Children’s kickball game sponsored by top-rated pressure washing company in Buford

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As the leader of a league or club, you want to do everything for your young athletes. But funds can be tight. The good news is that you don’t have to fund your organization solely with player registration fees. It doesn’t take much work to find businesses that support youth sports and help your teams.

Where should you start? Companies of all sizes contribute money and time to youth sports. One of the first sponsors we took on is a residential driveway and sidewalk cleaning company out of Georgia. First, look to local organizations as potential sponsors. Once you’ve set up your local sponsorship program, look to professional sports organizations and national brands for grant opportunities for your organization.

Get creative and set aggressive goals to get new sponsors every season! While financial sponsorship should be your top priority, you can partner with businesses to reduce your costs in other ways through field improvements and equipment donations.

Every dollar you save can help keep registration and equipment costs down, giving more kids access to sports programs and improving your community’s overall youth sports experience.

Getting local businesses to sponsor your youth sports program

Local sponsorship is a great financial opportunity for any youth sports organization. On a busy Saturday, visit any municipal sports complex and look around. You will likely see banners advertising local businesses on playing fields. Check the backs of the players’ team shirts. Again, you’ll find local business names on display.

Local businesses are the most ardent annual sponsors when it comes to youth sports. Typically, local entrepreneurs have strong ties to the communities where they do business. They may have even coached, volunteered, or let their children play in regional leagues or clubs. It is normal for them to want to give something back.

Approaching small businesses for donations is a must for a successful sponsorship program. Here are a few tips for building your sponsorship program for your next season:

Write a donation letter.

How do you reach local organizations for sponsorship? Again, a personal approach works best. Make a list of target donors and get the names of the most important people from their websites. Ask around about the competition. Find out who knows people affiliated with potential donors and work through them for an introduction.

You can also send a donation letter to request sponsorship. Make sure your letter outlines your organization’s goals, and the impact sponsorship has on the community.

Need help writing a donation letter? See how to write a donation letter for youth sports.

Explain the value of sponsorship in detail.

Also, be sure to explain the direct value of your competition to the sponsor. Let potential sponsors know if they will receive signage, advertisements on your website, or other promotions. Remind them of the goodwill and brand awareness they can generate. And don’t forget the potential tax write-off for making a nonprofit donation.

Your website can be a great place to show off your local sponsors all year long, and it can help you make money.

Contact board members, coaches, and parents.

Does someone from your league or club work for a company you want to sponsor? Find out if they can submit donation requests to their employer. Companies also often make matching contributions. With that approach, the employee makes a donation, and the company doubles it.

Every sponsorship helps keep costs low. This can even be a powerful motivator for companies looking to sponsor youth sports. Let people know how their contributions directly affect the youth in the community. You can fund more scholarships and control participation costs. And that can help make the sport more accessible for children and families.

Once you’ve built momentum with your local sponsorship program, consider whether there are national sponsorship or grant opportunities for your organization.

Identify national corporations that support youth sports.

Many nationally known brands have active charitable programs. Often, these companies provide funds to youth sports organizations. These contributions help businesses build brand awareness and goodwill in local communities.

Which companies donate to youth sports programs? Here are a few who have ongoing support or have sponsored youth sports in the past:

The Nike Community Impact Fund

Nike offers scholarships and donations to youth sports organizations, schools, and community sports programs as part of the Nike Community Impact Fund.

The Nike Community Impact Fund focuses on communities where Nike has offices: Portland, Brooklyn, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, and several others in the US.

Nike also has a Mid-South Grants program that supports organizations in Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi. The Mid-South Grants are aimed at organizations that give underprivileged children the opportunity to reach their potential through sport.

If you think your organization is eligible for the Nike Community Impact Fund programs, visit their website or apply online!

Baseball and softball for young people in Chevy

Chevy Youth Baseball and Softball are one of the most well-known youth sports sponsorship programs. Since its inception in 2006, the program has supported more than 26,000 youth sports leagues in the US.

The program offers free clinics to players and also donates equipment. You can find more information or register a player for a clinic at Dick’s

Sporting Goods Sports Matter Program Dick’s

Sporting Goods Foundation provides funding and grant opportunities for youth sports organizations in all 50 US states.

Some of the requirements are:

  • must be a 501(c3) organization. 
  • It must be in a community where Dick’s has a shop. 
  • A team youth sports focus is required.

To request support for your program, visit

Xenith Sponsorship for Youth Football.

Xenith supports youth football at all levels. If you have a growing youth soccer program or are hosting a major post-season youth tournament, you’ll need to fill out Xenith’s sponsorship application.

If you are an individual or a coach, you can also join the Xenith MVP program and earn rewards by purchasing Xenith products and spreading the word.

Buffalo Wild Wings & The Boys & Girls Club of America

Buffalo Wild Wings and The Boys & Girls Club of America are collaborating to expand flag football, basketball, soccer, and volleyball programs at Boys & Girls Clubs across the country.

If your sports programs are affiliated with the Boys & Girls club, make sure you take advantage of the financing options for your sports programs!

Youth football sponsorship is a priority.

In 2017, Target was committed to supporting the growth of youth soccer in the US. The program gives grants to soccer programs and gets money from the US Soccer Foundation to build new fields.

Target made a $14 million commitment to youth soccer through two new national initiatives: an $8 million local soccer grant program and a $6 million partnership with the US Soccer Foundation.

Verizon Foundation Community Grants for Youth Sports

Verizon gives grants to local charitable organizations. If you’re hosting a major event or competition that will impact your community, get in touch to request support from Verizon.

