7 Fall Fundraising Ideas Inspired by Football

3 min
Football and charity ribbon
Ellie Burke
Ellie Burke

This past football season, NFL fans proved they’re capable of serious social impact.

When Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton threw the touchdown pass that led the Buffalo Bills to the playoffs for the first time in 17 years (the longest playoff drought in “professional American sports” ) Bills Mafia responded in kind. In just four days, 10,000 donors contributed nearly $250,000 (often in $17 increments at a time) to Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton’s foundation, the Andy and Jordan Dalton Foundation.

In this case, the act of giving provided a tangible way to say “thanks.” Your nonprofit can deliver that same sense of tangible contribution to supporters by elevating fun and easy ways to get involved with your work this fall.

The NFL’s regular season is 17 weeks and the entire season lasts into February, culminating in the Super Bowl. That’s plenty of time for your nonprofit to leverage the hype and plan a fun event for your community.

Creative Football Fundraising Ideas

Below are seven quick ideas to help you get started. The key is to identify activities people know and love and consider how to creatively add opportunities to give back.

1. Winner’s Pledge

Ask your supporters to contribute a certain amount of money each week if their team wins a game. You could have people “sign up” for your Winner’s Pledge and receive weekly messages that remind them to contribute and provide them with your campaign link.

2. Powderpuff Game

Cater to your female supporters and get them out on the field to play a game. Charge for admission and consider adding a peer-to-peer fundraising component. Players can create their own fundraising pages and you can award prizes for top dollars raised.

3. Flag Football Tournament

Have teams register, fundraise, and compete in a co-ed tournament. Make sure each team has a captain to help facilitate fundraising efforts. You can also charge for entry at the event, and award prizes for tournament and fundraising winners.

4. Fantasy Football Donations

Millions of fans compete in fantasy football leagues every year. For this fall fundraising idea, ask fans to pledge to donate a certain percentage equivalent of their winnings. Alternatively, you might use email or social media messaging to encourage your community to consider your nonprofit when they set up their leagues. Many leagues not only offer a prize for winning, but a “task” for the losing member to complete. All “losing” members in a bracket might donate an agreed upon amount, for example.

If you’re unsure about your state’s laws around sports betting and contributions to charity, remember to consult with a local professional to avoid any conflicts.

Read Next: 21 Creative Fall Fundraising Ideas

5. Tailgate Event

Grilling and having a good time go hand in hand with football games. Invite your supporters to gather for a pre-game party and charge for entry. To further monetize the experience, you might hold a chili cook-off, a BBQ contest, a best-dressed fan contest, or sell additional foods and drinks.

6. Game Day Viewing Party

Rent a space or invite supporters to your headquarters for a game day viewing party. You might even create an event series for this fall fundraising idea in order to invite as many different fans as possible. Charge a registration fee, serve food and drinks, and consider hosting a day-of auction to add an additional revenue stream.

7. Super Bowl Squares Competition

There are a few different ways to play football squares. Many participate in these competitions in honor of the Super Bowl. Instead of awarding cash prizes for those that buy in to play, ask for donations per square and award donated prizes gathered from local sponsors. Use restaurant gift certificates, tickets to a local event, and the like to encourage participation.

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