Looking at all the Round Rock Express does for the community, you wonder how the organization finds time to run a baseball program.
Its +100-page Community Impact Report for 2015 reads better than reports from most corporate giving programs. There are projects that give a portion of ticket sales to a charity, fundraising events that are hosted at Dell Diamond to raise money, players visiting sick kids or honoring military veterans, baseball jersey auctions, fire engine pulls, sock drives, disaster relief… more than half a million dollars raised and donated in 2015 alone.
If there is an opportunity to give back to the community, the Express takes it.
(By the way, the Triple-A affiliate to the Texas Rangers had one of the best records in the league last year. So there’s some pretty great baseball happening in Round Rock, too.)
Right now the club is looking for 72 nonprofits to benefit from its program with Chasco Community Partnership program, one nonprofit per home game.
When you have an active audience of more than 8,500 per game, there’s an opportunity to raise awareness and even some money, and that’s why community contact Cassidy MacQuarrie wants to get the word out.
“A lot of minor-league teams across the country do this, but not for every home game, like we do,” says MacQuarrie. “And we want to host a different nonprofit each game.”
Being the featured nonprofit of the game means you get in front of the fans in a variety of ways:
- Host an information table at the home-plate entrance, its most trafficked gate, where you can introduce thousands of fans to your organization.
- Do an on-field interview during the live pre-game show, to tell the fans about your organization. You provide the questions, too, so you can craft your message exactly how you want.
- Have an in-game PSA read over the loudspeaker between the 3rd and 4th innings, again crafting the message yourself.
- You can also raise money through ticket sales to your nonprofit’s fans. The Express creates a special online code that gives buyers a discount while also giving your organization a portion of the sales.
A handful of the nonprofits will also be selected to be the beneficiaries of a team jersey auction. The Express enlists sponsors to cover the costs of creating special jerseys to be worn by the team during the game. (Last year’s Star Wars jersey was popular, but the jerseys with the names of those lost of breast cancer or those honoring a veteran raised thousands of dollars.) Those jerseys are auctioned off to fans during the games who take them home afterwards. Jersey sponsors will choose from among the nonprofits offered by the Express. Last year’s jersey auctions raised a total of $45,000.
The best applications are those that indicate a true investment of time and staff from the nonprofit.
“I ask them to come up with creative ways they would tie in to a theme night, because most of our jerseys are in relation to a theme night,” says MacQuarrie. “We also want to know how they would promote the night on their end. The more they can give me in that regard, the better.”
There’s something about a hometown sports team, says MacQuarrie, that gives it a special place in the community. And serving that community is one of the fouding core values of Dell Diamond and the Express. “We have a platform that is unparalleled,” she says. “The way we give back to the community is something I take pride in.”
MacQuarrie says she would love to look out into the stands and see a whole group of people cheering on the nonprofit of the night. While the first home game isn’t until April 15, nonprofits will start being selected on January 15.