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Author Topic: Getting Donations For Comps/Test Sessions  (Read 3017 times)

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Offline isakswings

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Getting Donations For Comps/Test Sessions
« on: September 05, 2010, 08:01:25 PM »
I am curious how clubs go about getting donations for competitions and test sessions. My daughter's club has a competition coming up in November. I would like to help them get some donations to help cover the costs of the competition. Her club is very small... so donations would be so very helpful! I have one donation for the club from my work, but I would love ideas of how to appraoch businesses about donating. It was easy for me to talk to my HR at my job, but I know her so appraching her is not uncomfortable for me. Appraoching people I don't know is a different story. I would love any advice you have to offer! I'm trying to do what I can to help them out. For example, has any one ever hit local resturaunts up for food donations? I was thinking for the judges/coaches room? I don't know... just rambling really!

Offline phoenix

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Re: Getting Donations For Comps/Test Sessions
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2010, 08:09:20 PM »
One club in my area charges an additional "hospitality fee" for test sessions. It might be $5.00. They say this is to cover food for the judges/coaches room--but if you have 40 people testing, that's a whole lotta nice food they must be putting out!! Personally I always just figured it was another way for them to get $$$ from us....  >:( 

--especially since every time I've been in that room there's always been a lot of really lovely, homemade food brought in by parents/skaters....not anything the club spent money on.

Offline davincisop

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Re: Getting Donations For Comps/Test Sessions
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2010, 08:18:31 PM »
Your best bet is going to small businesses and figuring out a way to put an ad in some sort of competition program book. :) Or go to a restaurant and see if they'd be willing to provide food for an event like that. But the small businesses will be more willing in most cases to donate rather than large businesses (like cheesecake factory or something, because they have to go through their headquarters I believe, we were always told in my sorority when we were collecting donations for our philanthropy that the big businesses are much harder to get donations from).

Offline MimiG

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Re: Getting Donations For Comps/Test Sessions
« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2010, 08:34:48 PM »
I sat on my previous club's competition committee for years, and the program book is pretty much the best way to get donations for a competition - businesses are used to giving out a few $ and a business card to be printed in the program. Don't forget people in the service/financial industries as well.

For food for the judges/volunteers, we always did well asking grocery stores/supermarkets for bottled water and pizza places for a few pizzas, coffee/donut shops for (you guessed it!) coffee and donuts. We also had a caterer among our skating parents, so they always donated a ton of excellent food (lucky us!)

Phoenix: I don't think our club ever made money on hospitality fees ($5 per skater) - while all the food was donated, we usually had to book extra ice time, sometimes pay for a hotel and other travel expenses for one or more judges, particularly at the high test levels. We also usually gave a small token of appreciation (bottle of wine, mostly) to each judge to thank them for volunteering their time (and often taking a day off work to be there...)

Offline phoenix

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Re: Getting Donations For Comps/Test Sessions
« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2010, 08:58:01 PM »

Phoenix: I don't think our club ever made money on hospitality fees ($5 per skater) - while all the food was donated, we usually had to book extra ice time, sometimes pay for a hotel and other travel expenses for one or more judges, particularly at the high test levels. We also usually gave a small token of appreciation (bottle of wine, mostly) to each judge to thank them for volunteering their time (and often taking a day off work to be there...)

Thank you, I'm glad you pointed that out.

Offline Kim to the Max

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Re: Getting Donations For Comps/Test Sessions
« Reply #5 on: September 05, 2010, 09:00:46 PM »
A different realm, but similar idea...student organizations around here put things in writing to the local businesses. The write the letter on organization letterhead (or university letterhead) and then go in to meet with the manager. That way, if the manager of the business is not in, they can give the letter, plus some larger businesses require things in writing (I am thinking of Meijer in Michigan). I've done some pretty big events and have gotten some pretty big donations. Offer the businesses free advertising in exchange for a donation and they will generally help out even a little.

Good luck!!

