I believe that there is a serious gap in the way that most local barbell clubs organize their financial backbone. Why not replicate what the rest of the successful club sports have been doing for decades? These successful clubs form non-profits, which fundraise to support their team. So why don't barbell clubs do this? From my own personal experience I've witnessed that most people have a hard time asking for money. But you can't approach a non-profit with a for-profit mentality. A non-profit doesn't ask for handouts and bailouts. It isn't producing scalable goods and services. A non-profit seeks donations to support an important mission that will benefit the greater good. At least that's what intend to do. Our mission is to create a financially sustainable club team that helps to mitigate travel costs for athletes, develops high-level athletes, pays a coach a living wage, and offers stipends for high level athletes.
I've had the fortune, on the Mobility-Doc end, of taking care of many national and international-level club athletes. Most other clubs share a very specific organizational structure. There is a board of directors, a number of well-written by-laws, a business plan, and a series of fundraising events that occur throughout the year. Most importantly, at least in my own opinion, all of these swim clubs, cheer clubs, gymnastics clubs, etc, are all non-profits. Ask any parent of a child who is on one of those teams what they have to do for fundraising each year. If you're lucky, like I am, you may even know a few parents who are self-taught fundraising experts by virtue of the fact that they are so intimately involved in their child's club team. As a non-profit club we can legally fundraise, offer tax-exemption to our donors. Also our corporation is entitled to federal income tax exemption and a number of other tax benefits. In a nut shell, being a non-profit club means that we can use as much money as possible to responsibility help our team.
By now you may have noticed our social media posts asking for donations. In the first couple of months of starting our non-profit we raised $3,000 mostly by just asking for help in an unorganized way. That was only the beginning. We recently began our first prize-oriented fundraiser, a raffle where you buy $20 tickets and can win over $3000 worth of prizes. National and local businesses contributed with various products and services to help our team. Even I was surprised by the level of businesses that were willing to donate. If you haven't bought a raffle ticket yet, click here. In the next 6 months we expect to finalize the planning for all of the various fundraisers that we will implement throughout the year.
What's with the constant fundraising? There are 8 national-level competitions and 8 international-level competitions, if you count pan-am and world teams at the various levels. Fortunately USA Weightlifting funds most international teams. But they do not, and should not, pay for all of the national-level athletes, pan-am athletes, and their coaches. Each year we send significantly more athletes to national competitions than previous years. We need to get ahead of the inevitable. I suggest that all barbell clubs should follow our lead.
Our goal is to raise in excess of $70,000 per year. With this we can have at least one full-time coach who is dedicated to the club team, subsidize some of the traveling that our team has to do, pay for our club's overhead, and eventually even offer our own stipends to our top level athletes who treat this sport as a full-time job. With your help we will create high-level athletes and we plan on giving back to our donors as much as possible. I promise that if you promote us, we will promote you in every way possible. So, if you happen to see our attempts at fundraising, please contribute. And if you can't contribute, then at least share our posts. Thank you to our friend and lawyer, Loren Speziale, for all of her help with forming our non-profit.
John Giacalone is owner and head coach of LVB. He is also co-owner of Mobility-Doc where he routinely rehabilitates injured athletes.