A Franchise That Coaches, Band Directors, and Choir Teachers Will Love

Posted by Pete Gilfillan and Nat Truitt on May 14, 2021 12:44:00 PM

No sport or school program ever has enough money, and coaches and teachers aren't taught how to fundraise in college.

That's where Fundraising U comes in to help.

This franchise helps school programs in need of fundraising assistance find success.

Mike Bahun, the CEO of the company, started this company after he had to fundraise as a baseball coach. He discusses what the franchise does to ensure success, how they built in the sports mindset for franchisee training, and why the mental game is so important–especially in the Super Bowl.


Pete:                Welcome to the HIRE YOURSELF podcast. This is Pete Gilfillian, and I've got Nat on special assignment today. And I have a very special guest for us today. I have Mike Bahun; he is the CEO and the founder of Fundraising University. And I'm super excited, he's got an awesome business, and I get the opportunity to share it with you today. So Mike, welcome.


Mike B.:            Thanks, Pete.


Pete:                Oh, it's great to have you here. And where are you located? What part of the country?


Mike B.:            I live in Kansas City, on the Kansas side.


Pete:                Oh, well, congratulations on the chiefs, boy, what a team they are, amazing.


Mike B.:            Yes.


Pete:                So sorry about the last super bowl, but destiny, I think, got in your way there a little bit.


Mike B.:            Yes, I think it showed the mental part of sports and how valuable that is, and how it can be exposed very quickly if we don't understand the mental part and the physical part.


Pete:                Yes. Well, certainly, you're a lifetime athlete and obviously a coach and that kind of stuff. So what sports did you play?


Mike B.:            Yes. So all the way through high school, and had a chance to do all three in college football, wrestling, and baseball. Decided to play baseball, played in the big 12, and then played some professional baseball, and then got into coaching and fundraising.


Pete:                Oh, that's awesome. So coaching, all right. So a lifetime athlete, and then you turn to coach. So what sport do you, coach?


Mike B.:            I coach baseball at Crate University.


Pete:                Awesome, that's great. And you mentioned fundraising, so I think you've been in fundraising for a very long time, is that correct?


Mike B.:            It is. In 1999, as a high school baseball coach, someone helped me fundraise, and on some level, I've been involved ever since then.


Pete:                Wow, that's great. And as you think about that, so you've got years of experience doing that. So how did you come up with the idea of developing fundraising university?


Mike B.:            Yes. So there was an obvious need that coaches needed money, and the acumen, the business acumen that accompanies that they often don't have those experiences. So I wanted it to be a service business that was relational, and then we took the dynamics of what make a good sports team or a band or choir, and we leveraged those dynamics and then built a service system to help coaches raise money.


Pete:                Yes. And it's really a need now, right? As a lot of these schools are going through budget cuts, especially after this last year. I can imagine that's a big need for these teams and these athletes.


Mike B.:            Yes. It's absolutely a big need. I mean, the funding will shrink; I think that's obvious, right? And I think the other thing that's obvious is our awareness about sports, our appreciation about sports and being in schools has been heightened in its own organic way.

And then the reality of all the club sports that spend a lot of money has driven the experience to be more expensive for a high school student. So we're stepping into that. I sold a franchise last week in little rock to a guy that sold in schools for 26 years.

And I think he said it perfectly; he said when I sold financial products and investing products into schools and teachers, I would often have to create a need for them to do that. He said, but with this, they already know they need it.


Pete:                Yes, they need it. And so what do you do? Like if I'm a coach and I need help fundraising, we need to get some money for our team. What do you guys do at fundraising university?


Mike B.:            Yes. So like I said it's a professional service; our mission is to raise the most amount of money in the shortest period of time with the least amount of interference for the coach.

                        And what that means is typically, we have a service-based system called the Blitz system, it's a fully immersed scenario for seven days where we have a professional rep go into the school in person.

They develop a game plan with the coaching staff. We get them, they're bought into that, then we get that to the students, the students go out and ask for support. The seventh day we have a blitz, and we're done, and we're able to raise teams. We had three teams last week raised forty thousand dollars in one hour.


Pete:                Holy cow, wow. That goes a long way to fund a team, right?


Mike B.:            Absolutely.


Pete:                That's awesome. So you've been doing this, you've founded it in what year? What year did you found fundraising university?


Mike B.:            1999 I did it as a coach, and then I was part of a national brand. And then, in 2009, fundraising university was launched.


Pete:                Okay. And so been around for we'll call it we're on 11th year, right? 11th, 12th year. How many franchises do you have?


Mike B.:            We now have 46 locations.


