Budgeting Tips for Coaches (That Really Work!)

As a coach, it’s probably a safe bet that budgeting doesn’t top the list of how you’d like to spend your time—even though you know it’s a necessary process to get the funding your team needs to be safe, competitive, and (hopefully) victorious.   

As you prepare for the upcoming year, Game One can help! Our Budget Worksheet provides EASY tools to ensure you’re game-ready for this season and beyond. Download the worksheet HERE.   

We’ve also compiled 10 tips to stretch your budget and provide student-athletes with the best experience possible.   

1. WANTS, NEEDS, AND PIE-IN-THE-SKY ITEMS: Separate your budget into a list of “wants, needs, and pie-in-the-sky” items, ensuring you have a detailed defense for every request. While you’ll want to secure funding for your needs first, you may have to figure out how to make a “want” or “pie” item happen, which is where fundraising can help.  

2. GET ORGANIZED AND TAKE INVENTORY: Dedicate time at the beginning and end of each season to take inventory of your equipment, uniforms, technology, and supplies. Keep track of what you have, what you need to replace, and what you can make work for another season (or two), including the condition of each item and a prioritized wish list. Our checklists are perfect for this exercise: Game One Checklists.  

3. CHOOSE VENDORS WISELY: Look for new vendors, renegotiate with current ones, or move to one company to outfit your team and get the best prices. Buying in bulk with one resource is often easier and more cost effective than using different companies.  

4. BE SMART ABOUT YOUR “ASK”: Budget for fixed costs, like officials’ fees, first because it’s hard to get people excited about funding those types of items. Then, work on variable expenses like equipment and uniforms, which are more fun for businesses and donors to support.  

5. INVOLVE PARENTS & ALUMNI: Get parents and alums to volunteer throughout the season by working at a ticket station, filming a video of the game, or hosting a fundraising BBQ. Offer free spirit wear or recognition at the end-of-season banquet to encourage participation. 

6. INVOLVE STUDENT-ATHLETES: Ask your student-athletes to send branded and pre-scripted social media posts, texts, and emails to friends, family, and alums over two weeks—directing donors to a dedicated website to collect funds for specific items. 

7. MAKE PRIDE NIGHT A FUNDRAISER: Invite a local celebrity or former college or professional athlete to speak at your Pride Night event. Charge an entrance fee and feature a catered meal (funded by sponsors), silent auction, and autograph session. Ask parents, alums, and sponsors to ask their connections for high-sale donations. Consider auctioning off services like a night of babysitting by an athlete or having the team do yard work for an afternoon.  

8. SELL IN-GAME PROMOTIONS: Create local and regional partnership opportunities, like media guide advertising, pre-game show content, starting lineup announcements, and sponsorships for each score, the halftime show, wins, and the post-game show.  

9. DEVELOP VIDEO BOARD ADS: Work with a local advertising firm to secure ads for your stadium’s video board, which can generate significant annual funding.  

10. HOLD TAILGATES: Ask parents and community members to donate food and drinks to sell at a tailgate for your games. If you’ve planned it for a fall sport like football, have athletes from a spring sport like soccer work the event. When spring sports begin, have the football players work the tailgate before a soccer game. 

Remember to budget with an eye toward the future (three years out is wise). Then, you’ll be on solid financial footing as you battle the budget-crunching to get the funding to make your program competitive, even in the current economic state.  

And remember to utilize your Game One Budget Worksheet to make the process easier.

Game One is your one-stop shop for premium sports uniforms, apparel, and more. We’ve got everything your program needs for every sport, every team, and every athlete in one convenient location. 

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