12 tips for artificial turf field financing
More often than not, municipalities, clubs and schools don’t have the financial means to pay for an artificial turf sports field out of pocket. But that doesn’t mean their goal is out of reach. Artificial turf financing opportunities are waiting to be discovered and if everyone involved pulls together, lines up partners and sponsors, leverages the community and explores all avenues, (almost) anything is possible.
If the project kicks off with a large funding gap, it may take one or two years to cover it before work can begin. But the effort is worth it. After all, modern artificial playing surfaces are no longer a plaything for pro teams and wealthy schools. They are becoming the standard for all sports and recreation facilities.
Here are some tips we have found widely applicable to the development of a new artificial sports field.
1. Detailed cost calculations
Before you start raising funds for your sports facility project, it is important to accurately define the cost of turf field installation and the cost of operation over the lifespan of the pitch. Realizing that the initial estimate was too low months after construction started is more than an annoyance – it could be fatal to the project.
Therefore, get detailed input from professional sports facility planners and vendors. Not every artificial turf is the same, and not every project requires the same preliminary work. Also explore what other upgrades can be bundled into the project (such as an LED sports lighting system).
2. Don't forget the schedule
In addition to the cost, you have to know the timeline. Upgrading an existing pitch could cut into the playing or training season, and planning work for the off-season should include allowances for schedule overruns. Losing playing time could cost revenue from field rentals, and even the permanent loss of members if they are frustrated with your facility’s unavailability.
3. Promoting artificial turf pitches: Examine all options!
Sports have a high emotional value, are good for health and are popular among all populations and age groups. This is why the construction of a new artificial turf pitch is often eligible for grants and tax credits.
4. Sell the naming rights of your artificial turf pitch
A sports field or stadium is a place that people talk about. It is a place where victories are celebrated and where defeats have to be overcome. This is true for both players and spectators. Sports fields are always meeting places.
Take advantage of this familiarity to find a sponsor who wants their name associated with this focal point of the community. Local, regional and national companies may all be interested in an opportunity like this.
5. Artificial turf field financing by installment
If you can’t afford the cost all at once, artificial turf financing is an option. Talk to local lending institutions about interest rates and terms. Leading artificial turf companies already work with banks and have developed multi-year financing models, where monthly or annual repayments are possible.
6. Fundraising for the artificial turf pitch: Take advantage of all opportunities
Whether it’s the players in your club or the children and young people at your school or your members’ friends and families, everyone can get involved. Don’t underestimate the amounts that can be raised through regular activities such as bake sales and raffles, as well as through charity events such as concerts or parties. Fundraising runs are popular and are on-brand for a sports and recreation project.
7. Get support from a fundraising committee and a booster club
Especially with a project as large as the construction of a new artificial turf field, it is important to get other committed supporters on board. Together, you can create timelines, share ideas, coordinate strategies, and monitor finances – and, of course, benefit from the knowledge and contacts of committee members.
You should also make sure that people are involved who feel connected to the sports facility and know what’s important. For example, club members, coaches, students and their parents and teachers.
Supporters who do not want to take on responsibility, but who want to donate in some other way, can become members of a support association for the turf renovation project. Such an association also inspires confidence that the money collected will only be used for the desired purpose.
8. Activate former players
Find out who previously attended the school or played in the club. Do they include successful athletes or entrepreneurs? Or are there other people who have achieved a certain notoriety? They may still feel connected to their past and be willing to donate for an artificial turf field. In addition, if well-known people are involved, this helps to strengthen the reputation and importance of the funding campaign.
9. Crowdfunding for artificial turf: Every dollar counts
In addition to focusing on prominent or financially strong alumni, you can get total strangers involved. Crowdfunding has become increasingly easy with a variety of reputable providers offering platforms. Create a fundraising campaign page and promote it in your community on all advertising channels such as newspapers, social media and flyers.
10. Best practice - learn from others
New artificial turf fields are being built every day, many of them funded by dedicated campaigns. Take a look at where things have worked particularly well. You can then contact the organizers and find out what was particularly successful in their fundraising.
11. Look for partners
The advantage of an artificial turf field is that many more training and playing hours are possible there than on a natural grass field. You may find other potential users who can also provide funding, either immediately or later as tenants.
12. Don't forget public relations around the sports facility project.
Make sure that the planned artificial turf pitch is always a topic of discussion in schools, clubs and local media. Focus on the advantages for students and club members so that the desire for better playing and training facilities is expressed again and again.
Provide regular updates on the status of the fundraising campaign, set milestones and report on their achievement to motivate more people to donate as well. A dedicated campaign website or Facebook page is recommended, as is a donation page on a crowdfunding platform. Make it easy for people to find you, so someone who has heard about your project and wants to support it does not have to search for a long time before opening their wallet.