Cheer Fundraising Ideas: An Ultimate Guide to Cheerleading Fundraisersmeta>Cheer Fundraising Ideas: An Ultimate Guide to Cheerleading Fundraisers

Cheer Fundraising Ideas: An Ultimate Guide to Cheerleading Fundraisersmeta>Cheer Fundraising Ideas: An Ultimate Guide to Cheerleading Fundraisers

Behind the smiling faces of your local cheerleaders is a mountain of financial demands. From squad fees to travel and equipment costs to custom uniforms, cheerleading is estimated to be one of the most expensive sports students can play. Sideline cheerleaders for sports like football and basketball might only face fees of around $300, but competitive cheerleaders can pay between $2,000 and $3,000 dollars per season.

As with all sports and hobbies, funding for these cheerleaders must come from somewhere. Often, cheerleading teams are associated with public schools with a limited budget provided by the booster club. Many competitive teams, however, are private and receive no outside funding.

With such a heavy price tag, many parents are hesitant or simply unable to allow their children to participate in cheerleading. For these reasons, many cheerleaders in public and private settings turn to fundraising ideas to cover the cost of their season. Fundraising takes the financial burden off of parents so they can enjoy watching their children cheer and can be a great opportunity to learn new skills.

You’ve probably seen your local cheerleading squad host a car wash fundraiser, but there are many other creative fundraising ideas to consider. From sweet treat sales to fun team bonding fundraisers, we’re here to fill you in on all the cheerleading fundraising ideas.

Product Sale Fundraiser Ideas

A classic fundraising idea to consider is product sales. One of the greatest times to do this is at the beginning of the fall cheerleading season when people are thinking about holiday shopping. Imagine your cheerleader approaching friends and neighbors with a beautiful catalog of gifts their relatives actually want to receive. The squad gets the funding it needs for the cheerleading season and the buyer gets a head start on their shopping!

A few of our favorite product sale fundraisers are:

Cookie dough. Cookie dough fundraisers like Mrs. Field’s Fundraising and  ABC Fundraising offer a variety of delicious cookies for cheerleading supporters to purchase. There’s typically no up-front cost and the cookie dough arrives either in frozen pre-portioned cookies or a tub for individual scooping. These cookie dough boxes make great gifts and are wonderful for families.

Candy Bars. There’s nothing like a decadent candy bar for chocolate connoisseurs. Candy bar fundraisers like World’s Finest Chocolate and $1 Chocolatiers Candy Bars offer a variety box of individually wrapped chocolate to be sold as single units for only $1 or $2. This means cheer supports on limited budgets, or those with small families, don’t have to commit to a large quantity of anything. Plus, cheerleaders sell on the spot, so there’s no delivery after fundraising.

Popcorn. Popcorn sales fundraisers like City Pop and Popilicious are a delicious fundraising option to satisfy both the savory and sweet cravings of their supporters. Cheerleaders keep about 40% of the profits and their supporters receive a delicious treat for themselves or loved ones.

Event-Based Cheer Fundraisers: the Classic Bake Sale, Car Wash, and More

For cheerleaders who aren’t too keen on selling, we have a few fun event-based fundraising ideas. Event fundraisers, while financially beneficial, also provide team bonding opportunities and are a great way for cheerleaders to engage with their communities.

Car washes. This is probably the oldest cheerleading fundraising idea in the book, and for good reason. They’re a great pre-season service to offer the community and can be set up in the school parking lot. The only supplies needed are soap, water, brushes or rags, and a cheerful attitude. Some customers might even give you an extra donation.

Bake sales. Bake sales are a great cheerleading fundraising idea the entire family can participate in. Ask the family of each cheerleader to contribute a few homemade baked goods to sell in individually wrapped packages. Bake sales can be included alongside car washes or even cheer events like Friday night football games.

