Fundraising Filter: Roller Derby League
November 18, 2010 5:39 PM   Subscribe

I'm part of a fairly new (7 months old) roller derby league in a mid-sized city (150K+ people). We just had our first bout and were sold out at 850 seats. We are looking for ideas for an event in January that is both a fundraiser and something that will get the community excited for our next bout. We are in the midwest so something indoors would be best. Any ideas from the hive?
posted by hrhcc to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Is your team men or women? (Or both?)
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 5:46 PM on November 18, 2010

We are an all womens derby league
posted by hrhcc at 5:48 PM on November 18, 2010

Could you run a workshop to teach folks basic skating skills?
posted by Narrative Priorities at 6:22 PM on November 18, 2010

Our league just finished its second season with a 2300+ crowd at our venue. Yay! Some of the things we've done for fundraisers and/or community awareness:

1. Meet & Greets at various bars. We'd raffle off merchandise or items donated by league members, hold bake sales and/or chili cook-offs. In nicer weather, we'd skate around the streets handing out flyers.

2. About a month ago we had an exhibition bout at our practice space (a skating rink that caters to kids and families). The kids could run around in the jungle gym and bouncy stuff, get free pizza and soda, and watch an abbreviated bout (2 twenty minute periods).

3. Try to get on the radio. Getting the people on your league who are really knowledgeable and quick with good answers is a good way to get the word out and to dispel the stigma that roller derby has in some places. Some of our skaters are good friends with a metal show on a small station about an hour and a half away; they go on their show almost every week.

4. If there are any city-wide events or festivals, try to get a presence there. We've sponsored Halloween zombie walks, had booths at festivals, etc. (while those were kind of the opposite of fundraisers, it got our message out there.)

5. To go along with Narrative Priorities' idea, we were going to have a "learn how to skate" with a few of the Girl Scout troops in the area, but the summer wasn't the greatest time to do that and we got caught up in other stuff in the fall.

6. Volunteer (in team attire) with different charities around your community. We had a contest this year amongst our teams to see who could contribute the most hours of community service; the winning team got a pizza and laser tag party. Exposure while doing good deeds is great.
posted by Lucinda at 6:37 PM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'm the outgoing league president of a league just finishing up it's fifth season, and have skated since that first season.

Something we came up with a couple of years ago that has proven to be very successful for us is kind of a "2 out of 3" rule -- that is, every event we do should be no more than two of the following three categories: promotional, fundraising, community support/charity. (In the past, we had some things that tried to be everything at once, and the lack of focus made them less successful at each thing.)

I think it's important to prioritize in this type of event as to what is the most important thing: are you really low on funds? Or do you really need the buzz?

The most successful fundraisers we've had in the past year or two have been of the sales variety. We've sold Tastefully Simple products, Tupperware (the most profitable), and a local chocolate bar. If you have a company locally that you could partner with in that regard, it could make a win-win.

As far as bringing people in to promotional events, think interaction. Either some sort of demo (we've done demo bouts, or odd races on skates at already existing festivals and events) or some sort of "compete with the roller girls" type thing (we've done bowling tourneys, scavenger hunts, pool tourneys for this sort of thing.)

And yes, a bar night with a cover charge and a band, where you get to keep a significant portion of the door can be profitable as well -- I just always struggle with how to make it relevant to derby.

Take a spin around other league's websites and see what they've done -- sometimes it's not necessary to reinvent the wheel. Good luck!!!
posted by pixiecrinkle at 7:52 AM on November 19, 2010

Bar nights with a band have never worked well for us especially, though our bake sales were always a hit. We're fortunate that we're in the position that we can mostly fundraise by holding boot camps for other rollergirls at this point, but we did a pub quiz last year that went down really well.
posted by corvine at 9:15 AM on November 19, 2010

Thanks everyone for your input. We've done quite a few of these things such as festival, meet and greets and exhibitions. We haven't done product sales or bootcamps but these sound like great ideas! I wiill take ALL of your suggestions to our events committee. I very much appreciate your input!
posted by hrhcc at 4:26 PM on November 19, 2010

Corvine - what's a pub quiz?
posted by hrhcc at 4:33 PM on November 19, 2010

« Older Help me not brick my KVM!   |   How can I encourage my boyfriend to plan dates... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.