Prospective Charities / Non-Profits

Do you represent a local, Durham-based non-profit organization and want to partner with Play NC? Great! Thanks for your interest! Please read the information below to determine if you think your organization would be a good fit for involvement.

Durham Softball League

The Durham Softball League is an adult, slow-pitch softball league where players compete to raise money for charity. This is the “flagship” product of Play NC and currently accounts for the largest portion of Play NC’s donation pool each year, by far. Each team in the league represents a one of our Partners and the players compete to earn money for their team’s cause. Since the Durham Softball League began in the Spring of 2018, we have hosted seasons of 5, 11, 16, and 16 teams, reaching more than 700 players and $13,600 raised for charity. Our generous players have also combined to donate thousands of items through donation drives we host at the field every few weeks.

Team Sponsors

Unlike traditional team sponsors, Play NC’s Sponsor Organizations do not pay anything to join the league and do not pay any fees for participation. Instead, sponsoring a team means the team’s players will represent your organization and compete to earn donations for their Sponsor. We brought in a diverse group of great local Durham non-profit groups that all have a similar mission to improve Durham and think every group is worthy of our help for different reasons. Player Registration fees will pay for the expenses, with all remaining funds going towards a Donation Pool and donated to the Team Sponsors in the league.

We currently have 19 wonderful non-profit organizations signed up as Team Sponsors, with each bringing a unique benefit to Durham.

Benefits of Participation

  • Raise Money For Your Cause. During the season or event, the team that represents your charity in the league will compete to earn donations for your charity. Your team will be guaranteed a baseline donation for simply participating, but your team can earn larger donations for your charity by winning games during the season and tournaments. Our Partners have averaged $257 / year in donations from our games since 2018, for a total of more than $7,200 in earned donations from all events. We hope to be able to increase that number with more teams, so your participation will help increase the donations for all our charities!
  • Partner With Other Non-Profits. All of the teams in the our leagues represent great causes in our community and help support each other. We recognize the value that each of our groups bring to Durham and want them to be proud to be associated with the other great local causes in the league. This is a perfect excuse to interact with other local charities, learn about each other’s programs, develop partnerships across new networks, and gain exposure for your cause among a fairly diverse audience.
  • One Free Roster Spot. Like last year, each organization will have the opportunity to designate one player as their “free” representative in the Durham Softball league. You can decide on the “free” player however you’d like – give it to a employee, or volunteer, or (my favorite option) hold a social media contest and give it away to someone. The one catch – I can’t promise that person will play for the charity that gave them the free entry. They’ll just be in the league as a free agent, but I’ll do my best to have them placed on their chosen organization’s team if the registrations allow.
  • Donation Drives. One of our goals is to help every Partner with some type of in-season promotion to our players. We have collected used dog toys for Hope Animal Rescue, canned goods for hurricane victims. We can provide creative ways to receive donated items that your organization needs.
  • Marketing. While we aren’t the biggest organization, we do have ~550 followers on Facebook and ~1000 folks on our newsletter. We average more than a 60% full read rate on all our newsletters because they are relevant and infrequent, but we make sure to highlight every charity at least twice per year. Stories of our players finding out about a local non-profit through our league and then volunteering or helping the non-profit out somehow are common and incredibly rewarding to hear about!
  • More Than Softball. As we grow, we will be expanding into new sports, activities, and events. Our goal is to offer a wide variety of different ways to have fun and “play for charity.” While softball will probably always be our primary focus, we are also excited to see what comes next!

