As another school year starts, so does another youth hockey season. And just as predictable as the chill in the air, I once again find myself in hockey rinks, surrounded by not only hockey parents, but soccer moms and dads, lacrosse parents, and football families. Last night we were talking about fundraising for our sports teams, of finding a way to defray some of the costs of all that coaching, equipment, training, and travel. And I can't believe the ideas that I'm STILL hearing.
Here's a brief list of BAD ideas:
• sell cookie dough or candy bars or candles door-to-door
• sell coupon books or cake mix door-to-door
• have a car wash or a big yard sale!
These are the same ideas that parents had when I was a kid. I know from whence I speak; I was the door-to-door, candy bar selling king of Hamilton, Mass. And every year I'd win the contest and get a brand new Titan hockey stick (full disclosure, if it was close, I think my Dad would buy a couple cases of candy bars to put me over the top) .
But now I'm the Dad, I'm the giver. I'm the guy who's coming to the door when your kid knocks. I'm also the guy listening to other sports parents spout their ideas on how to raise money for their teams. And yes, I'm also the guy who has a better idea, one that I've put all my money and all my time behind.
Before I get to that, one more word on what it's not: It's not an electronic version of the same stale ideas. As in, "Hey, let's use the Internet to sell Salisbury Steak through Schwans Cares. Or let's sell coffee gifts cards through Flipgive!"
Really? That's the best you got?
Let me let you in on a secret that's really not a secret at all. No one wants your Salisbury steak or magazine subscriptions or coupon books or even your coffee card. Okay, to be fair, the coffee card is not a bad idea, but you're really mostly subsidizing Starbucks (the multinational corporation takes 95% and gives your team 5%, that's like, 17 cents for a latte and you're not going to drink enough of those to pay for even a bag of pucks).
And I DO resent being asked to buy a bunch of crap to support a multinational corporation.
So, please people, moms and dads and team managers, if you need to raise money for your team, please just:
1. Eliminate the crap that no one wants.
2. Ask me for what you need at a time when I can consider it (don't knock on my door during dinner when I finally get to sit down with my family!). Send me an email that I can consider when it's convenient for me. Not you. You can't have my money and my dinner time too.
3. Tell me why you need some financial help and make it short (because if you take the time to ask me in a way that respects me, and I know you, and it's a reasonable ask, I'm going to give you the money). Don't overthink it. Just be polite.
4. Give me an easy way to give you money, preferably online. On my computer, or my iPad or phone.
5. Keep me posted on how your season is going. That's the only think I really DO want. I want to be included in your story. I want to know how it went, even if it didn't go well.
On second thought, okay, I guess I actually want two things. I want you to see that I've helped a little, and it would be nice if you said thank you.
And one final thing, if you ask me for money on Flipgive or Schwans Cares or GoFundMe, it's probably not going to happen. I've put my life into RallyMe and not only is it the best platform for sports teams, deep down inside I'm still that hockey player kid who was selling candy bars. Which is to say I'm as competitive as I ever was. And our team will play harder for you, and better, and will help you more than any other platform out there.