So, you've decided to form a local baseball league. You have group of people interested, enough for a couple of teams, and you've located a couple of practice spaces. The foundation is taken care of, but you still need a lot more -- equipment, uniforms, flyer/poster printing, and possibly merchandise or concessions, depending on how big you want to go with your games.
As with most things in life, you can't do much without money. Keeping your league active and afloat will require cash flow. Some leagues choose to set themselves up as a nonprofit corporation 501(c)(3). The advantage to this is twofold: You can purchase equipment and other items for the league tax-free, and donors may be more willing to give money to the team because donations to a nonprofit are tax deductible. You can file for nonprofit corporation status yourself. Just be sure to do your research. If you have an attorney to go over the paperwork, even better. You can find more information at the IRS Web site.
The first rule of running a local baseball league is this: Don't buy anything that can be donated. Hit up your local sporting goods stores for equipment like bases, bats and balls. Trade product for featured ads in programs or printed on your T-shirts. To catch a break on your T-shirts, ask a local print shop if it would like to sponsor you. Most small businesses jump at the chance to partner with local organizations in the community. Be creative -- hold fundraisers by getting local businesses to donate items and raffle them off. You can think even bigger and try to get corporate sponsorship from a company headquartered in your town. If you use its name for the league, it may be willing to sponsor you.
You can run sponsorship several ways. Setting up various levels of sponsorship is an excellent way to appeal to both large and small companies. Some companies can afford to donate on a regular timetable. Some may only be able to make one-time donations. Give perks accordingly -- bigger donations might net bigger advertisements; smaller donations might merit a free T-shirt.
Calculate a budget of what it takes to run your league on a monthly basis -- field rentals, travel money, first aid supplies, other incidentals -- and charge dues to each player. Another way to keep the money coming in is to look to your team members to find donors. Form fundraising committees and assign each team member a different area of town to canvass.
What else should you consider before starting a league?