Possible Downsides of Participation

  • Being a Team Sponsor does not mean you will be guaranteed a Team each season. If we do not have enough players sign up for the season, and your charity received one the fewest registrations, your Team will be contracted (only for that season) and the Players who did choose your organization will be assigned to a different Team. We had 11 teams last season and are currently recruiting new charities because we expect to fill the league again this year and want to be prepared to expand past 12 teams when the opportunity comes.
    • In the unfortunate event that your organization does not receive enough registrations, your charity will still receive the minimum donation each season, which is a 100% match of the last place team’s regular season earnings. Basically, the last place team plays for themselves and any teams left on the bench each season. While not ideal, this still promises a guaranteed financial benefit from participating.
  • You will be asked to occasionally “Share” our posts on Facebook and Twitter. I say “asked” because there is no requirement – it’d just be nice, if you did. We don’t ask often, but at least sharing our registration announcements and playoff results at the beginning and end of each season has proven to be a very effective way for us to build our online presence. It is also the great way for organizations to interact with each other (eg. Meals on Wheels vs. Miracle League at 2pm!) and a marketable way to reach out to the community for your own purposes, so I hope you’ll have fun with the possibilities.
  • You will have to write about 300-400 words. We make a “Team Page” for each charity (eg. Hope Animal Rescue) that we want to make sure is consistent with your organization’s branding and messaging. To be sure we are effectively promoting the image you want us to promote, we’d simply like to have the words come directly from your organization. We would need your mission statement, a brief description of your organization, and the details of a specific project or initiative that your involvement with our league would help.

Terms & Requirements

To satisfy Play NC’s own non-profit tax reporting requirements, our partners must meet certain criteria.

  1. Your organization must be a 501(c)3 non-profit.
  2. Your organization must sponsor programs or maintain offices in Durham County.
  3. Your organization must allow Play NC to use your name and logo on any league/event website, newsletter, social media, and jerseys. All materials would still be approved by your organization and we would only use the logo you submit and approve initially.
  4. Your organization must grant Play NC permission to promote your organization as a part of the league and print jerseys with your organization’s logo.
  5. Your organization must designate a contact within your organization as our main contact for softball-related emails and social media.
  6. Your organization must not be directly affiliated with any religion or government agency.
  7. Your organization must be undertaking a specific project or initiative that will directly benefit from our league’s donation.
  8. Your organization agrees to participate as a Play NC Partner for at least one year.

Someone who is authorized to agree to these terms on behalf of the organization will be required to complete our Non-Profit Partner Participation form. We do not require contracts or signed agreements and you decide to leave or stay every year in December. Nobody has left yet and we hope they never will.

If your organization meets all of these requirements, you are pretty much guaranteed to be accepted. We would love to have all non-profits in Durham eligible to be represented in one of our leagues, so everyone is welcome!

Budget for Durham Softball, a charity softball league in Durham, NC

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to provide my own team?

No! We will recruit and assign players to your teams. However, if your team fails to meet the minimum player count for a full team, your team may get consolidated with another charity. We can donate more to your cause if we fill the team, so any help you can provide to promote the league and your team’s registrations would be great!

Do I have to pay for anything?

No! The goal of the league is to raise money for your charity, so your organization will never have a single required cost related to your organization’s involvement with Play NC.

Do I have to do anything during the games?

No! Your organization will receive a free roster spot, so you are welcome to play on the team as your charity’s representative. We’d love it if you came out to play, or at least cheer on your team from the stands, but there is no requirement for anyone affiliated with your organization to come to the games. We do need a steady contact within your organization in case we have questions, but there are no set time obligations. We expect to take up about 15-30 minutes of your representative’s time per year, but everything can be done on your own schedule.

What will I have to do? 

Someone who is authorized to agree to our terms on behalf of the organization will need to:

  • Complete and submit the Non-Profit Partner Participation form, OR
  • Submit the following to play@durhamsoftball.com:
    • A high quality .jpg, .gif, or .pdf version of your organization’s logo.
      • We will require permission to use this logo on our team jerseys, website, and marketing materials in order to promote the league and your organization’s involvement.
    • Your organization’s mission statement.
    • A description of your organization. (~100 words).
    • A full description of a single, specific organizational program/event/activity/need that will benefit from our league’s donation. (~100 words)
    • The name, phone number, and email address of the person named as the organization’s contact.