Thursday 1 Dec, 2011

Tour Fundraising: Concession Stands and Sporting Events

Rice Krispies treats

In my latest blog, I wrote about one of the most dreaded yet important aspects of organizing and leading student travel; fundraising. When it comes to fundraising, I try to focus more on the quality of the fundraiser rather than the quantity of fundraisers. I just don’t believe in saturating the community with an overabundance of activities asking for financial support. When planning fundraisers, I strive to choose ones that are either unique, fun, or provide a product or service that people would normally look for anyway.

Concession Stands

caramel cornMy Spanish Club will often be asked to work concessions for a single event. I’ve typically found that buying inventory to run one single concession turns out poorly. We spend a lot of our own money up front to buy all of the food and drink items and end up having a bunch left over. In terms of turning a profit, it is very risky and involves extensive preparation. After working the concessions for an all day tournament and making little profit, I usually wish that I had just paid the $50 we made and had the day off. If your group is going to do concessions, I’d like to offer a few suggestions. First, try to schedule several events. For example, instead of working one baseball game, try to work them all. It will be much easier to purchase goods for and you will turn a better profit. Secondly, fight to get the most popular events. It’s obvious that you will sell more if more people are in attendance.

Sporting Events

Living in a small town means attending high school sporting events is a very common pastime, especially on Friday nights. Many people enjoy snacks and treats while watching the big game. We’ve found that buying prepackaged caramel corn and cotton candy in bulk and selling them for a profit has been a big hit. Most of my students attend the games anyway. Instead of asking them to sit at tables and spend their entire evening away from friends while selling our product, they take turns walking thru the bleachers bringing the product directly to the consumers. Since students are taking turns and working together, it is more fun, less time consuming, and it still produces great results. We attend numerous sporting events, community events, and parades throughout the year but basketball and football games are where we make our most money. In a given year, we can easily earn a thousand dollars.

Detroit PistonsI’ve found great opportunities to work concessions at collegiate or professional sports venues. For example, my group has considered signing a contract to work concessions at Detroit Pistons’ basketball games. We would need to sign up for a minimum number of events and bring a minimum number of people. If we do a good job, we earn a percentage of sales from that evening’s event. This fundraiser can earn a group over $1,000 in a single evening and would involve little prep work. If you and your group live close to one of these venues, consider looking into these opportunities.

Many sport and concert venues also offer additional opportunities for groups to make money. Central Michigan University, which is just 15 minutes from us, has groups assist in parking for football games. The groups earn a percentage of the profit received from parking fees. They also have groups help with security and checking bags when entering the stadium. Although this may require the assistance of several adults, it is another way to earn some cash. Finally, some of these venues pay groups to clean up the trash after the events in the parking lot and sometimes even the stadium.

Scott is a high school Spanish teacher and basketball coach. He began traveling with EF Tours in 2001 and has led 8 student tours to various Spanish-speaking countries. Scott strongly believes that student travel builds self-confidence and inspires students to develop and work towards long-term goals.