When Dana Wakamoto was placed in charge of fundraising for the Wintersberg Sports Ministry this year she knew she had a big task in front of her. The youth basketball program includes boys and girls teams ranging from grades 2-8, and fundraises annually in order to keep costs down.
Dana Wakamoto recognized the need for reaching a new demographic of donors to support Wintersburg Basketball. In the past, the Ministry held an annual golf tournament to raise money, but when Wakamoto and other church leaders noticed that golf tournament participants were mainly men, and specifically men who liked to golf, they wanted to do something that reached more people.
Dana remembered using the PledgeStar online fundraising system for her children’s school Jog-A-Thon and wondered if it could be used for the basketball program. She called PledgeStar and was pleased to learn that they also help youth sports leagues. With that information, she created their first annual “Shoot-A-Thon.”
Basketball team members were sponsored by local businesses, family, and friends as they attempted to shoot as many baskets as possible for the event. The players collected flat pledges from their sponsors via PledgeStar.
“We didn’t have any expectations...we did this fundraiser to help lower the fees because it’s really expensive to run a basketball program. Our goal was $10,000 and we had no idea how it would go,” said parent volunteer Dana Wakamoto, “but it turned out to be very successful.”
The Wintersburg Presbyterian Church Sports Ministry more than doubled its fundraising goal this year, bringing in over $24,000 in donations at its first annual “Shoot-A-Thon.”
PledgeStar helped expand their donor base and maximize the number of donations they received from family and friends. “The problem is that you tend to hit the same people over and over for donations. We really like the fact that PledegeStar makes it easy to reach extended family and friends out of state that you don’t see all the time,” said Wakamoto.
In all, 180 participants raised an average of $133 each; 80% of which was raised online via PledgeStar.
A member of the South East Youth Organization, Wintersburg Sports Ministry was one of the first South East Youth Organizations established in 1964. Some of the parents who currently serve as team coaches initially began their involvement with the ministry several years ago when they were children playing in the league themselves.