By Dan Guttenplan
In 2017, Matthew DiBernardo became the first coach to commit to two Custom Cover Projects in the same year. The Oak Hall High (Fla.) coach had FNF produce one Custom Cover for his high school team and another for the middle school team.
What he got in return was customized magazines for each of his players, their families, and their fans – and more importantly – a fundraiser that helped bring more than $6,000 to his programs.
DiBernardo recently shared his experience with the Custom Cover Project with FNF Magazine.
What inspired you to go all-in on the Custom Cover Project experience in 2017?
“This was our first year. I think it was something FNF sent out through email. It seemed like something unique, so I followed up. As coaches, we get 50 to 60 emails a day from vendors. It caught my eye because it was so unique.”
Were you satisfied with the amount of recognition your teams got in the magazine?
“The thing that’s so unique about this publication is it’s informational for people who are passionate about high school football. So we have our players on the cover, and we have a preview with action shots and our schedule on the inside. But there’s also in-depth coverage on all of the teams across the state. It’s a great memento for high school families and parents. It’s so well done and so professional, it’s a hard thing to duplicate.”
How did you pay for the magazines?
“We went out and got sponsors for each page. The sponsorship covered the cost of putting the fundraiser together. Each family was responsible for selling X number of magazines.”
Did the players mind selling magazines?
“Not at all. Another thing we did was we had each kid sign a magazine to their parents and write a note thanking them for all of their support. We sent a magazine and note home to their parents. If I got that from my kid, I think that would be pretty special. A lot of parents helped sell magazines, so it was a nice way to recognize them as well.”
How much did you generate in terms of fundraising revenue?
“I’m tallying those things now, but it will be a minimum of $6,000 from 60 families. Once you get the book paid for through advertisements from local companies, all of it is profit.”
How many magazines did each player sell?
“I started with 10 per player, and a lot of them actually sold 12.”
Where else did you sell magazines?
“We sold them at games. We had them available to purchase all over the place. All of it was revenue.”
How did you find the process of setting up a cover shoot with a photographer and providing hi-res images to FNF for publication?
“No problem at all. We have a school photographer, like most schools do. He came out and donated his time. He put all of the pictures together. We sent a bunch of action programs and FNF decided what was best for our program.”
When did you receive your magazines?
“In July – with plenty of time to sell before the start of the season. It was a really unique experience, and it worked out well for us.”