Offline drskater

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Re: Getting Donations For Comps/Test Sessions
« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2010, 10:20:57 PM »
OMG-- you "would love to volunteer"???!!!! You want to help fundraise???!!!! Oh you wonderful person, you!  Please use your awesome powers of telepathy and beam that same message to members of my club. I'm drowning trying to do everything myself. If you join my club I will kiss your feet.

Actually I really AM doing the fundraising myself. Yes, as posted above, the program ads are a very easy way of getting $$ from local businesses. Food and drink donations are not difficult to get if you have a big chain store around that has a community program (Safeway and Albertsons help us).

The best piece of advice I ever got is to just ask (you get over the embarrassment fast when you are desperate). Be able to explain exactly what you are asking for and why--be specific about your needs. Have an info sheet or something similar on hand. It also helps to use/exploit the cute kids in your club. People like to help out children, especially those kids who are a worthy cause (and yes people regard figure skating children more positively than you would think...)

Good luck!!

Offline Isk8NYC

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Re: Getting Donations For Comps/Test Sessions
« Reply #7 on: September 05, 2010, 10:51:49 PM »
Our club offers a 1-hour service credit to members who donate food for hospitality.  I'm usually asked for a vegetarian soup.  The Club gives us a credit on the next-year membership fee, so it's a wash.

I think the hospitality fee also pays for things that might not be donated, like paper goods, cleanup supplies, sterno/chafing dishes, hot drinks, bread/rolls, etc.  One club I belonged to was lucky to have members who owned a catering company, so they donated all of their unwanted leftover paper goods/table covers/utensils to the Club.

One of my kids' schools used to have a January drive for paper goods and leftover party supplies for a Mardi Gras schoolwide celebration.  Families were asked to send in any color or kind of stuff left over from their holiday parties.  It was really colorful and fun, very much in keeping with the "use 'em up" atmosphere of Mardi Gras.

Someone on this board said that their club uses an online signup for volunteer positions at events.  Hopefully, they'll repost how they manage it - it sounded innovative and I don't think I could find the original thread in the archives.
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Offline Sk8tmum

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Re: Getting Donations For Comps/Test Sessions
« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2010, 09:52:01 AM »
If any of your skaters have family who run businesses, that is often a good source for donations; many local businesses are happy to sponsor local sports.  We've found that real estate agents in particular are very generous!

Our Synchro team gets a lot of donations from local dentists, orthodontists, etc as well, as skaters tend to be a good target demographic: the synchro team then, at a certain level of $$$, has a wooden plaque made up with a team picture and an engraved plaque thanking for the sponsorship. The sponsor gets to hang it up to show their sponsorship; and they get acknowledgement in programs and in the club hallway.

If you have a club website (some do) - very cheap to plunk up an advertisement or a link to a sponsor site. Zero dollar costs, pure profit.

In terms of hospitality fees .. in our club membership, it is stated that all tests include a $10 hospitality fee. You pay the Skate Canada fee, the ice time fee to cover the ice costs, and a hospitality fee to cover the judge's expenses and the cost of feeding them. Judges here are compensated for their travel expenses, you see, and the club has to pay them for it. There is no option for skaters, they don't pay, they don't test.

Volunteering ... well, it's a culture. We used to get tons of volunteers, then, it dried up. Turned out to be the personality of the person recruiting for volunteers - we went from a bubbly, outgoing person who really honestly appreciated the volunteers, to someone who was a - well - not warm and fuzzy personality. We've got a new volunteer person, it'll be interesting to see if the culture changes.

Offline twokidsskatemom

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Re: Getting Donations For Comps/Test Sessions
« Reply #9 on: September 06, 2010, 11:30:33 AM »
Thank you, I'm glad you pointed that out.
I know we are different than most clubs, but we lose a few thousand on test sessions. We dont charge an extra fee but we should. We pay for three judges tickets,and its very expensive.After we buy the tickets, hotel, rental cars,ice time, it would be nice for the extra 200.00 or so.

