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I work with the Newark, NJ PAL program and we ran into a bit of financial difficulty one year. We have always taken a boys basketball team ages 8-12, to the Small Fry Tournament in Orlando Florida, allowing girls to play on the team, but this particular year, they invited girls teams. Imagine the excitement of the girls when they found out.

We intended to take 2 teams of 15 players, one of each sex, but there was a problem. Even if we only put one team in the All Sport Resort, a requirement, and drive instead of fly, we were still about $10,000 short of expenses. We had fish frys, begged for donations from companies (those that we hadn’t already received funds from) and asked parents to pay as much as they could. The problem was many of the players were poor, and the parents could only come up with small amounts (the highest being $65).

We were closing in on our target, only around $4500 to go, but ran out of ideas. I was cruising the internet, trying to find ideas, when I came across a site that had scratchcards for fundraising. Each card would generate $100, and the overhead was cheap, $2000 for $9000 profit. I went to the other coaches, and we decided to give it a go.

We ordered 100 cards, got 10 free cards, and called in the parents. We explained that when a person picks a spot, they just pay what is under the spot. It was simple. We also asked that each parent take two cards, and have another person help. The staff and I took the balance of the cards and set out to get those dollars.

The funniest thing happened the very next week, at practice, almost every parent turned in $200, and asked if there were anymore cards. They found it easy to get people to scratch a spot and pay, even though they got nothing in return. The players did not hesitate to ask anyone if they would scratch a spot. It was better than them trying to collect money in the middle of the street from cars stopped at a light ( we don’t permit our players to do this, but found many of them doing so anyway out of desperation), so it was much safer.

We sold every spot on every card.

The reward, both teams got to stay in the the All Sport Resort, we managed to get new uniforms, 2 additional vans ( the kids loved the extra room), and each player was able to commemorate their trip with a photo of them in action on the court. My reward, 30 happy players. Those cards were a blessing, and we continue to use them today.