Mike Bahun and Fundraising University Make a Lasting Impact on Sports Programs Nationwide

When Mike Bahun was 10 years old, his family used to drop him off at the baseball fields, where sports became a refuge and sanctuary for him to learn accountability and discipline. Raised in a single-parent household, Bahun’s formative years were marked by adversity and numerous hurdles. However, the rhythm of swinging baseball bats and the sound of balls snapping into leather mitts brought him both peace and great joy.

It was there on the athletic fields and in the presence of coaches and teammates that Bahun learned to thrive in a structured environment where discipline, strong character and leadership skills became a way of life.

“Sports gave me the language to express myself in ways I didn’t always have the words to share,” Bahun said about his childhood. “Sports and school activities also gave me the stable environment I was searching for, and I started my businesses to give back to the community in the same way.”

The baseball fields ultimately birthed destiny as Bahun went on to play professional baseball and later became a highly respected Division I collegiate baseball coach and pro scout. Even more impressive is that he founded Fundraising University in 2009, a company today that has franchises nationwide and has rallied to raise over $130 million for teams across America.

Today, Mike Bahun is Ohio State baseball’s Director of Player Development and Leadership. He serves as the founder and CEO of Fundraising University and is the founder of Coaching Matters Foundation. He’s also a proud father to his own children.

“People ask me how I do it all,” Bahun shared. “But it doesn’t feel like work when it’s something you love.”

Fundraising U continues to grow and expand with franchises across the country and new territories are now open.

“As a lifelong entrepreneur, athlete and coach, I’m passionate about the student-athlete experience,” Bahun said. “If someone is passionate about sales, sports and owning their own business, or does own their own business, Fundraising University has a great opportunity right now. Our company has a proven system, has raised $130 million since 2009 and we have residual sales. We make a difference in communities, we support the student and athlete experience and we have territories available in America’s fastest-growing fundraising company.”

Mike Bahun: From Athlete To CEO

Mike Bahun holds an MBA from Bellevue University and certifications in Ownership Mindset and Mental Sports Performance training. Additionally, he completed the Wealth Factory course, focusing on entrepreneurship and finance at a doctorate level.

In 2019, Bahun reached a milestone in his baseball career when he was inducted into the prestigious Omaha Metro Hall of Fame.

A metro wrestling and district champion who broke the Nebraska state record for takedowns, Bahun turned down a wrestling offer from Clemson to pursue his baseball aspirations. He went on to become a highly decorated athlete in college, and earned Second Team All-Big 8 honors at Iowa State, while being the Cyclones offensive player of the year as a junior in 1996.

He later became a veteran high school and college baseball coach with stints at Creighton University and now the Ohio State University.

With a lifelong passion for athletics, Bahun has found fulfillment in his career with Fundraising U, urging aspiring franchisees to pursue their passions.

“Being an athlete all my life and transitioning into coaching, I’ve always wanted to blend business with sports,” Bahun explained. “Starting a fundraising company and seeing its national success brings me great joy and fulfillment. This is just the beginning.”

Fundraising University: Revolutionizing Sports Fundraising Nationwide

In 15 short years, Fundraising U has evolved into a premier fundraising program that is used and loved by sports programs and school groups across the country.

They have the hardware to prove it, too.

The company has been recognized as one of the top 500 franchises in Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500®, the world’s first, best, and most comprehensive franchise ranking.

Fundraising University was honored as an invaluable resource for potential franchisees, ranked as No. 1 and among the Top 500 overall for its outstanding performance in unit growth, financial strength and stability, and brand power.

Fundraising University is a company dedicated to providing comprehensive fundraising solutions for various organizations, particularly sports teams and school programs. Their core mission involves helping teams achieve their financial goals season after season through a structured and proven process.

The company specializes in organizing and managing fundraisers for schools and sports teams, with a focus on maximizing results in minimal time.

They offer services that involve working closely with teams to understand their specific needs and goals, devising customized fundraising strategies, and providing support throughout the fundraising process.

The Blitz System: Maximizing Fundraising Results

Fundraising University’s approach emphasizes the importance of building strong relationships with their clients, as evidenced by their long-term partnerships with teams like Shawnee Mission West High School’s baseball team.

Through their services, they aim to not only raise funds but also instill values such as teamwork, commitment, and community spirit among participants.

Fundraising University has helped Shawnee Mission West raise $150,000 over the past 12 years to support various needs such as equipment, facility improvements, tournament fees and travel expenses.

Key components of Fundraising University’s model include the Blitz System, which involves organizing high-energy fundraising events to generate significant funds quickly, as well as providing incentives and rewards to motivate participants.

At the Blitz, coaches and players unite, boosting each other’s spirits and recognizing top sellers with prizes.

The heightened motivation fuels athletes’ drive to sell.

This energizing event distinguishes Fundraising University from other fundraising companies, serving as the final push to inspire athletes to make one last sales effort toward reaching their high school sports program’s fundraising goal.

