June 30, 2014

Over the last few weeks, I have been discussing the position statement endorsed by the NCRPA Board of Directors supporting the use of healthy food in youth sports. Today, I would like to focus on the third (and final) section of the statement, which concentrates on healthy fundraising. Based on the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Alternative Fundraising Ideas, youth sports fundraisers should fall into one of three categories:

If your agency is looking for healthy ways to fundraise, consider some of these suggestions:

Non-food fundraising ideas: There are hundreds of items that could be used to raise funds, but try selling items that will promote a healthy lifestyle. This could include merchandise (such as water bottles, hula hoops, or jump ropes) with your league or agency logo. Or, you could put together gift baskets with supplies needed for an outdoor adventure (such as sunscreen, sunglasses, first aid supplies, camping equipment). And a spring fundraising drive would be a great time to sell plants, which in addition to possibly providing healthy food, encourage people to go outside to tend to them.

Physical Activity fundraising ideas: If your agency would rather put on an event, choose one that promotes physical activity. Host a walk-(or run, bike, dance, or skate)-a-thon. Solicit donations for the number of miles (or laps) completed. Another option is organizing a 5K or field day. Admission can be charged for each person, or by each family. Or, if teams in your sports league raise their own funds, encourage them to put on a car wash or offer landscaping services. They can earn several hundred dollars in one afternoon of work.

Healthy food fundraising ideas:  Even if you are foregoing fundraising mainstays like cookies and candy, there are plenty of options for selling or promoting healthy food. Consider holding a healthy food tasting event. Solicit items from local restaurants and charge admission at the door. In conjunction with the event (or as a separate fundraiser) you could compile healthy recipes from parents and coaches into a cookbook and sell it in your community.

I have included these suggestions, along with some other resources, on a new healthy fundraising page in the Wellness Toolkit. Please read the page and share it with coaches, parents, and others working with your youth sports programs.

Does your agency have any guidelines promoting healthy fundraising? Let me know by emailing erin@ncrpa.net.

Finally, here are a few Wellness Initiative event reminders:

  • There will be a Healthy Food Workshop in Raleigh on July 17 from 10AM to 12PM. Register now to attend and learn about ways to find, prepare and program with local produce.
  • Our next Wellness Webinar will be July 22 at 1:30PM. The topic is programming and partnerships with healthy food. Please join us! You can register here, and view previous webinars on our Wellness Webinar page.


Erin Crouse
Graduate Assistant, NC Recreation & Park Association
883 Washington St, Raleigh, NC  27605


North Carolina Recreation and Park Association
883 Washington St, Raleigh, NC 27506


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