It has been five years since Denmark’s last national men’s lacrosse team, and trying to get the first Danish National Lacrosse Team since 2010 back out on the field is flat out expensive. So where do all these costs come from, and how do we cover all these costs? Welcome to a Danish Lacrosse Case Study on How To Fundraise.
We’re telling our story below, and hopefully, it will someday help another new country find ways to pay for their national lacrosse program! #GrowTheGame!
Our trip to the European Championships is budgeted at around $2,000 to $2,500 per player and traditionally our guys pay out of their own pockets. The money will cover the entire training/tryout period, a trip to Manchester to play some warm up games in conjunction with the British National Championships, the actual trip to the European Championships, accommodations, food and team gear.
$2000 might seem reasonable to a lot of younger players whose parents still pay for their lacrosse, or to grown ups who hold down full-time jobs, but most of our squad members are currently university students, and the prospect of shelling out this kind of money is a BIG thing for them.
When we started discussing getting the national team together again back in June 2015 we had around $500 USD in the bank and things weren’t looking good. However, we are a resourceful bunch and we believe we can bring the player payments back to something more manageable.
How To Fundraise – Danish Lacrosse
Here are some things people can do to fund their lacrosse teams and my personal opinions on each strategy. It’s a how to fundraise article, based off our our experiences so far. We hope you find it helpful and interesting!
– Ask someone with experience for advice: when we started getting the team together and our lack of funds became apparent I wrote to a friend of mine that I grew up with in Australia, Andrew Ham, who played for the Aussie Sharks at the world championships in Denver. I asked Hammy for some advice and to see what the Australian team had done to find money. His honest appraisal of some of the strategies was really helpful. We only had a year from the start to get the money together for Danish Lacrosse and by asking Hammy for some advice we were able to skip some of the trial and error period. People around the lacrosse world are more often than not willing to help you out and talk over ideas with you. Take advantage of other peoples’ knowledge!
– Host a lacrosse tournament: we hosted Copenhagen Lacrosse Cup annually from 2009 – 2015. Some years were good and some were rubbish. 2014 was a brick and we lost money on it. 2015 was awesome – we made around $2,500 USD profit. Get your invitations out early and lock in the facilities ASAP. It is a lot of work to run a tournament and it is easier to handle if you spread the load over many months rather than just a few. Teams will also be more likely to come if you give them more warning. My girlfriend hated my part in organizing the tournament – it is a lot of time at the computer sending emails.
– Get on social media: we are on Facebook, Twitter, Instragram, Snapchat and The Lacrosse Network app. Being good at social media isn’t a direct money maker but it can lead you to connecting with people you otherwise wouldn’t. We got a team deal for mesh via East Coast Dyes and have done some great promo work with Ripwood Shafts just by starting conversations with them on social media.
One of our guys, Ian Rummler, organised a Snapchat takeover with The Lacrosse Network. This is a lot of work for one or two people but it really helps – for best results the players need to chip in, Tweet / ‘gram and supply content. My life is pretty boring with a young kid at home but the other guys of Danish Lacrosse send me cool wall-ball pics and videos to post on our platforms.
– Work with non-lacrosse related people: it turns out our coach Nick is pretty well connected in the beverage industry through his work and he managed to negotiate us a deal with Munkebo Microbrewery in Denmark. They produced a mixed four pack of bottled beers with our logo on the labels for us to pre-sell and we split the money 50/50 with the brewery. Our players went door to door and sold beers – some were successful and sold a lot of beer some weren’t as successful and didn’t move any. As a team we ended up getting our share of the deal to around $4,000 USD in the two week sales period.
A similar thing was done by my old club in Australia with red wine and I have seen other teams work with local bakeries on a ‘Pie Drive’. This strategy is good – you don’t get all the profits but you work with other people who can market/advertise you to people who haven’t heard about you before. The guys hated trying to sell the beer because it is very ‘un-Danish’ to ask people to buy things but the proof is in the pudding – we made good money quickly.
– Copy other people: while snooping around on the internet our team manager Nicolai came across a crowd-funding page that the German Men’s Indoor Lacrosse Team had run prior to their trip to the 2015 World Indoor Lacrosse Championships. They had raised around $2,500 USD for their team and we thought this could be something for us. So we set up a crowd-funding page on Indiegogo.com offering some Danish Lacrosse merchandise in exchange for donations. We raised another $2,860 in two months. Israel Lacrosse raised $40,000 USD in one day on ‘Giving Tuesday’ with a similar thing and a few other teams have tried this approach as well. It is a lot of work for one or two people at the start but the middle period is pretty easy – write a timeline for the funding period and have some give-aways spread out along the way to keep people interested (we weren’t great at this but we will do it better if we do it again).
