Prospective Non-Profit Partners

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 your organization would be a good fit for our group of team sponsors.

Our sponsorships do not mean your organization will pay anything and we are not asking you for money, like a traditional sponsorship. Instead, partnering with Play NC means your group is eligible to participate in our leagues and benefit from any exposure and donations generated by our programming.

Here is a brief description of the games we play, reasons you’ll want to join the fun, and some of the benefits we can provide to your organization through participation with our games.

Our Games

Durham Softball

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 139 teams and more than 2,200 players, raising more than $30,000 in cash donations for charity. Our generous players have also combined to donate more than $20,000 in items through donation drives we host at the field four times per season.

Durham Cornhole

The Durham Cornhole League hosts weekly, blind-draw, double-elimination, cornhole tournaments at Bralie’s Bar & Grill on Wednesday nights. We play a Spring, Summer, and Fall season every year. Since we started in 2021, we have hosted more than 100 cornhole tournaments and donated more than $2,000 to local charities through cornhole.

Durham Wiffle Ball

The Durham Wiffle Ball League is being founded in 2024 as a new sport to Durham. We will be playing games at Miracle League of the Triangle’s beautiful “Mini-DBAP,” located directly across the street from the Durham Bulls Athletic Park and the American Tobacco Campus. All proceeds from Wiffle Ball will go towards sponsoring a Miracle League team. We are excited for the potential!

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 have recruited a diverse group of great local Durham non-profit groups that all have a similar mission to improve Durham. We are proud of this list 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 in November or December every year.

For 2024, we currently have 18 wonderful non-profit organizations signed up as Team Sponsors, with each bringing a unique benefit to Durham.

  • Animals: Animal Protection Society of Durham, feeds, shelters, and provides medical attention to neglected animals.
  • Domestic Violence: NCCDAVleads the state’s movement to end domestic violence and to enhance work with survivors.
  • Environment: Don’t Waste Durham, creates solutions that prevent trash at its source.
  • Food: PORCH-Durham, provides food to those children most in need.
  • Firefighters: North Carolina Fallen Firefighter Foundationleads the effort to remember North Carolina’s fallen firefighters and their families.
  • Healthcare: Josh’s Hope, serves ages 18-35 who live with mental health conditions and/or struggle with a substance disorder.
  • Homelessness: Urban Ministries of Durham, works to end homelessness and fight poverty by offering food, shelter, and a future to neighbors in need.
  • Housing: Families Moving Forward, provides families with children a stable, safe and loving environment.
  • Housing: Housing for New Hope, mission to prevent and end homelessness.
  • Poverty: CPCANCassists low-income families and individuals, including the working poor.
  • Senior Citizens: Meals on Wheels of Durham, enhances the quality of life for seniors and people with disabilities.
  • Senior Citizens: Senior PharmAssist, helps older adults obtain and better manage needed medications and by providing tailored health education.
  • Special Needs: Miracle League of the Triangle, positive experiences for children and adults with special needs.
  • Teachers: Crayons2Calculatorsprovides Durham teachers with the supplies they need for classroom success. 
  • Trees: TreesDurhamcreates a socially just, healthy and sustainable tree canopy in Durham. 
  • Veterans: Vets to Vets United, significantly improve a veteran’s life by providing companionship.
  • Youth: South Durham Little League, provides baseball for children between the ages of 4 and 14.
  • Youth: Girls on the Run of the Triangle, positively impacts young girls’ lives.
  • Youth: SwingPalsbuilds a foundation of health and strong character in children facing adversity.

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 ~$300 per year in donations from our games since 2018, for a total of more than $30,000 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, but local, audience.
  • 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 Vets to Vets United, canned goods for hurricane victims, coats for Urban Ministries, and hosted a total of 24 donation drives to collect $20,000 worth of items for our partners since 2018. We can provide creative ways to receive a boost in donated items that your organization needs.
  • Marketing. While we aren’t the biggest organization, we do have ~760 local followers on Facebook and ~1000 local folks on our newsletter. We average more than a 60% full read rate on all our newsletters because they are relevant and infrequent. We make sure to highlight every charity at least once per year, promoting any event or achievement you’d like us to include. 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 have also hosted weekly Cornhole tournaments since 2021 and we are adding Wiffle Ball for 2024.

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. For example, we had 16 teams last season, expect 16 teams again this season, and we will have 19 charity options for teams to select from this year. Obviously, three charities will be left on the bench.
    • 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.
    • We still feature your charity during the season, include them on all our marketing materials, and try to help even more with the “awareness” side of our game’s purpose since the financial side will be reduced that season.
  • You will be requested to help promote our games at least twice per year. We don’t ask often, but sharing our registration announcements before each season has proven to be a very effective way for us to build our online presence and reach the customers most likely to sign up to play games for a local charity. Our target audience is made up of two types of people: those who want to play softball and those who want to help your charity. We’ll cover the softball folks, you cover the people who want to help your charity, and we’ll get the word out to everyone that might want to play our games to support your cause! 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 a new community for your own purposes, so I hope you’ll have fun with the possibilities.
  • You will have to write about 300 words. We make a “Team Page” for each charity (eg. APS of Durham) 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 within 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 requests.
  6. Your organization must not be directly affiliated with any specific 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 help promote our games at least two times per year, through either social media, email newsletters, or in-person promotions. A Facebook/Social post and a newsletter mention around the dates of our player registration periods would be perfect.
  9. 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 may 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!

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! We’d love for people in your organization to sign up 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 our Non-Profit Partner Participation form, OR
  • Submit the following to
    • 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.

Once I have that information, I will create the team page and jersey design for you to review / approve. I try to match jersey colors as closely as possible to the charity’s colors, but please let me know if you have a preference there.

Let me know if you have questions. If you’d like, I’d be glad to set up a phone call or in-person meeting, as well.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Ryan Mentock