Cheer clinics. Another creative, team-building event fundraiser is cheer clinics. Cheerleading clinics, similar to cheerleading camps, are an interactive fundraiser that serves the next generation of cheerleaders. There's nothing like peer-to-peer bonding to bolster community spirits! To host a cheer clinic, advertise at your local middle and elementary schools. Cheerleaders and coaches teach younger girls and boys cheers, stunts, dances, and chants. You can typically utilize your school or cheerleading gym, so all you potentially have to purchase are a few refreshments for attendees. The rest of the profits are yours.

Online Fundraising: Crowdfunding, Sales, and the New Silent Auction

If personal sales and event-based fundraisers aren’t a good fit for your cheerleaders, or you need to make ends meet mid-season, consider an online fundraising platform. Online fundraisers require no inventory or personal investment and can typically be operated hands-off. A few of our favorite online fundraiser ideas are:

Crowdfunding campaigns. Using an online, donation-based crowdfunding platform allows you to receive donations without selling or providing a service. After finding the right platform for your team’s needs, all you do is draft a compelling, personal story of who your team is and what you are raising money for. Then, add a few pictures, and voila! You are ready to collect donations.

Online merchandise sales. Many of the sales-based fundraising ideas mentioned earlier offer online sales opportunities. This means your team can sell everything from frozen cookie dough to wrapping paper without going door to door to sell or deliver orders. The profit goes directly to your team's bank account.

Silent auctions. Gone are the days of setting up elaborate baskets in the school cafeteria for people to bid on. These days, to host a stellar silent auction, all you need is an all-inclusive nonprofit CRM like PayBee to auction off quality items to the supporters of your team.

Local Cheerleading Fundraising Ideas: Sponsorship and Partnership

Another way to involve the community and peer groups in fundraising is through local business sponsorships and partnerships. It’s easy to be intimidated by approaching local business owners for a donation, but don’t let that stop you. Partnering with teams and clubs is as beneficial for the business owner as the team. When sponsoring a team, businesses receive advertising, new patrons, and tax write-offs.

Consider asking local business owners for:

Sponsorship: Business owners can provide uniforms, equipment, and even travel fees. They can also provide volunteers to help at event concession stands or bring team snacks. In return, the business owner is often given space on the uniform or the facility to advertise their business, and a plaque with the team’s picture at the end of the season to display in their business.

A percentage night at their restaurant: Restaurant owners who host a percentage night or spirit fundraiser give a percentage of their sales back to the team. When hosting a percentage night fundraiser, cheerleaders should advertise to their peer groups, family, and community on which night the event will take place. Restaurants that host a spirit night receive an increase in revenue, new patrons, and stronger relationships within the community and you receive a nice profit for your team.

Theme Nights: a Unique Cheerleading Fundraiser

Theme nights are a creative way to bring families together for a good cause. You can even combine a theme night with a bake sale or sell raffle tickets for extra income. A few of our favorite themed ideas are:

Movie nights. Movie nights are a great family-friendly way to raise money for your cheerleading team. Cheerleaders can sell tickets in advance or at the door. Advertise in local papers and online the time and location of the event and what movie will be shown.

When possible, host a movie night outside. You can display the film on a projector and encourage families to bring chairs, blankets, and cushions so everyone is comfortable. This is also the perfect time to sell spirit wear, popcorn, ice cream, and beverages for extra funds.

Talent shows. Talent shows are a fun and free way to showcase local talent and raise money for your cheer squad. You can utilize your school gymnasium or team facility, sell tickets in advance or at the door, and have snacks and spirit wear available for purchase.

Make sure to get the cheerleaders involved in the show so patrons remember who they’re supporting. Cheerleaders can showcase an act during the show, serve as the show’s presenter, and sell merchandise.

Fitness Challenge: A Fundraising Idea for Athletic Enthusiasts

Host a Cheer-a-thon. A cheer-a-thon fundraising event is exactly what it sounds like. It's a day when cheerleaders cheer all day long. Like talent shows and movie nights, cheerleaders should sell tickets to the event in advance and at the door. Challenge other local cheer squads to join you. The last team standing wins!

