Shooting isn’t a cheap hobby, and when you add competition fees, travel, uniforms, and other expenses for an entire team, we understand that funding is a challenge. SCTP and SASP teams are very fortunate to have generous benefactors in the MidwayUSA Foundation and Larry and Brenda Potterfield, but teams must also consider ways in which they can produce their own funding and increase their self-sufficiency.
Teams generally need funding of two types: operational expenses for the current year’s expenses, and funds that can be deposited into their MidwayUSA Foundation team endowment accounts. Those accounts are designed to ensure your team’s longevity and fund its needs in perpetuity; some deposits are matched, and your team can apply for an annual grant of up to 5% of the account’s balance each year to pay for team expenses.
To encourage you to embark on more fundraising activities of your own, SSSF will be offering you some suggestions over the coming weeks and sharing the fundraising successes of some of your fellow teams. We will be publishing those in our Range Time e-newsletter. But in the meantime, here are some ideas to get you started:
Participate in SSSF promotions – In conjunction with our generous sponsors, SSSF offers fundraising promotions, such as gun raffles, and product discounts for SCTP and SASP teams throughout the year. Watch the SCTP Deals and Promotions and SASP Deals and Promotions pages throughout the year for current promotions.
Participate in MidwayUSA Foundation promotions – The Foundation generously offers promotions throughout the year that provide opportunities to raise funds. The promotions generally provide one or more products to a team that can then be raffled, auctioned, sold, or otherwise used to raise funds. Some or all of the funds are returned to the endowment account and are matched. Learn more about MidwayUSA Foundation promotions.
Fundraising banquets – With some work, these events can be very productive fundraisers. You can raise money at banquets through ticket sales, auctions, donations, raffles, event sponsorships, and other means. Many organizations, including the SCTP, hold profitable banquets around the country. Remember that fundraising banquets tend to become more productive in subsequent years than in the first and often become highly-anticipated social events. They can also be great tools for raising the profile of your team within your community.
Sponsorships – A sponsor can be your team’s best friend, providing anything from funds to uniforms to equipment to raffle items. While businesses that sell shooting supplies are a perfect fit, don’t limit yourself to those. A local business whose owner supports the shooting sports and/or youth activities might be pleased to be associated with your team. Don’t forget that sponsorships are a two-way street; recognize your sponsor’s support at every opportunity, such as on your shooting uniforms, website, and social media.
Affiliate with a shooting club – Sometimes saving money is as good as making money. Having a range where you can shoot at a discount (or free!) can be a valuable asset, especially if it frees up funds that can be used in other ways or deposited into your endowment account. If your club can’t afford to help much in that way, maybe they would consider trading use of their facilities for some work there by your team. Most clubs need trappers and personnel to re-stock clay targets, clean shooting stations, cut grass, and otherwise maintain the facilities.
Solicit donations – Asking for donations doesn’t have to mean standing on the corner with a cardboard sign. Many people who support the shooting sports designate a portion of their charitable donations for shooting-related organizations, and they would be receptive to helping your team if they knew how. Include a “donate” function on your website and in all printed materials, direct people to it at every opportunity, and talk to shooters and hunters you think would be good candidates to donate. If you deposit these donations to your team endowment account in 2015, they are matched 1:1.
Host a shooting event – Some teams host an annual sporting clays shoot or other shooting event as a major fundraiser. Like a fundraising banquet, it offers many opportunities to raise money, such as entry fees, auctions, sponsorships, and donations. It takes the cooperation of a local club, and it can also be an excellent marketing tool for that facility. Be prepared to work hard, but it has the potential to be the most profitable and enjoyable fundraising activity of the year.
Apply for grants – In addition to the grants offered to SSSF teams by the MidwayUSA Foundation, other organizations and foundations also offer grants for the purpose of supporting the shooting sports, developing new programs, or expanding existing ones. Likewise, there are grant programs that support youth programs. Get online and research, research, research. Don’t overlook organizations and foundations in your local area or state that might offer grants that apply to your team and its needs.
These are just a few of the many ways your team might raise funds for operating needs and for your MidwayUSA Foundation team endowment account. Use your imagination! Research other teams’ and other charities’ fundraising techniques that inspire you, and find the ones that best match your team’s circumstances and capabilities.