It’s hard to believe the summer is winding down and that Labor Day Weekend is upon us. We’re looking forward to celebrating it, not in the traditional summer weekend way, but in Austria, with grant recipient, the Austrian Baseball Federation.
On Saturday, September 1st, the Austrian Baseball Federation (ABF) will announce the completion of a new youth baseball field at Athletics Ballpark, home of the Attnang-Puchheim Athletic Club. The Baseball Tomorrow Fund (BTF) awarded the organization a $104,456 grant to assist in the construction of the field, which was completed in less than six months. Below, Sebastian watches over the construction of the new youth field in Attnang-Puchheim!
The new youth field will support over 300 players from local youth programs and provide a host site for international youth tournaments. The Athletics Ballpark facility is now complete with one regulation baseball field, one youth baseball field, a clubhouse and batting cages, and is the official coaching center for Austria.
Rainer L. Krankl, Vice President Finances of the Austrian Baseball Federation, stated, “The completion of this project marks the realization of a dream for this organization and the community as a whole. Without the support of the Baseball Tomorrow Fund, construction of this youth field would not have been possible.”
The Austrian Baseball Federation is the fifth European organization to receive a Baseball Tomorrow Fund grant.
Monday September 3 – Wednesday September 5: Tampa Bay Rays Equipment Collection at Tropicana Field. Donate new or gently used baseball and softball equipment before the games to benefit local Tampa youth leagues.
Happy Labor Day Weekend!
The Mariners hosted a Field Maintenance Clinic yesterday, August 23rd, at Safeco Field. It was the fifth MLB/BTF field maintenance clinic this season and it was a wonderful success. Over eighty participants attended the clinic with representatives coming from Seattle City Parks & Recreation and the Kennewick American Youth Baseball. The clinic focused on providing attendees with practical tips and tricks that they could take back and implement to maintain safe playing fields in the Seattle area.
Baseball Tomorrow Fund’s Executive Director, Cathy Bradley, was on hand for the clinic and snapped some great photos of the attendees and the pros:
Friday August 24th: Pittsburgh Pirates – BTF Equipment Day check presentation
Saturday August 25th: New York Mets – 2012 Equipment Day Collection at Citi Field
Fall Maintenance Checklist
|Perform soil and tissue tests|
|Aerate the field|
|De-thatch or verticut turf|
|Over-seed and top dress the field|
|Fertilize the field|
|Apply post-emergent herbicides|
|Add ground limestone every other year|
|Complete renovations or reconstruction projects if needed|
Last Saturday, August 11th, marked the fourth BTF/MLB Field Maintenance Education Clinic. This one was a group effort. The Baseball Tomorrow Fund, SNY and the New York Mets partnered to make it a wonderfully successful event.
Youth baseball and softball organizations from the Tri-State area were invited to attend the private clinic lead by Mets head groundskeeper, Bill Deacon, and his entire crew. They arrived in small groups, the excitement radiating. Photos were snapped behind the microphone in the Mets media room, baseball hats were tried on and adjusted and pens hit notepads to ensure they worked before the clinic began. Just over 30 attendees participated in the clinic, taking part in 4 rotating stations that addressed topics such as; infield maintenance, mound and home plate management, game day preparation and turf management. It was a day dedicated to providing practical, easy to install tips and techniques that would aid in the long term maintenance of fields and provide the highest level of safety. BTF Executive Director, Cathy Bradley, stated, “We hope that this clinic, along with the grants awarded, will support the sustainability of safe and playable youth baseball and softball facilities in the area.”
BTF, along with SNY and their Play Ball initiative, awarded two $5,000 grants to the Dyker Heights Athletic Association and Elmjack Community Little League, to be used for field upkeep and the purcahse of needed field maintenance equipment.
There’s one remaining Field Maintenance Education Program scheduled for this season, and it’s taking place August 23rd in partnership with the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field.
Invest in a few key signs to help educate and encourage everyone to pitch in. The slideshow above contains a few helpful signs we’ve seen in facilities around the country.
Saturday August 11th:
- Chicago Cubs Equipment Day Collection at Wrigley Field
- Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Equipment Day Collection and Check Presentation at Angel Stadium
- Private Mets Field Maintenance Education Clinic at Citi Field
Sunday August 12th:
- Philadelphia Phillies Equipment Day Collection at Citizens Bank Park
- Tampa Bay Rays Equipment Day Collection at Tropicana Drive
All you Cubs, Angels and Phillies fans bring your gently used baseball and softball equipment to the ballparks this weekend to benefit local programs in your area!
