Go Crazy with March Madness Fundraising

Every March, members of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) take part in a basketball championship tournament. Every March, basketball fans go nuts rooting for their favorite teams.

It's a huge event, right up there with the Super Bowl and the World Series. You might think it would be a bad idea to hold a fundraiser when such a popular sporting event is taking place. We think it's just the opposite.

A big sporting event like March Madness gives you a theme to work with, and an opportunity to appeal to a group of people who might not otherwise participate in your organization's activities. Not only that, it's the perfect time of year to hold a basketball team fundraiser, if you're involved in raising money for a school. Use March Madness as a backdrop, and let the games begin!

Hold a March Madness Party

Who doesn't like to watch a big televised event on a big screen television? Not everyone has one at home, and not everyone can afford to rent one. Pool your group's resources to rent the biggest TV you can find and invite members of your community to come together for sports, food, and fundraising.

Set up a sports-watching party in your group's facility, if you have one. If you don't, see about using a local hall, or even a school gymnasium for your event.

Set up some tables and chairs, all centered around the TV so everyone has a good view of the action. Serve party snacks and beverages like soda or punch. You can even turn it into a big barbecue if your group either has a grill, one of your members can loan you one, or you can rent one.

Recruit a couple of volunteers to do the grilling, and cook burgers and hot dogs. Add some fixin's like pickles, relish, lettuce and tomato, or keep it very simple with just ketchup and mustard. Just don't forget the buns!

Some party supply stores sell plates and napkins with sports teams logos on them, so see if you can find some that match whatever teams are playing on the day of your party.

You can either charge a per-person admission fee, or make your money by charging for the food and drinks. You can also do both to avoid freeloaders coming in just to watch the game, but not buy anything. This is a fundraiser, after all!

Get Your Game On

Watching sports may not always be a family activity. Not everyone is a sports fan, and most small children are unable to sit still for long periods of time. Augment your March Madness party with some good natured competition that everyone can participate in.

This would be especially ideal if your group holds the fundraising event in a gymnasium. Set up the party at one end of the gym, and use the basketball hoop at the other for games. Ask participants to make a donation to join in a friendly basketball game.

Get a little silly with a game of H-O-R-S-E. See who can make the most shots from the free throw line. See who can make the most shots while backing up a foot from the hoop for each shot. Set up a kid-size hoop so any kids in attendance can get in on the fun and not feel left out. Make it an event fun for the entire family, and you'll get a lot more participation.

You can come up with lots of ways to get a fun competition going, and raise money at the same time. Don't forget to provide small prizes for the winners! A competition's not really a competition without a reward.

Take Pledges

If it's not possible to find a venue to hold a party or sports-related event, you can still use March Madness to raise money for your cause. Have the members of your group, and volunteers from your community, take pledges for the number of consecutive baskets they can make, or the number of times they can dribble a ball without losing it. You get the idea.

Come up with something that can be done a number of times that people can pledge to support. Because something like just dribbling a ball can be pretty easy, donors can pledge just a few cents per bounce of the ball, if they like.

This way, your group is raising money, but it's not getting to be so expensive that supporters would back out of their pledges. Be sure to explain how it works so donors understand what they're getting into, and what they're supporting. Then have fun!

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