Sugar Shack to Tattoo Logo on VCU Quidditch President in Unique Fundraising Technique


All sorts of organizations do fundraisers. Girl scouts sell cookies, high school and college clubs try to sell you donuts and middle schoolers sell magazines.

The Wizengamot Quidditch Club of VCU, however, has found a unique way to get funds: selling part of their president’s body as real estate for a tattoo.

The club launched their crowdfunding campaign to reach this year’s World Cup 8 on IndieGoGo in mid-January. Among the many creative perks- which included a snarky comeback or a videotaped rant from a prominent player- was a $1500 dollar perk called “Tattoo Tommy w/ Anything”.

“It was totally my idea, something different, very Richmond that nobody else would do,” said Tommy McPhail, Wizengamot president.

Wizengamot turned to IndieGoGo for financial support after applying for special event funding from VCU. McPhail said that the processes left a lot to be desired.

“Getting money from VCU in regards to special events and transportation has always been really ridiculous,” said McPhail. “I’ve had to talk about it a lot recently just because their processes are outdated and they don’t really serve students.”

So the unique “tattoo our President” perk happened. McPhail originally came up with the idea two years ago, when the club was trying to go to World Cup VI in Kissimmee, Florida. Then the perk cost $3000 dollars, and nobody bought it- but it got people talking, which was the goal.

“When we offered that reward we were thinking of crazy ways to get people to talk about us- to get people to spread the word about our fundraiser and really at least give it a shot cause it was lofty already,” said McPhail. “A lot of people joked and said ‘oh we’re gonna crowdsource funds’ and were gonna try and make him get like a penis on his forehead or like ‘my band’s logo’.”

McPhail explained that many Quidditch teams try to fundraise only do things that get the attention of other Quidditch teams and players. He said a strategy like that yields underwhelming results.

“The Quidditch community as a whole is just Quidditch players who don’t have money who are asking for money,” said McPhail. “So if you are marketing to those people who don’t have money then its to your friends and you don’t really have to try that hard. You can offer them something cool for like $10.”

He said that in order to be part of a larger conversation than you have to make noise. The tattoo perk was part of that attempt to make noise.

The perk, with its reduced cost, was purchased by local donut shop . The popular shop received word of the fundraiser on social media. The shop’s co-founder, Ian Kelley, had no hesitation in deciding their involvement.

“Immediately, within 30 seconds I was like ‘were in’ and I called Kyle [Robinson, Sugar Shack’s general manager] and was like ‘Kyle, I need a tattoo idea for these guys to put on their body’ for this Quidditch World Cup,” said Kelley.

Those in charge of Sugar Shack were very excited about the prospect of permanently putting their signature maple bacon donut on McPhail’s body. Kelley and Robinson said that the donut in this case will also have the wings of a golden snitch.

“This was a cool [piece of community outreach]- this was not something we’re going to see again,” said Kelley.

“It may be the coolest one yet,” added Robinson.

McPhail said that despite having to sell part of his skin, it was worth it for the team.

“Have I sold out?” asked McPhail, rhetorically. “Absolutely, in a way.”

Brad Kutner

Brad Kutner

Brad Kutner is the former editor of GayRVA and RVAMag from 2013 - 2017. He’s now the Richmond Bureau Chief for Radio IQ, a state-wide NPR outlet based in Roanoke. You can reach him at

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