Pete:                Awesome, congratulations that's great success. And when we talk about fundraising university, and this idea that you're looking for franchisees to go help these communities, help these sports teams. What do you look for in a good franchisee? What characteristics are you looking for as you try to find a business partner? A franchisee?


Mike B.:            Sure. And I think they're in this order too; we have them very defined. They're a self-starter, they're teachable, they're competitive, they're organized, and they're empathetic. So the contrast of the empathy and the competitiveness is what makes our model unique.

                        Because you need someone that that has the business acumen, but they've also been drawn to this mechanism that I want to help and support people, and they look for the affirmation both financially and emotionally. And when we find those people, they're very passionate about what we do. And they're helping people everywhere.


Pete:                Yes. Well, that's a big thing, right? Is you can make a difference in people's lives? And a lot of people I work with, they're executives they've had very successful careers, but they want to get onto that next step, and that's about making an impact in their community, right? If I'm a corporate executive, I'm flying all over the country.

I can't be engaged in my community as much as I'd like. And so it sounds like you can really make an impact on the young people, the teams, the organizations within a community.


Mike B.:            Yes, I know you're exactly right. I've been pleasantly surprised that a lot of people that have been in high-level corporate roles have really been drawn to this, because like you mentioned, traveling, not seeing their kids play.

Being in a very transactional business, they were looking for something where they could have a different experience for themselves, have a little bit more control, but still make executive-type money. And we offer all three of those things in one place.


Pete:                That's great. And when we talk about characteristics, I mean I know you look for the integrity and all that kind of stuff, compassion.

But from a business standpoint, what are the characteristics like the idea of working hard or you got to be good with leadership. What other characteristics do you look for? Or would you think people have to have to be a good business owner?


Mike B.:            I think they have to have good aptitude. I think I mentioned the teachability and the competitiveness. I think they have to have the right personal economy. A lot of times, people are interested in starting a business, but where I see a lot of them get stuck is they're not risk-averse, and they haven't built up enough personal economy to realize the benefits of taking that challenge on and the growth that's all there.

So I think they have to be a risk-taker. I think they have to have a tremendous amount of self-belief in themselves. And I think that personal economy that they build up is vital. And I think they have to have a mindset of ownership, where they understand that they've bought something that's theirs, and then that teachability of getting help from the system is the right relationship to have.

Versus them expecting the system to perform, they must expect them to perform in the system to help them, and that's an interesting shift, but it's what we do, right?


Pete:                And that's the right dynamic. And when you think about it, right? Entrepreneurs are problem solvers, right? And as a business owner, you got to figure out what you have to get done to get through whatever hurdle. And we think of this pandemic, right? It's been a crazy pandemic.

And I just heard an example of this city, they had two restaurants and COVID locked down came in, and one restaurant basically just shut their doors, right? Just kind of gave up. The other one they went out, and they basically got a bunch of lumber; they created dividers in their restaurant, they created a patio that kind of stuff.

And they started doing curbside pickup, and they were thriving, cars down the street, right? And it's about how do you figure out the cards you got to play them to your best success.


Mike B.:            Sure, yes.


Pete:                So I was reading a little bit as I prepared for our interview today. One of the things that I think is so important is that sports and kids, right? The opportunity to play sports, because it trains them to work through problems, right? To gut through or figure out or kind of take that next step to get somewhere.

And I was reading that, and I thought a little bit about my daughter. My daughter was diagnosed with a chronic illness last year and literally was in the hospital for like 80 days. But she is my strongest kid from a standpoint of just taking on problems. So she had a great attitude about it, and I attribute it to playing sports.

Because she played basketball and soccer, and you get into that fourth quarter, and she was a captain, and she would will the team to go forward, and I think that experience of being an athlete had a big impact on her, and I think it will continue as she moves forward with her life.


Mike B.:            Yes, that's exactly as a coach what I want to hear. And you're right, I mean there's hundreds of thousands of kids that, on some level, all of what sports encompass a place to be, structure, male or female leadership when they lack it in the home.

Working as a team, learning how to compete, being on your own. I personally can't think of a better place that, as adults and parents, we could spend our time than developing kids.


Pete:                Yes, right. I think that's our future, and we owe it to them, and this COVID-19 has certainly been making it harder. But from that standpoint.

Now is your coach, and you're the leader of your franchise system; what do you from your standpoint if you're leading them. Are there books that you share with your players? With your franchisees? Any great books that you can share with us?


Mike B.:            Yes. We actually have two high-level mental coaches that are actually contributors to the fundraising university culture, one of theme's Brian Kane, he's the number one mental sports performance coach in the world.

