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2020-21 List of Incentives


BDL Team Budget & Incentives for 2020-21 Debate Season

OK, so this year is going to look different, but BDL is maintaining your team budget to help you build and maintain your debate team.  The purpose of the BDL team budget is for coaches to have money to spend directly on your team to support debater engagement (in typical years, things like hoodies, snacks, team parties).   Here’s an overview on how your budget works:

CORE BUDGET, available to BPS schools only:

  • $50 PER ENGAGED DEBATER, starting with $250.  We give you $250 up front, and even if you don’t hit 5 engaged debaters, that’s ok, we won’t take money back.  You then receive $50 additional for every debater above 5 who hits the “engaged” mark.  For example, if you have 8 engaged debaters, your team budget would be $400 (the initial $250 plus $150 more, or 8 x $50).  Our definition of “engaged” means they’ve attended 20 hours of BDL programming (including Tournaments, Debate Academies, and BDL Weekly Practices), which is about the same as our 3-tournament mark from previous seasons.  We will keep track of this for you in Team Tools.

BUDGET BONUSES, available to ALL BDL schools:

  • $100 “FREE MONEY” - as long as you spend it by Thanksgiving (this was October 31 last year, but we are giving you more time this year).  It goes away if you don’t spend it by Thanksgiving, so please use it!  We encourage teams to spend this early to try to recruit students and build team culture as early in the season as possible.

  • $25 for KEEPING PRACTICE ATTENDANCE - this one is very easy!  All you have to do is keep track of who is attending your team’s practices.  You can earn this bonus 3 times per year, up to $75 total, because we check on your attendance in November, January, and March.  We encourage you to use Team Tools to track attendance.

  • (NEW this season!) ENGAGED TEAM BONUS per tournament: Every team that brings 15 or more students to a tournament or Debate Academy will receive a bonus $100 for their team budget.

  • Additional bonuses will be announced throughout the season.


  • GIFT CARDS  (Raffles & Game Prizes)- Debaters are still spending money, and one of the best ways to get them excited is giving them some to spend!  If your students like getting food from debate, many places offer online gift cards that are free to send, and Dunkin & Starbucks both have Apps that make sending gift cards to students just a text away.  If they prefer being able to order something delivered directly to their home, Amazon gift cards are also easy to send via email and don’t have a fee.  Local stores and other socially distant opportunities like AMC are great ideas too!

  • Send food to have a virtual party - there would be some delivery fees involved, but you could save up some of your team budget and send food to your debaters.  Many places are still offering free or reduced cost delivery during the pandemic as well.  This could be a great way to hold a virtual pizza party before or after a tournament.

  • Team gear - Debaters still love designing hoodies & t-shirts, and they will still be able to see each other wearing it - both during your debate practices and during their virtual school days.  If you want to get students excited about being on your team early in the season, maybe t-shirts are the way to go!  Reorders of last year’s designs are available, and we have a partnership with CustomInk this year to help you.

How do I actually spend the money? Just purchase whatever you would like and send the receipt to BDL.  We will process the receipt and reimburse you.  If you are making a big purchase (more than $100), let us know and we can pay for you, to skip the reimbursement process.

NEW Resources & Bonuses in 2020-21

SUPPORTS FOR REBUILDING TEAMS (teams with fewer than 8 engaged debaters (3+ tournaments) in 2019-20):

  • Coach Support Personnel: All rebuilding teams will be paired with either a Coach Council member, Harvard mentor (HCMUD), or BDL Volunteer to help with specific needs on a school-by-school basis.  Some examples of ways that supporters can help are with recruitment, making practices engaging, and team building.

  • Additional funding: Each rebuilding school will have access to additional money that will be spent in coordination with their program manager.  This includes an extra $100 for recruitment at the beginning of the season and an additional $100 for midseason recruitment.

COACH BONUSES for reaching team engagement goals:

  • Coach Bonus: Every coach will receive a $250 bonus (separate from their coach stipend) directly from BDL if their debate team hits its engagement goal for the season.  

If you had ___ engaged debaters last yearYour goal (to receive the bonus) is...0-78 engaged, at least 3 Black and/or Latino young men8-1112 engaged, at least 4 Black and/or Latino young men12+15 engaged, at least 5 Black and/or Latino young men


  • Raffles at BDL Events: BDL will be raffling off prizes at every league-wide event this season to help keep students engaged at various points during our virtual tournaments.

  • Debater Holiday Care packages: Engaged debaters will be receiving a BDL bag full of debate supplies to keep them excited about debate and working hard at the midpoint of the season.

  • Scholarships: Engaged debaters will be eligible for various scholarships this season.  Amount and criteria are still being determined.

*More bonuses may be announced throughout the season!

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