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On Parade

In Idaho, the Mountain Home High School football team created a fundraiser that took a literal push and shove to get going. Called the "Tiger Bug" Car Push fundraiser, it brought in $7,000 in its first year.  

Last year, after his son saw a football team pushing an old car through the streets on an episode of "Friday Night Lights," Mountain Home High School football booster member Chuck Ceccarelli thought it could work in their town. Along with increasing exposure for the team, it would be a good way to get sponsorships.
 
The concept is simple. The football team pushes the "Tiger Bug"--a Volkswagon bug that is turned into a big helmet--on one of the town's main roads in order to create a buzz about the program. The fundraising aspect is met through business sponsorships that are offered leading up to the event.

To get started last year, a scrap metal recycler and a graphics company contributed the materials--a Volkswagon Beetle, paint, and graphics--and a local car club put in the labor to put the car together. Its detailing makes it look like a football helmet. It has a "helmet cage" on the front and a bar on the back accommodates pushing.

"Then I put on a sales training seminar with the football players," Ceccarelli says. "After that, they were ready to go to businesses and give them an opportunity to participate in the Mountain Home High School Tiger Football Program with several sponsorship options to choose from.

"For example, for $500 businesses could be a platinum sponsor," he continues. "With that, they got their names on the car and the team's Web site, a photo on the booster club's Facebook page as a sponsor, and a signed football helmet at the end of the season."

The team was divided into selling groups of five or six players. "One thing we worked on in the seminar was learning how they should conduct themselves on their sales visits," Ceccarelli says. "They learned that when they go into a business, they should ask to speak with a manager--and if they can't, they should ask to make an appointment.
 
"As an added incentive for performance, we had a $100 prize for the group that brought in the most sales," he continues. "And we heard nothing but great reviews from the businesses about how professional the players were when they came in."

On the day of the event, the team started from a furniture store and pushed the car uphill two miles to a car dealership. To drum up excitement, both endpoints hosted live radio broadcasts. "It was a great way for them to bring in some business," Ceccarelli says. "And the radio coverage leading up to the event helped our advertising. We also had signs around town, although we did most of our promotions through the team's Facebook page."
 
Led by a police car and followed by the fire department, the car push was akin to a parade. "The coaches pushed first and then the team members rotated through while several people walked along the route," Ceccarelli says. "It got a lot of exposure. As a business-owner, I can tell you that it makes a difference when someone offers an advertising opportunity, rather than asking for a donation."




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