The Eighth Man

FUND 301: Advanced Fundraising for Quidditch Teams

The University of Minnesota's Yule Ball was one of the most profitable quidditch fundraising events of all time, attracting 700 guests and grossing $12,000

The University of Minnesota’s Yule Ball was one of the most profitable quidditch fundraising events of all time, attracting 700 guests and grossing $12,000. Credit: University of Minnesota Quidditch

It’s that time of year again, folks. With 34-of-60 teams already qualified for World Cup VI, the first thing on everyone’s mind right now is figuring out how the heck they are going to get there as cost effectively as possible.


Well, the answer is fundraising. And no, I’m not talking about the Sunday bake sale that raises you $20 dollars. That is not a fundraiser my friend, and it’s not going to get you to Orlando in April.


So what does it take to make big money fast? Well, the best thing you can do is keep things simple, and play to the audience you are selling to. Below, I’ve listed five ideas that can get you the funds you and your team need. Figure out what will work best on your campus, and run with it.


Tip #1: T-shirt Sales

Anyone can sell t-shirts. They are the most basic fundraiser for teams and, for many, the most successful. But when designing your t-shirt, it’s important to remember that while many people will want to get a quidditch shirt and support the team, there are also a lot of students that won’t be interested in a quidditch-themed shirt. While you could make something that screams quidditch, you might have better luck making something a bit more uniform.


At Marquette, we had a cool design for our shirt that appealed to just about everyone at the school, but only mentioned quidditch on the back. If someone liked the shirt but was embarrassed by any kind of a quidditch connection, they could throw on a zip-up sweatshirt over it and no one ever had to know. The end result: $11,000 in profits.


There may be some initial backlash from your team about not using something more quidditch-focused, but at the end of the day, money is the priority. They’ll be thanking you when they aren’t paying hundreds of dollars to get to the Cup.

Marquette was successful by using an attractive design on the front of their t-shirt and leaving the quidditch mention on the back. Credit: Curtis Taylor

Marquette was successful by using an attractive design on the front of their t-shirt and leaving the quidditch mention on the back. Credit: Curtis Taylor



Tip #2: Hosting a Dance

This isn’t exactly a novel idea – teams have been hosting Yule Balls for quite some time, and the University of Minnesota’s annual event has become a standard for quiddtch fundraising.


Minnesota’s events are so successful because they have a huge population to draw from. Other large schools should be jumping on this idea, as dances are simple yet effective, and have many ways to cut costs and maximize profits. For example, many clubs can book space on campus for free, leaving no overhead in terms of venue. Someone from your team with an iPod is more than capable of serving as a DJ, and you can also ask around for food donations from local restaurants instead of just automatically defaulting to a caterer. Serving a meal also allows you to bump up the price of a ticket, further increasing profits.


Holding it on campus would probably be most cost effective, but you could probably work a deal out with a local hotel for a dinner and dance in a ballroom-like setting for cheap. That would be further allow you to increase the price of tickets and serve the idea as a plated dinner and dance.


If you don’t want to call your event a Yule Ball, don’t. If you’re worried people won’t come cause it’s Harry Potter based, then, have a Valentine’s Day or St. Patrick’s Day dance instead. The themes are really easy to decorate for, and lead to just as enjoyable events.


As an added bonus, combining a Saturday night dance with a Sunday afternoon game or open practice might get you an added turnout, as the dance gives your team free advertisement.



Tip #3: Jerseys 

Everyone loves a good quidditch jersey. For a lot of teams, you could have a lot of success either making a replica or even selling jerseys with the name and number of a specific player, advertising it as “support a player,” in the way the IQA did for Team USA. By doing this, it gets your name out there, and it allows the other quidditch players who aren’t on the tournament team to support you and get something awesome for doing so.


When ordering, make sure you do them in bulk to get discounts, and look to make sure that these deals are something that you can build on. You never know where you are going to make these sales, which are more expensive than most of the ones on this list, so try everyone – family, friends, other club athletes, other school athletes, random people through facebook, etc.



Tip #4: Tournament for non-quidditch people.

This may be one of the most underutilized ideas out there – making a tournament for those with no connection to quidditch. This event targets the Greek communities, student organizations and other people on campus that would want to do something fun with friends, specifically those that are already neatly organized into a group.


Make sure you help their understanding of the game, while not taking away the fun. Maybe have a member of your squad help coach each team, or get another local team to come by and start the day by playing them with one of your players explaining things as the game goes on.


You can charge them $30 per team to really make it cost effective for the team members, or work in a food aspect like in the dance idea and charge about $50 per team. For a 10 person team, that’s still only five dollars a player for a day of fun.


When advertising for the event, target freshmen, Greeks, other club athletes and even student athletes. Also talk to some student leaders and try to get them involved, as other students will be more likely to follow their lead.


The prize can be low cost, with even a “quidditch-styler” spray painted bottle serving the purpose. Just make sure it’s university appropriate if it needs to be.



Tip #5: Do the small things

I know at the beginning of the article I said that the bake sales and penny war aren’t worth your time. However, if you really commit to them and do them on a regular basis, the profits can add up.


If you are having a bake sale, perhaps elect to do something spectacular. At Marquette, the Milwaukee Cupcake Company gives donations of cupcakes to organizations as long as they are promoted. This allows for a sale that really draws interest, and is most importantly all profit. Reach out to local bakeries, and see what you can accomplish.


Penny wars can also be effective. If you want a Harry Potter theme, put a house on each of four different buckets and say, “support your house”. If you’d rather generalize it, have buckets with two opposites – winter or summer, for example – and have people vote with their coins. Change up the poll every day to keep things fresh.


With most of the quidditch community on Christmas break, one final opportunity for everyone, whether as a team or not, is to do odd jobs. There is snow to be shoveled, houses to clean, people to help. It may not be the most glorious way to spend your Christmas break, but it gets you one step close to Orlando.


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