Fundraising for Tournament and Commercialization
At all times, leagues should carefully follow the specific guidelines outlined in the Little League® Rules, Regulations and Operating Policies, specifically found in Operating Policies sections including: Using Little League Trademarks, Soliciting Funds Using the Words Little League, Restricted Use of Little League by Third Parties and Guidelines for Use of Little League in Fundraising and Local League Sponsorship.
All fundraising efforts, which use the words Little League, and are conducted by any manner in the name of the local league should be raised solely for league purposes and have clearly defined uses. Any tournament credit and reimbursement that the league may become eligible for from Little League International, is reimbursed directly to the league.
No fundraising activities, including sponsorships activities, advertisements for sponsors or donors, lettering on uniforms, fence signs, program ads, websites, etc., or any other league functions may include direct references to alcohol; tobacco products; e-cigarettes; vaping; marijuana or other controlled substances; firearms; gambling; or adult content. Leagues should carefully evaluate donations and sponsorships, avoiding those which may, per local community standards or local league membership, be objectionable or offensive. Additional standards for sponsorship and fundraising may be set by the local Little League. Under certain circumstances, Little League International reserves the right to restrict a local league sponsorship or fundraising initiative that may be deemed offensive to their constituency.
Leagues should provide financial updates inclusive of any tournament fundraising and expenditures to its membership frequently during the tournament season. This includes the amount of money raised and where it is being used, as approved by the local league’s Board of Directors and, ideally, outlined in the league’s Bylaws.
As teams progress through the International Tournament, there is typically an increased interest from commercial enterprises and therefore, greater risk for financial abuse. Leagues should be diligent in monitoring all financial activities and provide safeguards to ensure that monies raised and spent in the name of the league is done so with the best interest of the children involved.
Regulation XIII – Commercialization
The tournament season brings with it great attention and interest, not only in your local community but in communities around the world. Such interest sometimes leads to commercialization interests by local, regional and national businesses.
Implications for such provisions of Regulation XIII regarding player fundraisers, compensation-related contracts, or sponsorship of tournament teams should be reviewed in detail before fundraising for tournament. Commercial team sponsorship of tournament teams should be carefully considered as tournament teams should represent their community and its ideals.
A reminder that Regulation XIII defines Commercialization in the Little League program for participants and leagues, specifically:
- Exploitation of Little League in any form or for any purpose is prohibited.
- Solicitation for fundraising by Tee Ball, Minor League, Little League (Major) Division, Intermediate (50-70) Division, Junior, or Senior League players in or out of uniform is prohibited, except for one fundraising project annually under adult supervision. NOTE: Reference fundraising guidelines in the Operating Policies section.
- A reasonable Little League participation fee may be assessed as a parent’s obligation to assure the operational continuity of the local Little League. AT NO TIME SHOULD PAYMENT OF ANY FEE BE A PREREQUISITE FOR PARTICIPATION IN THE LITTLE LEAGUE PROGRAM. It is recommended that no fee be collected. It is recommended that parents who are unable to pay a participation fee be encouraged to contribute volunteer time to the league.
- No Little League volunteer, employee, or participant, while acting in such capacity, shall execute a contract for or otherwise agree to, accept compensation, personal or otherwise, or remuneration for the use of, or for promoting the use of, any product, service, or organization.
- A local Little League or District shall not require any player to use any specific brand/ manufacturer of equipment, for the purpose of the league receiving compensation (including deferred compensation) for such a requirement. NOTE: Little League’s policy on amateurism can be found on page 12.
- A local Little League may permit a Regular Season Team and/or Tournament Team to include the name of a team sponsor on the uniform, and the local league may receive a fee for such sponsorships, provided the sponsorship does not conflict with any Little League Rule, Regulation, and/or Policy. Such sponsor shall have no authority regarding the composition or operation of the league, the team, or its manager and/or coaches. A district, league, or team may not permit a local sponsor of a district, league, or team to use any trademarks of the Little League International at any time. For the sake of clarity, the words Little League in any form or combination, including in a league’s name, and the Little League uniform patch are trademarks of Little League International. Please refer to the Little League Operating Policies for detailed guidelines including information on solicitation of funds, such as local league sponsorship, as a charitable organization. NOTE: Once a Tournament Team plays its first game in the International Tournament, a reference to a company, product, service, or organization (including, but not limited to, a slogan or logo) may not be added to, included on, or appear on any Tournament Team uniform, apparel, or equipment.
- Violation of any part of this regulation shall result in penalties up to and including removal from the Little League program and/or revocation of the league’s charter and/ or forfeiture of International Tournament game(s).
- Read more about Predicting Tournament Expenses and Funding of Tournament Travel and Other Expenses for Parents and Families.
- Carefully review of the Little League Rules, Regulations and Operating Policies including use of Little League trademarks, use of technology and crowdfunding.
- Local League fundraising and best practices for fiscal responsibility.