Feats of Strength. Local fitness enthusiasts love participating in fundraising events that involve runs, triathlons, and obstacle courses. With the help of local authorities, you could host a local 5k run or walk through part of your hometown. Runs are great to host in the fall when it isn’t too hot and participants can enjoy the changing leaves.

Triathlons are better held in the summer since they traditionally involve water, but don’t feel held back by your region. A triathlon can involve any three kinds of activities such as running, biking, push-ups, sit-ups, or even rock climbing.

Obstacle courses like the Ironman race are perfect for elite athletes or can be scaled down to American Ninja Warrior Jr. style to involve younger kids. Fundraising participants can purchase tickets to enter the race and wear t-shirts that advertise the local cheer squad.

Spirit Wear Fundraising Ideas

Customized spirit wear is a great fundraising idea that isn’t just for cheerleaders. Family members and spectators love supporting their team with personalized merchandise like t-shirts and car decals. You can set up a spirit booth at games and competitions or even sell online. A couple of our favorite personalized merchandise products just for cheerleaders are:

Custom cheer bows: Custom cheer bows from brands like Kenz Laurenz and Omni Cheer are cute, inexpensive ways to help your team raise money. Build an inventory of bows in your team's colors to sell at events. And make sure to get some small bows for the younger fans!

Personalized tumblers. Is there anything better than a tumbler full of your favorite warm beverage during a chilly football game? Actually, yes! A tumbler personalized with your team’s colors and mascot is the perfect accessory for any spectator. Tumblers are a product that has grown in popularity recently and can be sold alongside bows and t-shirts to raise money for cheerleading equipment. Check out Vistaprint and Totally Promotional for bulk team tumblers. You can also source the manufacturing of tumblers to local crafters and make it a community event.

Tips for Successful Cheerleading Fundraising

  1. Engage your community.
  2. This might come as a surprise, but your community members care about your cheerleading team. They may not make it to all of the games or competitions, but local teams are an integral part of every town, and people want to support them. Maybe they just aren’t sure how.
  3. Building relationships with local businesses is a great way to strengthen community bonds, build team spirit, and raise money for your cheerleading team. When you ask a business owner to sponsor your team or host a spirit night, you’re not only conveying to them that you value the service they offer, but that you want to help them thrive. Remember, you’re advertising for their business so they benefit from the relationship as well.
  4. Local restaurateurs aren’t the only ones who can support your team. Local crafters can make custom tumblers, bows, shirts, decals, and more! When you utilize local crafters and family businesses instead of online sources, you’re pouring money back into the community that values your team as much as you do.
  5. You might be in competition with other schools and teams, but that doesn’t mean you can’t collaborate with them. Really, you can! Because you’re all working toward the same goal: providing quality equipment and resources for a team of people you love. Bring in other teams to host a cheer-a-thon. Invite other local cheerleading teams to join your 5k fundraiser. Healthy competition is good, but friendship lasts a lifetime.

 2. Utilize Social Media

Promotional fliers and newspaper advertisements are still useful tools for spreading the word about your cheerleading fundraiser, but an easier, cheaper, and more efficient platform is social media.

Studies show the average person spends about two and a half hours on social media per day. That’s the perfect window to advertise your car wash, restaurant spirit night, or obstacle course! If you aren’t sure where to start with social media, you’re not alone. But we have a few tips to get you started.

Start by creating an Instagram and Facebook page for your cheerleading squad. Include pictures of your team, upcoming events, and the goals you’re working toward. Then, start posting about your fundraising events! The great thing about Instagram and Facebook is you can link your accounts. That way, when you post to one, it will automatically post to the other. That saves you valuable time and reaches users of both platforms.