Offline techskater

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Re: Getting Donations For Comps/Test Sessions
« Reply #10 on: September 06, 2010, 04:02:00 PM »
I would love to have people who want to get involved as well!  Send them my way!  We struggle with volunteers for our club competition (even families who's kids are skating are reticent about volunteering), we struggle with food donations, everything!  It's always the same group of people who do the work.  Any ideas on how to get people to play nice?

Offline Kim to the Max

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Re: Getting Donations For Comps/Test Sessions
« Reply #11 on: September 06, 2010, 04:13:34 PM »
I would love to have people who want to get involved as well!  Send them my way!  We struggle with volunteers for our club competition (even families who's kids are skating are reticent about volunteering), we struggle with food donations, everything!  It's always the same group of people who do the work.  Any ideas on how to get people to play nice?

One of the clubs in my area requires an additional $100 check when you turn in your membership form. This check is held and if at the end of the season you complete 10 hours of volunteer work (test sessions, competition, etc.), they return it, if not, they cash it.

For my club, everyone is required to help with skate school (LTS) in order to participate in the ice show. Myself and one other are coaches (she is a junior coach), people who are 14-16 can serve as assistants (this year they are making improvements saying that the kids need to commit to the entire session and if they can't be there, they have to find a sub), for the kids who are under 14, they need to help in the rental room or helping the club in another way. I think that the time needs to be equivalent to 4 hours total. This is new this year, so we'll see!!

Offline drskater

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Re: Getting Donations For Comps/Test Sessions
« Reply #12 on: September 07, 2010, 12:31:28 PM »
Perhaps large (and affluent?) clubs have the luxury of making volunteer time and/or donations mandatory. It is a reasonable request. My club is toying with the same idea, but we're small, work in a relatively poor area of the state, and are fearful of losing members.

Some of our members DO offer to volunteer. However, they really don't want to do the "work" duties (like fundraising).

I took over as President after years and years of apathy eroded our club's spirit. I'm trying to change the culture to something more positive.

Offline isakswings

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Re: Getting Donations For Comps/Test Sessions
« Reply #13 on: September 07, 2010, 06:12:40 PM »
My daughter's club is very small and not overly affluent and they have mandatory volunteer time/ 100.00 donation if you do not want to can't volunteer. They started this a couple of years ago when it ended up being the same people who volunteer every season. I must admit tho, I don't think they would hunt us down if we didn't have suffcient hours completed. I think if you help and they see you helping, they aren't going to bother you too much. I'm pretty sure between my daughter and myself, we hit our required 15 hours last year. This season, I am already getting those hours in and plan on helping at the competition in a couple of months too. We should be good before the season is half over. LOL! :) Anyway, just wanted to say that it isn't only the larger or more wealthy clubs that do this. Our club struggles to make ends meet.

Offline davincisop

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Re: Getting Donations For Comps/Test Sessions
« Reply #14 on: September 08, 2010, 12:17:19 PM »
What if for fundraising you do it like you do in school, what I mean is, get the kids involved to fundraise and the one who raises the most money gets a prize of some sort, or a few sessions of free ice time or something?

Offline tazsk8s

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Re: Getting Donations For Comps/Test Sessions
« Reply #15 on: September 08, 2010, 12:31:20 PM »
I would love to have people who want to get involved as well!  Send them my way!  We struggle with volunteers for our club competition (even families who's kids are skating are reticent about volunteering), we struggle with food donations, everything!  It's always the same group of people who do the work.  Any ideas on how to get people to play nice?

Been there, done that!  Our club has always had a loosely-enforced volunteer requirement of 4 hours per family for our annual competition.  The problem was, they put the volunteer sign-up on our membership forms which were due in June.  Our competition was in May, so you'd get people being asked to remember what they signed up for almost a year ago, backing out, kid quits skating, etc.  The first year I chaired our competition we added a section to the entry form for club members to indicate their volunteer preferences, as well as large bold print stating that club members (or their families) entering the competition were EXPECTED to help out.  (I mean, they're going to be there anyway, right?)  I took some flak for it, and there are always people with legit reasons they can't help (hence the "loosely-enforced) but we did seem to have better participation doing it that way. If nothing else it seemed to get the message across that everyone should pitch in rather than leaving it for "someone else" to do.

