A guide for determining the fundraiser steps for your esports program.
Your esports program may not have all necessary equipment or needs provided by your school. Organizing a fundraiser with specific goals and objectives can be a powerful tool.
In this guide we review:
Determine the Needs of Your Program
Each esports program has a unique set of needs. Establish a baseline of equipment and costs that your program will need to succeed for the first year.
Walk around your school and assess space availability to hold both practice and game day. Submit your schedule to the administration and the owner of that space for approval.
Pro-tip for your space
Once your program’s event calendar has been approved, share with your IT department to help begin discussions about the PlayVS Hardware-Network Specifications and how their partnership is an integral part of your program’s success.
In order to compete, your players must have the minimum amount of equipment required by the league. Please visit our Help Center, navigate to the League Rules collection, and find your titles’ Rulebooks (i.e. Rocket League Rulebook) to learn about each requirement.
Pro-tip for equipment
Review different websites and local businesses for deals and discounts. Even your IT department may have existing contracts/agreements with vendors that sell the equipment you’re looking for.
Computer(s): tower, mouse, mouse pad, keyboard
Console(s): monitor, controllers, headset
Copy of game
Identify Your Target Audience
Some types of fundraisers will be more effective with a specific target audience. The audience may be local businesses, families, or the student-body. Plan and market your fundraiser based on the audience type. Consider the space and energy needed to reach out to your selected audience.
Sponsorship: We recently heard from a Georgia coach who told us a “virtual stroll” down your local streets on Google Map was a great way to scout who to target and with what type of messaging. He advised to “spread your net wide” with both in person and email solicitation that includes information about your program, how you’ll use their donation, and what will benefit them from joining your efforts. Sponsors can benefit in ways like logo placement on jerseys, name placement in all press coverage, and/or a charity fundraising in their name. Here's an Example Flyer!
Restaurants near you may also offer fundraising support for school programming like Esports! A few examples include:
Raising Cane’s: https://www.raisingcanes.com/community-partnerships/
Panda Express: https://community.pandaexpress.com/fundraisers
Buffalo Wild Wings: https://ewrf.buffalowildwings.com
Event: Restaurant fundraising nights are a great way to get the whole family involved! One Colorado coach found certain chains to be easy to work with, like Chipotle, as well as family-owned restaurants. Have anyone mention your program’s name to the waitstaff, on your scheduled night, and a portion of the paid tab will go to you and your players.
Any other ideas? Yes! Set your club up as a charitable organization with your local grocer so parents can link their shopper cards to the program. Every time a linked card is used a donation is made. A great start to creating passive income!
Sales: Request approval from your administration to set-up a booth at certain events to sell merch, sodas, candy, or whatever other approved choices may be popular sellers. Alternatively, you may find enough local interest to host your own esports event to generate buzz for your program and raise money by charging to enter and/or raffles.
You want the student-body to be interested in your program, just like any other sport! Do your best to pass out flyers, calendars showing rival match-ups, and where to watch if you choose to stream (i.e. Twitch) to keep them aware of current events.
Check that your fundraiser does not overlap similar types to keep from exhausting your audience.
Most schools require their activities department or administrators' approval for each fundraiser. It’s also possible that fundraisers and fund allocation must be approved before the start of the school year. Be sure to check before launching your fundraisers! For more ideas, please visit 100 Unique Fundraising Ideas.
Finding federal funding for your esports programs is possible! Federal funding allocations support supplemental programming efforts in K-12 public education.
What are “allowable expenses” for this funding? As per the legislature, “any activity authorized by the Elementary and Secondary Education Act” is
considered an allowable expense. ESSA state plans cover all of the “Title” monies. Here is a broad overview of Title programs (that would be applicable to scholastic esports):
Improving Basic Programs
Operated by Local Educational
Supporting Effective Instruction
English Language Acquisition
and Language Enhancement
Title IV, Part A
Student Support and Academic
Title IV, Part B
21st Century Community
Career & Technical Education
Allowable expenses within these programs may include (not necessarily limited to):
Family Engagement Activities
Extended Learning Time
Technology (with limitations)*
Mental Health Services
Summer School Activities/Programming
Digital Learning Tools
Field Trips (with educational purpose)
Career Exploration Activities
College and Career Planning
NASEF can provide and support student learning through an immersive esports program to help reinforce literacy and math skills, support social and emotional learning, and provide a fun and engaging experience to make memories with their peers through gaming. Our program has the ability to offer structure and routine for a safe space, provide engaging and fun learning experiences addressing important academic concepts, and support the emotional wellbeing of all students.
Talk to your local school district(s). The local educational agencies (LEAs) are being given control over their monies for programming. Discuss the benefits of esports and also provide them with the informational flyer. Leverage Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Community websites, email lists, etc. to share the information. Share the flyer with any of your stakeholders who may be interested and/or have the ability to support the initiative. Depending on the school district, there may be budget restrictions in certain budget categories.
You can work with your school districts to effectively use ESSER funds in meaningful ways to address learning loss through strong learning opportunities, ensure effective teaching practices, and increase student engagement through scholastic esports. It has never been more important to actively seek opportunities to integrate hands-on project-based learning, which can be the foundation of your summer programs and ongoing initiatives. Moreover, scholastic esports combines hands-on experiences with cross-curricular content to intentionally address academic standards in the disciplines of English Language Arts, mathematics, and science.
Q: Is there research to back the effectiveness of esports?
Often, school districts will ask the timeless question of “does it work?”—school districts want to make sure they are investing in the best curriculum, instructional strategies, materials, etc. to guarantee their return on investment.