You can contact a local Verizon representative through their Grant Application page.

Scotts Baseball Field Renovation Program.

In 2021, Scotts and MLB created the Scotts Field Refurbishment Program to help youth nonprofit baseball or softball programs in need of a field renovation. Subsidies are awarded to sports programs to provide children with a modern and safe playing field. In 2021, the applications were accepted in the spring.

Nice Dr Pepper Let’s Play Fund

Let’s Play is a program created by Keurig Dr Pepper and Good Sports to provide sports equipment grants to youth organizations.

Approved applicants will receive up to $10,000 in new sports equipment and apparel to support their organizations. Apply online at the Let’s Play Application site.

Sponsorship of a Publix Event

Publix focuses specifically on event sponsorship for local sports organizations. If you have a big one-day tournament or event at the end of the season, think about getting Publix to help pay for it.

Partnerships with Gatorade Youth Sports

Gatorade offers opportunities to donate sports drinks to local events. They only accept applications for youth sporting events, so make sure your event or program is focused on supporting children in your community.

Visit the Gatorade Youth Partnerships website to apply for your program! The Road

Runners Club of America

Since 2007, the Road Runners Club of America and Kids Run the Nation have assisted running clubs, schools, and nonprofit organizations in establishing youth running programs. Funds can be used for a wide variety of expenses, including hydration supplies, athlete snacks, park permits, facility rentals, and website hosting.

Grants of $500 to $1,000 are awarded to youth running programs in the US.

If you want to start a new ongoing program or need help funding your existing program, consider applying on the RRCA website.

Once you’ve applied for sponsorships and grants from national companies, you should research professional leagues and local professional teams for support.

Explore professional leagues that support youth sports.

Many professional sports leagues want to share their love of the game with the next generation of athletes. These are some of the most active programs in the US.

The NFL Foundation

On a national scale, the NFL Foundation provides funding for youth and high school programs. In addition, the foundation supports clubs, coaches, and players who share the sport with young people.

The MLB Play Ball Program

MLB Play Ball program helps provide resources for youth baseball and softball programs. Resources include sponsorship programs, free content for players and parents, and educational resources for coaches. Learn more about MLB Play Ball Partners at

MLB Players’ Association Youth Development Foundation

The MLB Players’ Youth Development Foundation focuses on increasing participation in youth baseball and softball. Organizations in the US and internationally are eligible for grants from the foundation, and new grants are approved throughout the year.

Read more about the application process at

The Jr. NBA

The Jr. NBA offers a wide variety of resources to help you build and grow a youth basketball program. Possible membership benefits include

  • Access to regional events
  • Discounts on uniforms and other competition-related equipment 
  • Free curriculum for players and coaches 
  • Coach licenses and training
  • Access to grant financing
  • Discounts for players and parents in the NBA Store

How to Play NHL

NHL Learn to Play program offers young players ages 4–9 the opportunity to begin their hockey journey. Learning-to-play programs provide equipment to athletes at events and target athletes who are new to hockey or who are beginners.

Events are usually once a week and last 4–8 weeks.

Find professional teams supporting youth sports in your area.

Almost every professional team has some kind of program to support youth sports locally. Be sure to check out the professional teams in your city to see what kind of current programs they have. In most cases, you’ll need to apply for grants and sponsorships at a specific time of year, so be sure to do your research well in advance of your season.

Read more about some of the professional teams that support youth sports below. Can’t see your team? Try googling the team name and “youth sports” to see if they have a history of supporting youth sports in your area.

Creative ideas to get more sponsors

You have to be a little creative to get the most out of your sponsorship program. Make sure at least one person on your board is responsible for sponsorship and fundraising so that they can spend their volunteer hours building relationships with sponsors.

It’s also critical to make it easy for people to become sponsors. For example, asking parents if they want to sponsor during registration is a great way to quickly get a handful of new sponsors. You can automatically add the appropriate amount to their fee so that they can pay for their player registration and sponsorship in one go.

The last question on your registration form can be a friendly request for sponsorship!

And remember that organizations may not always be able to make a cash donation but can help in several ways. Give companies in your area a variety of ways to contribute, even if they can’t make cash contributions.

Some impactful ideas to consider include:

  • I’m partnering with a company to host a ghost night fundraiser. This activity allows organizations to offer a portion of the purchase on a specific date in your league. 
  • Local organizations are asking their employees to voluntarily clear up for field clearing days prior to the season. Many companies find that volunteering together is an excellent morale-building activity and a fun way to make an impact on the community.
  • Requesting goods for competition events A grocery store may be willing to donate hot dogs or ice cream cups for, say, league celebrations.

Any of these ideas can help your league or club save or secure money. And that allows you to spend more money serving your young athletes.

Helping your youth sports program find new sponsors

There is no doubt that budgeting for youth sports teams is challenging. The registration fee may not be enough to fund your organization, and you may feel compelled to develop the program further without increasing costs for youth participants. 

Attracting sponsors is essential to the success of your competition. In addition to fundraising through grants, sponsors should be a critical part of your competition budget. 

Your sponsor pool may be small at first, but it will inevitably grow over the years. Over time, you will likely see many sponsors return. They’ll start putting your league or club into their annual charity budget and won’t hesitate to offer support.

Once you’ve reached that stage, you can work on growing your relationship with existing sponsors as you expand into new ones. You will likely need a designated sponsor manager on your board to oversee the process and manage relationships. A sponsorship program can take time and energy, but the rewards are worth it!

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