Offline Isk8NYC

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Re: Getting Donations For Comps/Test Sessions
« Reply #16 on: September 08, 2010, 01:01:10 PM »
I've always found that asking people to do specific things that they might enjoy, with people they might like, really helps the volunteer drought.  Never criticize, even if it means redoing work.  Be sure to thank them afterward, preferably publicly.

I can't see asking for volunteers in June unless the competition were in July or early August.
I like the idea of having it in the competition packet, though I don't know if "outsiders" would volunteer for much.
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Offline twokidsskatemom

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Re: Getting Donations For Comps/Test Sessions
« Reply #17 on: September 08, 2010, 01:11:53 PM »
I've always found that asking people to do specific things that they might enjoy, with people they might like, really helps the volunteer drought.  Never criticize, even if it means redoing work.  Be sure to thank them afterward, preferably publicly.

I can't see asking for volunteers in June unless the competition were in July or early August.
I like the idea of having it in the competition packet, though I don't know if "outsiders" would volunteer for much.
Because we live in a small state, we do help when we travel within state to compete.I also do ask my non locals to help but then these are mainly people I have know the past 7 years.Sometimes you just need to say, we need to feed the judges so bring in.....

Offline techskater

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Re: Getting Donations For Comps/Test Sessions
« Reply #18 on: September 08, 2010, 07:42:52 PM »
Been there, done that!  Our club has always had a loosely-enforced volunteer requirement of 4 hours per family for our annual competition.  The problem was, they put the volunteer sign-up on our membership forms which were due in June.  Our competition was in May, so you'd get people being asked to remember what they signed up for almost a year ago, backing out, kid quits skating, etc.  The first year I chaired our competition we added a section to the entry form for club members to indicate their volunteer preferences, as well as large bold print stating that club members (or their families) entering the competition were EXPECTED to help out.  (I mean, they're going to be there anyway, right?)  I took some flak for it, and there are always people with legit reasons they can't help (hence the "loosely-enforced) but we did seem to have better participation doing it that way. If nothing else it seemed to get the message across that everyone should pitch in rather than leaving it for "someone else" to do.

That's a REALLY good idea - to put a comment on the announcement.  I've seen that with agility trial premiums as well.  While I typically don't fill that one out in advance, I usually do volunteer there for at least one class (even if it's just bar setting) because, as you said, I am already there.

I am in the process of getting volunteers now and the issue is it's typically the SAME people who always do the work!  We need to incent volunteers because the $100 or X hours will cause us to lose members because they can join one of the other clubs in our area for more or less the same price without being "harassed" to volunteer.  The money made at our annual competition goes to pay the balance of club ice and our qualifying level skaters get benefits along with Theater on Ice teams and Synchro teams. 

Offline tazsk8s

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Re: Getting Donations For Comps/Test Sessions
« Reply #19 on: September 08, 2010, 07:55:00 PM »
I've always found that asking people to do specific things that they might enjoy, with people they might like, really helps the volunteer drought.  Never criticize, even if it means redoing work.  Be sure to thank them afterward, preferably publicly.

Totally agree on the "never criticize" thing.  We had someone on our board who was a little too adept at speaking her mind and we had a couple of volunteers decide they didn't need the aggravation.

Quote
I can't see asking for volunteers in June unless the competition were in July or early August.
I like the idea of having it in the competition packet, though I don't know if "outsiders" would volunteer for much.

The form specifically said the volunteer section was for XYZ club members, but we sometimes got a couple of people from out of club to help out as well.  Usually they were parents of kids who skated at that particular rink, whose club held their competition at a rink that was further away/less convenient.  We gladly took whatever help we could get.