In addition to sharing information about your fundraising ideas and how people can support you, share about the goals your cheerleading team reaches. Let the community know how their support of your bake sale purchased new team bows. Show them the beautiful uniforms you were able to purchase with the help of a local donor. Create a photo collage of your team winning a trophy at their last competition. The community wants to cheer you on!

3. Set Clear Goals

When fundraising, make sure to set clear, achievable goals. Make a list of all the equipment and attire your cheerleaders need and what each item costs. Share this with your team members and their parents so everyone knows the upcoming expenses.

Setting achievable milestones not only sets realistic expectations for the team but also helps you know when you reach your financial goals. Without goals, you might feel like you’re treading water, never making any progress.

When you know exactly how much money needs to be raised, look through the above fundraising ideas and talk it over with your team. Which ideas are most accessible for your team? Which options can you involve the community in?

As you carry out your fundraiser, track how much money you raise. Spend the money exactly how you planned. And be sure to celebrate your milestones. Wear your new uniform on game night. Post a picture of them on social media. Thank your sponsors and donors.

Overcoming Fundraising Challenges and Limited Budgets

Nobody has an unlimited budget, but some teams deal with especially small resources. Don’t be discouraged if you find yourself with more needs than funding. Chances are, you have more at your disposal than you realize. And we don’t need quite as much as we think we do.

Identify what your team really needs. Make that your top fundraising priority and reevaluate the rest.

Does your team really need new uniforms? Maybe the ones you already have just need some TLC. Professional dry-cleaning services are far cheaper than brand-new uniforms. If some of them are looking a little worse for wear, seek the help of a seamstress. You might even have a parent or grandparent of a team member who can lend a hand.

Pick a fundraiser with little to no start-up costs, like hosting a bake sale or selling cookie dough. You could even host a team-wide yard sale in which all of the profits go to the team, and families get to de-clutter their homes. Another win-win!

And don’t be afraid to approach local businesses for sponsorship. Business owners are happy to contribute to their community.

Ensuring the Participation of Your Cheerleaders

Working together as a team is invaluable when fundraising. Not only does team cooperation increase profits and lighten the overall load, but it’s also an opportunity for team bonding and skill building.

If you encounter a little pushback from team members, it may not be because the individual is unwilling to raise money. They may have never put themselves out there in a sales or lead role before and could be feeling insecure.

To motivate hesitant cheerleaders, try:

  • Mock sales pitches. If your team is doing a sales-based fundraiser, create a casual script and let the cheerleaders practice selling to one another. Help them understand the product they're selling so they feel confident before they approach customers.
  • Change-up assignments. If you have a cheerleader who is hesitant to handle money, like in the case of a bake sale or car wash, they might be better suited for a behind-the-scenes role. Let them do some of the manual work (like baking or washing) or ask them to create posters advertising the event and ask someone else take payments.
  • Set clear goals. Instead of showing your cheer team a picture of what they’re working toward, have the product present. Show them a sample of that new uniform, sweatshirt, or bow to get them excited about fundraising.

The expression “little hands make light work” isn’t just for cleaning up a kitchen. When selling cookies, washing cars, or advertising on social media, you want to delegate tasks throughout the cheer team to lighten the load. Start by identifying the strengths of each team member. Let your tech-savvy cheerleaders handle social media advertisements. Send your charismatics out with the sales brochures. Let your worker bees scrub cars and sort money. Working with your cheerleaders' strengths will bolster their confidence and your sales.

Case Studies: Successful Cheer Fundraising Campaigns

The Whitehall Ramettes, a team of 11 girls, earned $1,500 selling frozen pizza.

The Whitehall Ramettes, a competitive dance team, employed The Premium Pizza fundraiser from Just Fundraising to cover competition fees. Each team member met the minimum order needed to pay their way to Nationals. They sold almost 200 pizzas and, after shipping costs, made close to $1,500 in profit. Thanks to the pizza fundraiser, the team paid their way to the Nationals competition, covered their hotel cost, and purchased brand-new team sweaters.

