Updated February 23 at 11:56am
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9/10/12 01:32PM
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Fundraising Twist: Candy Sales Out, Ad Sales In

The traditional youth sports fundraising strategy of selling candy may be replaced by a new model: advertising sales. The Active Youth Network, (AYN)a new start up based in Rhode Island and Colorado, …

The traditional youth sports fundraising strategy of selling candy may be replaced by a new model: advertising sales. The Active Youth Network, (AYN)a new start up based in Rhode Island and Colorado, provides youth sports clubs with a self-serve, online advertising system that creates a steady monthly revenue stream.

QuickAds, developed by East Providence based Creative Circle Media Solutions, allows local businesses to go on a sports club website and place a display ad to promote their products and services to youth sports families. “We are in the process of creating an online channel that lets local businesses show their support local youth sports teams and at the same time generate new customers by offering discounts and coupons” says Chris Westerkamp, SVP of Business Development for the Active Youth Network.

And there’s a bigger play in the works according to Westerkamp. “On a larger scale we are creating a youth sports network with a prime audience for major brand, family friendly advertisers” that can serve local, regional and national companies.” When we did our research of the youth sports market, we were shocked to find no single channel to it. From a media perspective, youth sport is totally fragmented. An advertiser seeking to reach hockey moms or dads has nowhere to go.

The 70% Solution

The AYN offers a huge incentive for youth sports clubs to join the network. It gives 70% of national and regional ad sales back to its’ member clubs. There are no costs or fees. In addition, AYN will provide members with a customized website including hosting, free.

The websites are attractive, functional and easy to manage. AYN’s Chief of Marketing and Design, Steve Ruggieri lives in Situate RI and teaches at the Rhode Island School of Design. “Our goal is to make these websites the epicenter of information and community for families, coaches and supporters and of course the kids,” says Ruggieri, “the websites are user friendly and highly functional and allow clubs to post the latest photos and videos to promote team spirit and sportsmanship”.

Ruggieri is just completing designs for high schools, many of which face budget challenges that threaten sports and after school programs.

Because the Active Youth Network essentially gives the company’s profits back to its members, it enables advertisers to execute a cause related marketing strategy. Cause related marketing is becoming more prominent because research shows consumers connect with brands that give back to the community. In this case families that share a deep belief in the values their kids learn by participating in sports. AYN advertisers are seen as supporters because their ad spending goes to reduce expenses for clubs and ultimately families.

The Active Youth Network is rapidly approaching a point of critical mass in terms of ad impressions delivered making it a serious consideration for major brand advertisers. “We have advertisers lined up to jump on board as we cross the tipping point from building the network to selling the network”, Westerkamp commented, “our background is in sales and that’s when it gets to be really fun”.

Contact: Chris Westerkamp / (401) 477-0610 / chris@activeyouthnetwork.com

www.activeyouthnetwork.com

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