grow the hit-a-thon fundraiser from year to year, and this is best done within a week of the event to keep it fresh in mind.