Sponsors and Grants for Your Pickleball Courts

One of the principle components of any overall funding strategy is to secure corporate or other private sponsorships. Since you are also an excellent salesperson (or have run into a few), you understand intrinsically that every proposal to a potential corporate or private sponsor has to stress not the value of your project overall (although that’s important additional information) but the value to them, how the project helps them meet one or more of their needs.

Sometimes this is as simple as the project being associated with a 501c3 Charitable Trust so that they are seen as being good community supporters as well as generous organizations and people. Sometimes this is much more complex and you need to dig deeper to find out where their pain is and then position, conservatively and accurately, how your project helps them alleviate some of their pain (not necessarily all of it). In the case of an organization directly selling products to the public, sometimes this is obvious…they want to sell more product and you simply put your proposal to them in terms of your outstanding demographic among your members. (Hey, over-50-years-old empty-nesters with disposable income characterizes a lot of pickleball players and absolutely rocks as far as certain sellers are concerned.)

Anyway sponsorship proposals are not all that difficult to position generally as you have a choice of who you pitch to. If you are doing a little homework you are working off a short-list of people and companies who regularly give and who will probably give back some more.  One issue that is a real one is timing of your proposals. Unless you can make it into their giving budget cycle you often don’t have a chance. So the earlier you start on this the better. Other times, conversely, you get to the owner of a medium-sized business, show ’em how much your people have already bought from them, and they write a check on the spot (virtually….usually you have to invoice them). Don’t snicker – this happens and did to us a couple of times.

Grant proposals are a different story, much more complex and fraught with peril, and for this kind of a project much less likely to succeed, and the timing is forever. That said, there were and may well be again reasons why we would create a grant proposal. More on this (and sponsorship) and a good example of them both below.

When you are working for grants, here’s a great comment indicating the attitude that must be shown:

One of the things grantors like to see is what you are doing to help yourselves. Do your snowbird pay anything toward court upkeep and maintenance? Some of the clubs around the country are doing a good job by charging a few ($3-5) per session and putting the $ towards goals that benefit all players both local and seasonal. Then you’ll be looking for some matching funds….not just someone to come fix your problem. I’d also think about ramping up your emphasis on local programing for youth and health benefits as those might get funded sooner than a play space for snow birds?
Jay Readinger
Ft. Collin, CO

Sorry to put you through all this chit-chat but it’s background that may save you time and trouble down the line.

Sponsorship Proposals and Grant Applications


  • Mayur narayan patil
    November 6, 2017

    We are spreading pickleball in India as fast as we can…there our club..in which above 40 youngster are there..and still addinng..so we need sponsorship to grow this game more…also we are doing many open tournament to grow this game..so please help us to grow this game..pickleball rock..

  • Dan Puls
    April 17, 2017

    We are attempting to add 4-6 permanent courts to our community park system. Who would you recommend for a matching grant program. Our park board has set aside $45,000 for the project. Please advise.

    Thanks ~ Dan Puls
    New Prague Area Pickleball Association
    New Prague MN 56071

    • Us
      September 7, 2017

      OMG. The word “Nobody!” comes to mind. However, we’ve heard there are matching or new funds available in some areas for ADA applications. You might also go through the USAPA site (look for Ambassadors) and reach out to John Sweeting in Meridian, Idaho. He’s the Regional USAPA Ambassador but is working locally in Meridian to try and obtain Grant funding. I think he’s the one who mentioned ADA possibilities.

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