Racquet Network is approached by more than 200 racquet sports organization every year asking us to support them with fundraising in a variety of ways. While we would like to help everybody, we can’t. Our family-owned business would quickly be bankrupt.
There are also legal and ethical issues to consider of which most non-profit board members (particularly pickleball club members) are generally unaware — issues which could result in the loss of a club’s non-profit status or create legal problems for individual board members.
What we have done instead is create a fundraising rewards program that is legal, ethical and fair to everyone involved. One that is based upon mutual relationships with our friends in all clubs, for-profit and non-profit alike. Simply put, if a club’s members are encouraged to purchase online from us instead of Amazon or Tennis Warehouse, we will give part of the purchase price back to their affiliated club. The club can then spend their credits on whatever they need — prizes for tournaments, balls, shuttles, court equipment and so on.
Why online and not in-store? Our store staff are simply too busy to be keeping track of who belongs to which club and how much they purchase. Plus, they are trained in customer service, not accounting. By restricting this program to online purchases, we ensure that everything is clearly in writing and that there are fewer chances for confusion.
By keeping things clear and simple we are able to offer ongoing yearly sponsorship benefits to many clubs that count on our support. We are also able to increase the percentage going back to loyal clubs who are with us for long periods of time. In fact, clubs that have been affiliated with us for ten years or more can see sponsorship credits of up to 20% on some items.
How Do We Register?
Registration for this program is easy. Just make a purchase online through racquetnetwork.com and check to see if your club is already on the list. If they are not, just add their name to the form asking us to add them. Within five days, we will do exactly that. From that point forward we will start awarding sponsorship credits for online purchases.
How Much Can We Earn?
Sponsorship credits are based on a percentage of the total value of online purchases made by club members. These sales are clearly documented on the checkout page during every online purchase and are automatically booked by the staff who process the orders.
Sponsorship credits accumulate over time and can be used once per year for any purpose. There are no limits on the amounts that can be earned. The longer a club is affiliated with us, the higher the percentage goes. Clubs who have been affiliated with us for 10 years can earn credits of as much as 20% per transaction.
How Can We Earn More?
This program has no strings attached. We do not request or require that clubs promote this program or our business in any particular way. We understand that every club has a unique political environment and we have no wish to insert ourselves into club business. However, we can advise clubs that they will earn more credits if their members are aware of the sponsorship program. Of course, not all club members will change their purchasing habits to benefit their club, but most will.
Adding a link from your club’s website to ours is obviously important, but it is best if this is done from a page on the website that explains the program and lists some of the things that have been (or will be) purchased on the club’s behalf. Reminding members from time to time is also important, especially during the season and around the winter holidays.
Clubs in Calgary can also benefit enormously from encouraging their players to order CUSTOM or DISCOUNT STRINGING online. In fact, based on the results in this program so far, we can advise Calgary clubs that stringing services will probably make up the bulk of their total sponsorship benefit.
Can We Get a Discount?
One of the reasons that we designed this program in this way was to get around some of the problems created by clubs (particularly pickleball clubs) who ask us to give discounts to their members. Under Canadian law, board members of non-profit clubs cannot benefit in anyway from serving on the board. Therefore, by offering some club members discounts, we are putting the non-profit status of their clubs at risk.
Clearly we don’t want to do that. We value our non-profit friends and don’t want to do anything to compromise them ethically or legally. We also don’t want to create a situation where some club members get discounts while others — particularly board members — can’t legally do so.
This program sidesteps that entire legal/ethical quagmire by ensuring that all benefits accrue to the registered charities, not to their individual members. In doing so we make it fair for every club member and put the emphasis on helping the non-profit entity over helping individuals who may not need, or in some cases, cannot legally accept such benefits.
Other common questions
Q: Will you come to a board meeting and explain this program to us?
A: Sorry, but no. Answers to all questions are on this website.
Q: Will you please call me to discuss some questions I have about this program?
A: Sorry, but no. Answers to all questions are on this website.
Q: Can we do this but with some specific alterations just for our club?
A: Sorry, but no. This program is universal.
Q: Can we discuss some other ideas our board has come up with for fundraising?
A: Sorry, but no. This program is the only program we are offering. We make adjustments to this program from time to time, but we are not interested in any other fundraising programs.
Q: Can we do this and also get a discount?
A: You’re kidding … right?
Q: What are the minimums?
A: Clubs that are not generating $3000 per year in sales clearly don’t have enough support from their members and are dropped from the program. This is a very, very low threshold — just 10 to 12 members purchasing new racquets and/or shoes per year. Clubs that generate this minimum level ($3000) are eligible for a sponsorship credit of $300 to $600 depending on how many consecutive years they have been in the program. New clubs in their first year are eligible for a maximum credit of 10%. It increases by 1% for every consecutive year of involvement to a maximum of 20%. So the absolute minimum dollar benefit is $300.00. There is no maximum dollar benefit.
Q: Do we get sponsorship credits on the balls and court equipment purchased by our club?
A: In most cases, yes. But some court equipment is offered at deeply discounted prices. On those things and on clearance items, we do not offer sponsorship credits.
Q: Do we get sponsorships credits on shipping?
A: Not from us, but you are welcome to ask Canada Post. We do not mark shipping up. We charge customers whatever Canada Post charges us. We do not use shipping or taxes to calculate sponsorship benefits.
Q: How often can we use our credits?
A: Once per calendar year?
Q: How often can we ask how many credits we have accumulated?
A: See question above.
Q: Can we get a detailed accounting of who purchased what and how much they spent?
A: Sorry, but no. Canadian law requires us to keep that information private.
If we hear them enough, new questions are added to this page. Please take the time to read all of the documentation about this program on this website before calling and asking questions. Retail store staff, coaches and managers generally aren’t aware of the details of this program and will refer you back to this website for answers to your questions.
Also keep in mind that it does not matter what somebody might say to you or what you think you might have heard somebody say. The only thing that counts is what has been put down in writing. So please take all of the time you need to read and digest the information provided to you here.