Union High school graduates and former teammates are teaming up again, helping athletic programs raise funds through the local business community
A couple of former basketball teammates have teamed up again, this time to make connections between local businesses and high schools that share an appreciation for athletics.
Mark Spiegelberg said the values that come from youth athletics and high school sports are the reasons he started Fred Spiegelberg Media.
“Just preserving that. Making sure athletes have access to the facilities, the jerseys, making sure (sports) are still around, and making sure youth athletics is supported,” Mark Spiegelberg said.
“I’m also very passionate about high school athletics,” added Justen Oslund, director of business development. “Me and my high school basketball coach, we’re still very close. His son was the ring bearer at my wedding. Half the people in my wedding party were my high school teammates. Youth athletics and the relationships it helps create really matter to me. Sports is a great teacher, a great motivator.”
Spiegelberg and Oslund, Union High School Class of 2009, are now helping four high schools in Clark County — and 14 more in Oregon — with raising funds for the athletic departments through Fred Spiegelberg Media.
Mark named his company in honor of his grandfather. For those with any appreciation for Oregon sports history, Fred Spiegelberg was four-time state football coach from Medford. He also was a World War II veteran.
“We believe in youth athletics, high school sports in particular,” Mark said. “That’s what he was about.”
Now Mark Spiegelberg and his team are introducing themselves to athletic departments, trying to put a professional face in front of fundraising projects that many departments depend on in order to provide their athletes a memorable experience.
Athletic directors are often squeezing every dollar out of the school budget, and looking for more via fundraisers. FSM tries to solve the budget gap, Mark Spiegelberg said.
“We can do this in a professionalized manner,” he tells athletic directors. “You don’t have time to cold call 200 local businesses in your community.”
Oftentimes, fundraising at schools is done by volunteers, including parents.
“It’s super unorganized. Not unorganized in a bad way,” Mark said.
But many times, organized by volunteers who don’t have a whole lot of extra time on their hands. It is not their primary job to raise money for a sports team, for example.
That is the job of FSM.
In fact, FSM does not want to take away from any ongoing fundraising relationships already established.
“We’re not here to encroach on that. Let your booster club do their auctions. Everything they do, keep doing,” Mark said. “We’re not encroaching on those dollars at all. Keep that rolling.”
Instead, FSM is seeking out new sponsorship deals. They can be used in media guides that highlight an entire school’s athletic season. This spring’s media guide produced by FSM for Battle Ground High School, for example, has pictures, rosters, and schedules for every sports team for the Tigers.
Mark Spiegelberg calls it the keepsake factor.
“Parents love these things,” he said, noting that media guides are not thrown out by families of the athletes.
Which means the advertisements in the media guides have a pretty long shelf life, if you will.
“There is a huge hunger for brands to get in front of parents and students,” Mark Spiegelberg said. “We think it’s untapped. That’s our job, to connect the local business community with our high schools. It’s a total win-win.”
FSM is working with Camas High School football, as well.
“It’s great to have people who are invested in local sports in our community,” said Stephen Baranowski, the athletic director at Camas High School. “I appreciate their approach to it. They’re here to have a successful business but also help local schools in their area, which is great.”
The football program went with FSM this past season, and it worked so well that the media guide for the 2023 season will also be produced by FSM.
“Already underway for next year’s football media guide,” Baranowski said. “They’re out hunting for businesses right now.”
At Camas, it is just one sport that is working with FSM. Battle Ground, Union, and Mountain View High Schools have a deal with FSM in every sport.
Beyond advertising in media guides, businesses also have the option to buy signage at football stadiums, baseball and softball fields, and in school gymnasiums.
“Businesses want to help out all student athletes,” Mark said. “They really enjoy having their signs up year round.”
Oslund has a sales pitch:
“We’re in it to raise money for the schools. But it’s also a unique opportunity for local businesses to market locally, support high school athletics, and not have to spend a ton of money like you would as a corporate sponsor of the Blazers or Timbers,” Oslund said. “There are a lot of companies out there that are very philanthropic and want to support their community.”
If it is true that the best salespeople are the ones who believe in the product they are selling, Oslund is in the perfect position, working with a dear friend, in a field he loves.
“I can go to work every day, and I can still sell what I’m passionate about, and I know the money that I’m generating, I know where that money is going,” Oslund said. “I know it’s helping out youth.”
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