High School Sports Programs Are In Dire Need of Funds 

Bahun’s career success is built on the understanding that every child and teen deserves a chance to play sports because it’s much more than a game.

Athletics mold young people into trailblazers and future leaders who can impact the world. Bahun, a decorated former center fielder at Iowa State, emphasizes that coaches, teachers, and mentors are the uncelebrated champions of communities.

Their contributions often occur quietly, without fanfare, yet they significantly influence young people, sometimes even more than parents. He doesn’t want money to ever stop high schoolers from pursuing their dreams.

“The reality is these sports or activity groups need more money; it’s a simple financial equation in our economy,” Bahun explained because he has firsthand experience.

Before hitting the college ranks, he taught high school baseball players, so he intimately knows what’s taking place for millions of young athletes across America.

“Most schools are getting less money to pour into athletic programs, which will not change,” he said. “For us, we get in there with Fundraising University and provide a service to raise money for the teams and build relationships.”

Empowering Communities: Fundraising University’s Commitment to Youth and High School Athletics and Programs

Fundraising University is the fastest-growing fundraising company in America. It has an all-star lineup of professionals working for the organization, including former NFL and MLB players, athletic directors, entrepreneurs, corporate executives, teachers, coaches and other top-level career leaders.

These elite professionals teach coaches, athletes and schools how to raise more money with less work.

“We’ve gotten away from relationships in sports, and we strive to get that team mentality back in schools and communities,” Bahun shared. “So our company brings an intimate experience, and we build relationships with the coaches, programs and players to see them succeed. It’s as simple as that. Athletic fields, basketball courts, and school activities enhance the youth experience and set the right culture that young people need now more than ever. People who work with Fundraising University are at the forefront of an innovative movement, and they truly love to help people.”

How Fundraising University Supports Schools

Fundraising University creates fast and effective fundraisers for sports teams of all sizes, from small local organizations to more extensive high school sports programs. The fundraisers are designed to maximize donations while minimizing costs. They have the experience and knowledge to get teams out ahead in achieving their fundraising goals quickly and efficiently.

The company’s experienced franchise owners have successfully designed fundraisers for teams of all sizes. With a proven track record of meeting and exceeding fundraising goals, Fundraising University is the premier provider of fundraisers for sports and school organizations.

In March 2020, at the start of the pandemic, Fundraising University became a franchise and now has territories in regions nationwide. The timing was critical, Bahun says, because schools and athletic programs were already strapped for cash and sunk deeper into holes without the support of fans and booster clubs.

The pandemic also sparked a newfound passion for sports because students found peace and stress relief on the field and courts, and their coaches became a pillar of strength during stressful times.

Fundraising U hit the ground running, and with its own digital software, athletes could reach out to family and friends to raise much-needed funds to keep their sports dreams alive.

The Future For Fundraising U: The Company Has Established A National Brand 

By 2030, the company hopes to have 200 territories with an average of $1 million per territory.

“Fundraising is the lifeblood of school athletic programs, especially during funding cuts,” Bahun said. “As new opportunities arise across the nation, Fundraising U is expanding its franchise territories to meet the growing demand. Our team specializes in crafting efficient fundraisers tailored to all sports programs, ensuring maximum returns with minimal expenses. With our expertise, teams can swiftly and effectively achieve their fundraising goals, propelling them to success both on and off the field.”

A testament to the company’s national reputation and brand is that elite athletes, coaches and high-level executives want skin in the game. Bahun only selects the best and brightest athletes who are hungry and competitive to join the company.

Dream Big, Raise More, Work Less  

Mike Bahun knows that what makes a great hitter is not his swing but his approach.

Batters must strategically position themselves for success long before stepping up to the plate and when working from muscle memory, a player has a better chance to connect with the ball.

Bahun applies this principle to his Fundraising University business dealings, selecting only ‘teammates’ and franchise owners who demonstrate a dedication to hard work and a commitment to making a significant difference in the lives of others.

“At the heart of it all, we are running a business about people, and sports is the vehicle,” Bahun said. “At Fundraising University, we seek individuals with a relentless competitive spirit. We believe that greatness arises from a hunger to succeed, and it’s that drive we look for in every member of our team.”

Fundraising University is built on the pillars of dreaming big, raising more, and working less. The company comprises former athletes and coaches who intimately understand the challenges of financing sports programs.

Utilizing a tried-and-tested sales approach, they tailor their strategies to match teams and school programs with optimal fundraising products, ensuring maximum results. They collaborate with schools and coaches to strategize, execute, and replicate successful fundraisers year after year.

Fundraising University’s dedicated coaches guide teams through every stage, from the initial planning phase to product distribution.

“Fundraising isn’t just about money—it’s about uniting teams, empowering programs, and creating lasting change in communities,” Bahun said. “Our franchise owners are empowered to engage students and community members, aligning their support with fundraising goals. Above all, we prioritize exceptional customer service. We are there every step of the way, from launch to product delivery, ensuring the best experience for coaches, students, schools and their families.”