LOVELAND, Colo (CBS4) – Crowdfunding is becoming an increasingly popular way to raise money for everything from medical expenses to business start-ups. Youth sports teams are among the groups that are benefiting from this Internet phenomenon.
“I think it’s a huge benefit,” said Darrin Duber-Smith, a marketing professor at Metro State University of Denver.
Duber-Smith says community campaigns are where crowdfunding works best because the goals are clear and credible.
“You’ve got a much broader reach, not only within the community, but outside of the community,” Duber-Smith told CBS4.
“I have family all over the U.S., so they all get to help pitch in,” said Kaitlin Hyers.
Hyers plays lacrosse for the Thompson Valley High School lacrosse team. It’s truly a regional team, drawing players from 12 high schools and four school districts. They practice in Loveland, and for the girls lacrosse is worth the commitment.
“It definitely takes some time out of your day to trek all the way down here from Fort Collins, but in the end it’s worth it for something I’ve loved to play for six years,” said Katie Ufer, a senior at Rocky Mountain High School.
“Every away game is a least an hour away,” said Lauren Caddoo, a student at Fort Collins High School.
“All of the schools we play against are from Denver, Colorado Springs, so up and down the Front Range,” said Misty Huss, the team mom.
The team is racking up huge bills for travel and overnight trips in addition to the regular expenses for uniforms and equipment.
“Part of the reason we fundraise is to help offset those costs,” Huss explained.
For the first time this year the team turned to crowdfunding to raise money. They launched a campaign on gofundme.com that has raised them more than $3,800 so far. Their goal is $5,000.
“There is virtually no overhead for us and the girls don’t have to spend their time going out trying to sell things,” Huss told CBS4.
“It’s harder to sell things to people if they don’t want them. It’s easier for them to just go on to support us … to give us a little bit of donation,” Ufer explained.
GoFundMe.com told CBS4 that community campaigns are exploding on its website. Last year it hosted 101,774 campaigns from youth sports, clubs, and teams, raising $12,163,976. Just three years ago there were only 1,020 campaigns by youth sports, clubs, and teams, raising $92,629. CBS4 also found hundreds of similar campaigns on other crowdfunding sites, like FundRazr, YouCaring and GiveForward.
Crowdfunding is allowing local youth groups to take their fundraising beyond the bake sale to a national platform, giving teams like the Thompson Valley High School lacrosse team a big assist.
Libby Smith is a Special Projects Producer at CBS4. If you have a story you’d like to tell CBS4 about, call 303-863-TIPS (8477) or visit the News Tips section.