And we operate our cultures on ten pillars of success that we build in as habits to being an entrepreneur and a business owner. So reversed in that, and specifically, our theme for this year is the one percent intention, which is one percent is 14 minutes and 24 seconds of one day, and each of our reps spends 14 minutes and 24 seconds on one skill that they want to develop over time.

And we talk about the compounding effect of growth when you have that intentionality. And then we actually have a gentleman named Dennis Deaton, and he has an ownership spirit certification that we trapped through.

So we're very intentional on the day-to-day habits and mechanisms that we built in from the mental part. And then, from the inception of our franchisees coming on board, we cultivate, nurture, challenge, and command a mentality of ownership.


Pete:                Wow, that's amazing. So beyond just the normal support you'd provide as a franchise, you're going well beyond that to helping develop the people to become better people, better focused, just better business people, that's amazing. Has that always been part of your business model?


Mike B.:            It is. We bring in concepts of mental development, and then we operate with space repetition. So they have a one-week phone call with each of those two gentlemen, and we constantly get feedback that hey, I'm becoming a better dad. I've lost weight.

And so it's making people better at their core, and we realize when we do that, the effects it's going to have on their business.


Pete:                Yes. That is awesome; I'd love to hear that kind of stuff. And from your standpoint, do you follow anybody? Like a thought leader like Tony Robbins or Darren Hardy? Do you have a mentor you follow?


Mike B.:            I like Tim Glover. I like the book relentless; I really like it. A lot of people think that they're an alpha, it's like a funny word you wear a t-shirt, right? And Tim Glover, actually, he was the mental coach for Kobe Bryant, and he was the mental coach for Michael Jordan.

It talks about the different levels of alpha that they are and how to stimulate and manage those levels of them, which is something I need to be in tune with as a coach. And that book is phenomenal, it's called relentless.


Pete:                All right, I'll go get that. That's awesome. I always love to get new books from that standpoint.

What advice would you give somebody that's thinking about they're in the corporate world, or they're doing something, and they're thinking about becoming a business owner. What advice would you give somebody that's considering the path of becoming an entrepreneur?


Mike B.:            Yes, I would say talk to other entrepreneurs. So many times, the prospects that we have, they go and visit with people who have never been an entrepreneur, and they're getting advice, or they're trying to get justification on if this is the right path for them. And I would say number one, enlist with someone like yourself that's a professional, right?

And get that coaching, invest that time. Make sure that you understand all the different levels, and then find a brand that can get you out of bed in the morning. There's a lot of transactional brands, and we need those, and they're great.

But we are very transformational in what we're doing, and if you want to find fulfillment, it's in a transformational brand, not just doing transactions.


Pete:                Yes. So for you, it's about that impact, it's about becoming a better individual, a better entrepreneur. But you're also driving or supporting the community. And the youth of our day, that's very cool.


Mike B.:            Yes, it is.


Pete:                That's awesome. All right, and so I got to ask, how are the chiefs going to do this season coming up here in the fall? How are they going to do?


Mike B.:            Yes. So I think they're going to do better. Patrick Mahomes, I think he's smart. I think he realizes that the mental game was lost; the physical game was not lost. But the mental game was lost.

And I think he's smart enough to figure out where to find that type of help and support. They're young; they return a lot of people. I think that you can watch them operate with a good culture.

So I think they'll come back, and it'll end up being one of the things he reflects on that makes him turn the corner to be in the conversation with Tom Brady down the road.


Pete:                Yes, I think that's right. Everything I've read, it sounds like he's a pretty balanced guy; I mean just seems like he's got a good head on his shoulders. So I think he's here for a long time, or there for a long time, and that's good. All right, well, living in Chicago, there's not much hope for the bears.


Mike B.:           Well, you're going to like this. My daughter is named after Ryan Sandburg. So that's my favorite baseball player.


Pete:                Oh really, okay. Well small world from that standpoint. Well, you have to be so proud of what you do. The impact you're making with these athletes and communities in terms of your franchisees and helping people become better.

So it has been an honor and a privilege to have you today, and thanks for everything you shared. It's just so fun to find people in today's world where we have so many negative things that you're just working on trying to make the world a better place. And goodness, we certainly need the world to be a better place.


Mike B.:            Yes, I appreciate it. I feel fortunate to be on. The very first meeting that I was at, someone whispered in my ear and pointed in your direction, and said that's the Michael Jordan of what he does. So I've been looking forward to this all morning.


Pete:                Well, at least I'm bawled, right? So that's the only thing I have in common.


Mike B.:            I'm on the way to catch up to you, so we're in the same club.


Pete:                All right, best of luck to you. Thanks again for being on today.

Topics: Franchise, How To Build Wealth, entrepreneurship, becoming a franchisee, Podcast

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