Fundraising’s changing role in athletic departments
This is the seventh year of Coach & Athletic Director’s survey of high school athletic administrators. The results help us develop and our editorial vision, while offering readers a glimpse at the opportunities and challenges in prep sports.
When we first commissioned our survey in 2011, athletic departments were struggling. Drastic cuts to public school budgets forced athletic directors to drop many programs, and fewer teachers showed interest in coaching. During the last two years, our survey showed signs of improvement as athletic budgets began to rebound.This year’s survey continues that trend, with roughly one in five schools reporting increases in their athletic budgets. More schools are planning capital projects, but fundraising remains a critical component of athletic departments everywhere.
Part of our annual survey focuses on the major concerns of high school athletic directors. Finding qualified coaches remains the No. 1 headache for administrators, but new challenges like competition from club sports has climbed the list.
Fundraising’s changing role
For some high school programs, fundraising is a way to get those “extras” — new uniforms, shoes, training equipment. But funding problems forced many athletic directors to rely on fundraising as a critical part of their budgets.
One promising sign this year is that fewer schools say fundraising makes up more than half of their budget. Only 14.5 percent of athletic directors indicated fundraising accounted for the majority of their budget — the lowest since 2013-14.
Fundraising responsibilities are typically spread across the athletic program, with booster clubs overseeing most of the efforts. That didn’t change this year, but almost an equal number of athletic directors said coaches are also responsible for running fundraisers.