– Reach out to others: after we made our new Viking logo and put it on Instragram Lacrosse.com commented ‘That Viking is great and would look awesome on some custom gear’. This comment prompted me to write to them and ask if they were interested in working on something together. Lacrosse.com had the idea of producing, marketing and selling tshirts and other apparel on our behalf and then giving us a portion of the money.
It is a great deal for us and will allow people to get great gear with the Danish Lacrosse logo on it from a reliable source while still contributing to the growth of the game in Denmark. Ireland Lacrosse have done a similar project recently. Reaching out to companies can be a draining process – most people don’t reply or reply with a no. You might ask a lot of people for help but if one or two get back to you it might be worth it. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
– Work with university students: we are currently working with one of our players on a project that will turn ‘Funding The Danish National Lacrosse Team’ into a case study for a group of sports management students from Aarhus University. They will pitch a bunch of ideas to us about how they think we can get money and the winning idea will be born out into life.
This option takes a good amount of connection but there is almost always someone who knows someone who knows someone else who can make a possibility like this happen. Working with young people doesn’t need to be anything on a large scale like this. It could also just be handing out flyers advertising for the local lacrosse club or participating in open day activities. Harness the power of the youth – they are fearless, motivated, and good at these things.
– Find a gear sponsor: this is the holy grail for lacrosse teams. Apart from England I can’t think of any other European teams that have been too successful when it has come down to finding a gear sponsor. Uganda managed to get a full kit from Warrior for the world championships and Germany had a deal for the 2014 world games in Denver but lost the deal when they were voted out of Blue Division by the FIL member nations for a returning Iroquois Nations team, so it is possible to do, but very hard. Basically a full gear sponsor is reserved for the big teams or the people pushing the limits, but returning to my earlier phrase ‘nothing ventured nothing gained’. Email brands, ask questions, see if they are interested. Be prepared to not get an answer or receive a big fat NO, but put it out there. I am still working on this for the Danish National Lacrosse Team.
– Do something different: we are about to turn lacrosse into a bachelor party event. We have signed up with the Danish equivilant of bachelorparties.com to get people to pay us money for running a lacrosse session with them as stag/hen’s day event. My own club has been doing this for a few years now and the money is really great. Copenhagen Lacrosse made around $8,000 last year on running bachelor parties. We are finally getting around to expanding this so it will take place in Aarhus and Odense as well as Copenhagen. I have run a couple of these events and it is fun but the logistics of transporting the equipment can be a problem – find a friend with a big car and a trailer.
– Do little things: every small amount of money puts you in a better position than previously and being active raises the awareness of what you are doing. Never underestimate the power of simple fund-raising such as raffles, selling food and drinks at local events, throwing events such as parties with the proceeds going back to the team. A lot of these things require work and won’t make you much money at one time but they are the traditional options and they work. People love food and parties – give them what they want. The funds can add up.
– Outright ask for money: put together a sponsorship brief and ask companies for money. Once again, this strategy is unlikely to net results for your team but you never know. I recommend getting a skilled graphic designer to put together the document so it looks good since the person answering the email@example.com email address is most likely going to delete something if it doesn’t look like you have taken any thought or care with how it is presented. We have just started to work on this part of our funding plan and I am crossing my fingers.
– Be nice and say thanks: the Danish National Lacrosse Team might be a national team but it is still made up from a player pool of the 50 people in Denmark who actually know what lacrosse is so we wouldn’t get very far without help. If you are lucky enough to get people interested in working with your team/helping you out with anything say thank you to them. Find a nice way of showing them that you appreciate the help in making things happen for your team.
A lot of people are busy these days and saying the words THANK YOU in a genuine way is often over-looked by many. It is just the right human thing to do. We are still working on our thank-you packages for the people who have helped us but I am keeping a list and checking it twice to make sure no-one slips through the cracks on it.
Just as there are many ways to string a lacrosse stick, there are many ways to fundraise for a lacrosse team. Some of the things that work for us won’t work for other people and vice versa. But the one aspect that holds true is that GENUINE EFFORT is required to make generating money happen. You won’t ever fund your team if you don’t do anything.
To keep an eye on what we are doing you can check us out on:
TLN app: danishlacrosse
If you have any questions about any of this or are interested in discussing the funding strategies with me then you can contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also write to me if there is you are interested in a bachelor party event hosted by Danish Lacrosse or if you want to see our national team representing your company!