After New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady wins a game, he doesn’t go to Disneyland – he goes home to Boston. When Ray Lewis finishes burning his way down the football field, he backs one of his many vehicles into a driveway In Baltimore. After the end of the game, the best of the best put down the ball, hang up the uniform and do what everybody does – they go home.
Every community is a home to a sports hero on some level – whether they are legendary superstars of the national leagues, or homegrown hometown high school sports heroes. Nonprofits can up their fundraising gamesmanship by reaching out to local sports stars and organizations to come up with win-win ideas for everyone in the community.
Get a Move On!
Make exercise and fitness a community affair. While many communities have local centers and classes – they don’t often have the funding needed to promote what is offered so that more members take advantage of programs and services or the equipment is less than the latest available. That’s when working with local public relations and marketing offices for sports team can pay off.
Propose a program to develop classes to honor team members. For example, work with the local World Wrestling Federation to name a weight building class around a member who is a native of your city or state. Do the same to set-up tennis classes, purchase uniforms for baseball little league teams and other sports to honor the legacy of local heroes and make fitness a priority in your community.
“Putt-Putt” Golf and Community Garden Center
Some communities have more vacant lots than they have places for residents to buy fresh vegetables. That’s how a “Putt-Putt” Community Garden Center can help. Work with local and even national golf sports legends to create a miniature golf course on vacant properties. Decorate the course with trees, foliage and flowers.
Plant a community garden to landscape the grounds. Sell fresh fruits and vegetables to members of the community. Make the project family friendly. Invite adults and children to plant the garden in exchange for free golf lessons and discounts on produce. Involve children in the design of the Putt-Putt Community Garden Center. Teach them about how the foods they eat grow and how Mother Nature does her job. Have them create specialty garden areas, such as a tropical zone, desert flowers, native flowers, perennials, annuals and a vegetable garden for fundraising.
Partner with local university and college cooperative extension offices to plan and design the garden and help the children and adults select the right types of flowers and plants. Seek sponsorships from golf courses, businesses and gardening centers for funding.
Local Legends Sportswear and Gear Shop
Celebrate your local legends. Connect and partner with local real estate agencies, commercial real estate owners and local government agencies to transform unused commercial real estate into a retail sportswear shop. Create T-shirts, jerseys, baseball caps and bumper stickers honoring local sports teams.
Get schools involved. Hold contests for art students to design sportswear that honors sports stars who made it in the big leagues and supports local school teams on every level from elementary school to universities.
Form a partnership with your chamber of commerce and offices of economic development to use the sportswear shop as a means to provide training and job opportunities for members of the community to learn the business side of the sports industry.
Jogging, and Biking and Walking – Oh, My!
Help get folks off the couch and on the path to fitness. Partner with your city and country parks and recreation departments to create jogging courses, bike trails and walking areas. Start neighborhood groups that can buddy-up and exercise together, starting from your organization’s parking lot.
Get local sports heroes involved. Give them opportunities to have paths named in their honor by contributing to the fundraising efforts. Partner with schools, colleges and universities to name the trails after winners of track meets. Name the quarter-mile, half-mile and one mile points after local all-stars. Work with exercise and fitness centers and sporting good stores to sponsor the costs for signage. Get your local television station to televise fundraising events and to promote the grand opening of your jogging, walking and bicycling paths.