August 26, 2015
GREENSBORO, N.C. — Raising money through big donors is another option for baseball programs.
Craig Keilitz, executive director of the American Baseball Coaches Association, discussed how he would tackle fund raising if he were a baseball coach.
Keilitz previously was the athletics director at High Point University and also worked in athletics’ administration at Wake Forest for a number of years.
“It certainly depends on what level of baseball you are coaching at,” said Keilitz.
“But it is important to pull people in who have an interest in your program. I feel that people want to invest in something that they feel will be successful. So if your baseball program is having success on the field, in the classroom and in the community, that helps tremendously.
“Donors must get to know your student athletes. This gives you the best opportunity, in my opinion, to raise funds.
“But there is a problem that people must realize. Someone may give your program money. Then they feel they have a say in how you do business. So it is a delicate balancing act on how you accept money and at the same time make sure donors are there to support you and not make decisions.”
Keilitz was asked to give his list of fund raisers that help athletics’ departments thrive.
“It is extremely important to find out how many hours you are actually putting into a fund raiser to find out if it really is cost effective.
“For instance, golf tournaments might not be as big of an income producer when you factor in the amount of time involved.
“The amount of money made might not be that much after paying for golf greens’ fees, golf carts, lunch, prizes and all of those types of things.
“While you might make a few thousand dollars, these events take a considerable amount of time.
“I feel an important consideration in fund raising is what the student athlete needs and not necessarily what you as the coach wants. Usually people close to your program who are willing can invest in that vision.
“We had great success at several universities working with parents of student athletes. They wanted to see their kids have the best and really enjoyed what the coach was doing with their son.
“A lot of times, you let the donor tell you what they would like to give. Let’s say you want to build new batting cages or redo the locker room. You talk about what this will do for your program and what it does for the development of the student athlete. People who are able to give money understand the needs of programs asking for donations whether it be a church, local hospital or school they graduated from.
“The people who are willing to talk to you about issues like this are a little more philanthropic. So I would talk to the donor about what our vision was and let them decide on the amount they were comfortable giving.”
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