Luis Arrevillagas

Do you need money? I believe that what you really need is time.

The ever-trustworthy Wikipedia tells us that: “To sponsor something is to support an event, activity, person, or organisation financially or through the provision of products or services.”

The baseball and softball communities in the UK are constantly running some sort of event, or putting on an activity for someone or looking to help a player get somewhere they need to be.  So there are many clubs and teams that could benefit from different products and services that companies big and small have to offer.

During various years of working and volunteering with old and new clubs, teams or league committees, and helping them organise activities and events, there is one question that never fails to appear: “How much is it going to cost and where can we get money for it?”

Where can we get the money?

Most clubs are always looking for a grant, and rightly so, as it has been the way many clubs have found funds over the years.  Others come up with ideas to raise money such as lottery clubs and raffles, and this works well most of the time, but the money raised seems to come mostly from club members or their families. 

Most clubs also have subs paid monthly by members, and this helps to cover the basics of running the club.  However, have we tried to raise money from further afield?  Some clubs have....

Where else can we go for funds?

Surprisingly, for many, the answer is “everywhere” -- and I mean everywhere.  

What am I going to say?

The first thing to do when you set out to raise money is to make a list of the things your club needs.  Make sure you include everything, however small or unimportant you think it may be.  There will always be someone out there who has a soft spot for that one item in your list. 

And be specific.  Do you need an L-screen for batting practice?  Write that down -- and do you have a picture that can go with it?  I am sure you know what an L-screen looks like and what it does, but the director of your local plumbing company who could donate some tubes for manufacturing your own L-screen may want to know that it is a piece of protective field equipment which allows your practice to be more effective as it protects juniors and adults while pitching.

“Could you help us with equipment by supporting us to buy some bats that we need for the season?”  That's £300 for you and me but the owner of your local pub, where you go to after games, will have no idea.  It may be more effective to say: “Peter, we need three Rawlings high-quality bats for our juniors, which we can order online and will cost us £300.  Could you please help towards the cost of them?”

We’re not only talking about equipment.  Does your team need funds to rent a van to take you to next year's baseball trip abroad?  Or to fund your talented players to get to Academy or High Performance Academy sessions, or your coaches to get to coaching courses?  Many companies will see this as long-term investment in your club.

And why not go big?  Do you know someone who works in a big corporation who could pass your request to their manager or CEO?  And you don't actually need to know anyone -- big corporations often have foundations, such as the ASDA Foundation, that might be interested on helping if they are local to your club.

Am I begging?

You can call it whatever you want, but the best outcome is for both parties in a sponsorship arrangement to be happy.  Your club will greatly appreciate the much-needed funds but the benefactor needs to feel glad they have been able to help.

We are not talking about whether companies can deduct the value of their donation from their profits and therefore pay less tax.  They will of course be aware of that, but most people are just happy to help.  One of my favourite quotes is from Steve Jobs, below:

Steve Jobs Quote

Have we had some success to share?

I am sure there will be clubs all over the country reading this and saying, “Yes, we have done that, and we got so much from such and such company in the past.”  But are we all devoting enough time and effort to looking for sponsorship for our clubs within the private sector?

With a bit of work, the Manchester Indoor Softball league has secured over £1000 to help run its autumn season.  This is an innovative sponsorship deal with HOME, a local estate agent, who are providing HOME Run signs for the venue and every time one of them gets hit the batting team will scored double runs on the play.

The Urmston Rippers Softball Team just secured their playing kit from local and national printers Midshires Ltd, and the baseball/softball sessions planned in Trafford for children in Years 3 to 6 of primary school will get their playing kit from a local estate agent.

A few years ago, Ioan Said contacted Majestic Athletics and was able to dress his youth baseball team with beautiful Majestic uniforms.

When should I start and how long will it take?

Start yesterday.  Just think who were you talking to yesterday and see if that person could connect you with someone who could help to fund your club.

It will take you as long as you want to do it for. 

Many years ago, while studying at the Henry Ford Community College in Dearborn, Michigan, I had the opportunity to work alongside the person responsible for fundraising for the college.  They had a great idea for a programme they wanted to fund to develop a new area of the campus.  They encouraged people to buy a brick which would bear their name (or the name of the person they wished to appear on the brick) on a wall at the front of the new building.  The bricks were sold for different amounts (gold, silver etc) and the funding opportunity lasted for three years, before and during the time that the new building was being built. 

What should I do next?

Do two things which will set you off in the right direction:

1 -- Write down a detailed list of what you need.
2-- Write down a list of companies you could approach, and work hard to get a contact name for each of those companies.



Yes, we do need money to build our clubs, but we need time to look for that money.  Find the time – and if you can get more people onto your Club Committee, your time will be multiplied. 

I wish you the best of luck, and a happy and productive off-season!

tagged under: baseball, softball, funding, sponsorship

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About Luis Arrevillagas

Luis Arrevillagas

Luis Arrevillagas is the North West Development Manager for BaseballSoftballUK.  Born in Merseyside, he moved to Venezuela when he was two years old and grew up playing baseball from a young age.  Luis moved back to Manchester after finishing university in 1997, and completed a PGCE and taught Languages until 2007.  He has been working for BaseballSoftballUK since 2008.  Luis has played baseball and slowpitch softball for a number of British clubs and teams and was part of the first Team Europe men’s slowpitch team to compete against the USA and Canada in the 2014 Border Battle.  Luis is a qualified European slowpitch umpire and also runs an Under-8 tennis team and helps coach at his local Rugby Union club.

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