It’s tournament time for youth baseball and softball leagues around the U.S. marking the end of another season. Soon, it will be time to start planning for 2013 (heavy sigh…) Before another season sneaks up on us, we would like to offer a few ideas and resource information about a variety of topics that you might find helpful in the operation of your organization. Some will be obvious and commonly used, but we think everything is worth sharing as a refresher or for those who are new to the team.
To kick things off, let’s start at the very beginning: promotion and advertising.
No matter what methods of promotion and advertising you use, fine-tune the message. Emphasize your organization’s accomplishments, number of kids served, retention rate, number of years in operation, what’s new and improved in the program, what’s new and improved at the facility, why it’s good for kids, why it’s good for parents, why it’s such a great program. Brag a little bit.
The Ever Popular School Flyer
Almost every organization we talk to provides flyers to local schools. Who has better access to kids and parents than schools, right? Don’t forget to give a few flyers to your Board members and volunteers to post around town on community bulletin boards in grocery stores, “big box” stores, coffee shops, restaurants, the post office, apartment complexes, churches, etc.
Support Local Business
Local businesses may have more to offer than just financial contributions. A business might be willing to provide space, coupons and freebies for a special registration day to drive foot traffic into its locations. Kick around a few ideas with your sponsors. Where are the popular places that families go on the weekends? This also might be a good way to attract new sponsors that may want to help your program but cannot offer a cash donation.
While we are on the topic of sponsors, ask your sponsors to include your organization in its existing advertising efforts in the newspaper, radio or on TV (i.e. “Proud Sponsor of …” or “Register today for our favorite league, …!”)
On the Radio (and TV)
Many local radio and TV stations announce community happenings. Don’t forget to provide your registration information in advance. Take the time now to create a database of all local media outlets and contact info for community announcements. Email a brief press release. Keep it simple with the who, what, where, when and how.
Bring A Friend
Offer a discount or small gift to past players who bring a friend who hasn’t played before. Give brand new players and parents a bit of recognition (i.e. a button, sticker or patch) to welcome them into the league and make them feel special.
The New Word-of-Mouth
We all are becoming more Internet and social media savvy (whether we like it or not.) Include email addresses in your player and parent database. Create a Facebook page and Twitter account to help inform your families of registration periods, schedules, practices, clinics, etc. Encourage them to pass along the info to other families. Existing players and parents are the best promoters!
Actively Seeking… Partners
Other non-profits and youth service organizations often look for new ways to engage children with sports and recreation. These organizations might include churches, public housing complexes, Boys & Girls Clubs, after-school programs, etc. Make a list of organizations in your community and schedule a brief phone call or coffee meeting during the off-season. Talk about how your organizations might help each other. What do they need that your organization can help with? Invite these organizations to form a team for your league or invite their membership to a free clinic during the winter months.
Make it easier by sharing a few of these tasks with Board members and volunteers. Promoting the program is a team effort!
What other methods of promotion and advertising work for your organization? Please share!
Check back here for more ideas and info in the coming months.
Fundraising is essential for the successful operation of non-profits. Fundraising can be completed in a multitude of ways — from 5K runs, silent auctions and galas to bake sales, car washes and even cold calls.
Non-profits in Major League markets may also turn to MLB Clubs for support. MLB Clubs support many worthwhile causes including health, recreation and education programs. Each team strives to make an impact on the community in which they are located and most provide fundraising opportunities to local organizations.
These opportunities come in many forms, but the most common is “in-kind donations,” of autographed items, game tickets or team merchandise for use as auction and raffle prizes. Other fundraising opportunities include the availability of an informational booth at the stadium for organizations to distribute information and allowing groups to work at the concession stands to earn a portion of the proceeds.
If you would like to learn more about opportunities with nearby MLB Club, here are the steps:
- Visit your MLB home team’s community page. Easiest way is to Google, for example, “the Boston Red Sox Community.” The Community page will tell you everything the Club is doing within the community: the causes they support, the events they host, and the fundraising opportunities they offer.
- Search. Look for the following key words or sections on the community page: “fundraising opportunities,” “in-kind donations,” or anything of the like. Each Club page and opportunities will be different so it’s going to take a little digging around.
- Locate. Find the opportunity that fits your organization’s needs or criteria.
- Apply! If applicable, fill out the electronic form. Most Clubs will ask for the basics about your organization; EIN (federal tax identification number,) year it was started, the type of organization and so forth. You’ll also need to provide a main contact and their information as well as details pertaining to the type of event you are having. Of course, be sure to read through the specific requirements, rules for application, and guidelines completely before submitting your application.
As challenging and rewarding fundraising is, it’s important to know that you’re not alone and that your favorite MLB heavy hitters may be willing to help you out. Head over to your team’s community page, do a little digging around and submit your organization for an opportunity. Who knows? You may end up with the hottest item at this year’s auction.