The pizza fundraiser offers 40% profits to the participating team and includes 4 different flavors of pizza: pepperoni, baked potato, breakfast, and taco. Fundraising participants sell pizzas in advance to family and friends and deliver the pizzas when they arrive. Each sale includes two nine-inch pizzas to be cooked in the microwave.

Indiana Assault Fastpitch ’06 covered team expenses with $10 cookie dough fundraiser

An Indiana softball team employed the $10 cookie dough fundraiser from Just Fundraising to raise money for their softball expenses. The fundraiser ran just under three weeks, and in that time, this team of 11 earned over $1,800! They reported that the orders arrived quickly and were followed by lots of compliments from their customers.

With this popular cookie fundraiser, team members sold frozen cookies in a variety of flavors like chocolate chip, peanut butter, and M&M and could choose between individual delivery or ship-to-home. The profits from this fundraiser range from 35% to 55%.

FAQs about Fundraisers for Cheer

Still have questions about cheerleader fundraising? We've covered a few of the most frequently asked below.

How can we ensure the safety of our cheerleading fundraisers?

To ensure the safety of your cheer fundraiser, start by choosing a reputable fundraising platform. Reviews on the website are a good start, but it's also a good idea to look for unsponsored reviews  to get the real scoop.

After you've chosen a fundraiser, make sure all of the money goes into a reliable bank account, like the team's checking account. If your fundraiser is collecting checks, make them payable to that account. If you're accepting cash, like for raffle tickets and bake sales, deposit the money as soon as possible to avoid loss or theft. Make sure you record all income to report to the team, school, and IRS if applicable.

What are some low-cost fundraising ideas for cheer teams?

You don't have to feel limited in your fundraising options just because your budget is small. There are plenty of low-cost and free fundraiser ideas just for you. A few of our favorites are:

  • Bake sales. Invite the family of each team member to contribute one or two made-from-scratch baked goods, wrapped individually. Cookies and brownies are inexpensive to make and are deeply appreciated by local people.
  • Car wash. All you need for a good car wash is soap, running water, and a few rags or brushes. Before you purchase anything, ask squad member's families if they have anything they can contribute. Then, check with your local automotive store for donations. This is a very small expense for business owners, and in return, you could display a "Sponsored by XYZ" sign at your event. You could host your car wash for free!

How can we promote our fundraising event effectively?

Social media, social media, social media. It's free, people are already scrolling Facebook and Instagram, and          your team members are probably incredibly tech-savvy. Utilize their skills.

Advertisements in local papers and roadside signs (also free!) are still effective means of advertising, especially for day-of events like car washes and spirit nights.

What are the best online platforms for cheer fundraising?

Looking to host a virtual fundraiser or silent auction? PayBee has you covered! PayBee makes hosting online events a breeze and you don't need any tech skills. Their team will take care of everything.

For sales catalogs, online payments and home-delivery options, we love Believe Kids. Believe kids offers high-quality products people actually want to buy with competitive profit margins.

To host a successful crowdfunding campaign, check out Make a Champ. Ensuring competitive athletes have everything they need to succeed is what they do best.

Anyone Can Host a Successful Cheer Fundraiser

You truly have nothing to lose by fundraising for your cheerleading team. All you really need is a unique fundraiser and a little excitement from your team. Good thing you're a group of cheerleaders!

We hope this article has put to rest any fears you have surrounding fundraisers and limited budgets. There are many fundraiser ideas, like bake sales, car washes, and restaurant spirit nights, that are free or inexpensive. Try starting there. Then, when you feel more confident in your team and your community, explore the sales fundraising options like cookie dough, personalized merchandise, or create an online store.

You can even combine a few different fundraising ideas. Host a bake sale at your car wash. Sell raffle tickets during a Friday night football game. The sky is the limit!

The first step is nailing down exactly what your team needs to raise money for. Be specific. Communicate the goals to your cheerleading squad. Show them what they're working toward, and let them blow you away with their fundraising skills.

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