Sweaty athletes take a deep breath as they finish wiping down the final car. It is a particularly hot day in August, and the sudsy players can’t wait to go home and count their funds. Baked goods are packed, sponges wrung out, and hoses coiled as the team wraps up its annual car wash. This is just one of the many fundraising techniques used for public school sports. Fundraising is an important part of any public school’s athletics department because the state does not have enough money to buy all of the supplies needed for every school team.
Money accumulated through fundraising is used to pay for pretty much everything, from field space for dry-land teams to ice time for the ice hockey players, to referees, team trips, and uniforms.
Many of the PHS teams use common fundraising techniques. Ad books, car washes and T-shirt sales are currently among the three most popular techniques at school. Boys lacrosse Co-Captain Patrick McCormick ’14 explained that, “for lacrosse, we have an ad book where we go around Princeton and Cranbury and ask local stores and restaurants if they would like to purchase an ad.”
Girls soccer had a car wash during pre-season and a T-shirt sale later during the year, making a solid $900, while boys soccer raised around $500 through selling T-shirts.
These fundraisers are not just important for raising money for the team, but also for serving as an outlet for productive team bonding before and during the season. Car washes provide an opportunity for teams to work together toward a common goal off the field.
McCormick explained that ad books could also be an efficient way for the team to bond if teamwork is present in the project. “[We] organize [into] groups of four—a senior [who can drive] would take a junior, a sophomore, and a freshman and go to a certain part of town or to the shopping center,” he said.
T-shirt sales are often a one-man job, but track and field sprinter Joe Gray ’15 believes his team’s T-shirt sales “[helped] the [team’s] unity grow because … we collaborate on the ideas, like what the T-shirt design should be.”
Likewise, soccer Co-Captain Kevin Halliday ’14 said “[selling T-shirts gets] a lot of people on the team excited so in that respect it’s [good for team bonding].”
Fundraisers also allow teams to advertise their sports. Gray said, “If a team were to have really cool shirts … a lot more people would try out for [the team].” Although this may not necessarily be true, fan shirts do serve as a walking advertisement for teams whose shirts are popular among the students, and pump up the players for upcoming games.
Emily Costa ’14 said that during the soccer car washes “[the girls] make signs and try to get cars to stop by.” So even if the people do not stop to get their car washed, they are aware of the girls’ team and might look for other opportunities to donate or watch them play.
Booster clubs are a very important part of fundraising. The booster club takes some of the fundraised money and uses it to put up advertisements. This year the girls soccer booster club even made a banner that depicted all of their sponsors.
Surprisingly, one of the most successful teams currently at the school, girls swimming, has no real form of fundraising.
Swimmer Madeleine Deardorff ’16 said, “We don’t do a lot of fundraising … [but] our parents are really helpful and Coach Hand usually gives extra [money to] help people with money issues.”
All the teams put a lot of time and effort into their fundraising and hope to find more efficient techniques—that is, fundraising methods that incorporate both increased funding and more team unity. Even underclassmen like Deardorff are looking for ways to improve fundraising for when they must step up and become leaders of their respective teams. Deardorff said, “As an underclassman, I can’t really control [fundraising] right now. But as I get older I want to unify the team and [will] try my best to do that.”