A golf fundraiser can raise substantial amounts of money and is a great way to attract a large number of supporters for your cause. It is also a great way to entice members of the business community to participate. Many of them probably already play golf – it is a great way to have meetings outside the office – and they may be happy to take the opportunity to play a round or two for a good cause.
If you’ve done an event fundraiser before, you’ll find that planning for a golf fundraiser involves many of the same familiar tasks: finding a location willing to host the event, getting a great discount off regular fees, publicizing the event well in advance, planning for add-on fundraisers, making sure you have a capable and competent leader in charge on the day of the event etc.
To make sure that all players feel like the time spent playing for your cause is worth their time, take extra care to plan all the details of your fundraising event and incorporate something special, like prizes. Here are a few tips to help make sure your golf fundraiser is a success:
Offer different ways for people to participate and sponsor your fundraiser
Make sure you have several options available for people to support your group, even if they’re not going to play golf. Besides offering hole sponsorships, marking up greens fees (weekdays are usually priced lower), or corporate advertising sponsorships, you could offer sponsorships on your website and in your newsletter, a silent auction during the event, t-shirt and candy sales and a raffle.
In other words, offer a way for supporters of any age group to donate to your cause before, during and after your event. And don’t forget to offer food and refreshments, possibly from your own cart, or directly from the golf club with your group taking a percentage.
Blog about your golf fundraiser
Blog before the event, during the event and after the event. It seems like it may be a lot of work, but one dedicated writer volunteer will be able to accomplish this task. Of course, having two writers makes things easier and gives you a back up solution should one writer not be available. If you don’t have a blog on your site, this is a great excuse to add one. (Read more about how to create a blog or other website.)
Start a new ‘category’ for the event and start by posting about your fundraising event, even if you don’t have all the details yet. If you don’t have a date yet, this is a great way to get feedback about what would be a good day for your event.
If you decide blog and get social media involved, be sure to look at considerations listed in our Social Media Strategy Checklist.
Anyone in your group who is involved in communicating with the public, directly, or through blogs and social media, should know exactly what’s expected of him or her and should play by your rules in order to assure that everyone conveys your message in a manner that’s consistent with your group’s principles and mission.
A blog is also a great way to write about your sponsors and place their advertisement as part of a sponsorship. Before you post any sponsors’ names or advertising, be sure to ask first. Some sponsors may prefer to remain anonymous or require particular wording or copyright information.
Get media involved
A golf fundraiser has the potential to not only raise a large amount of money, but to also attract a lot of attention for your group. Be prepared to create a press release, and designate a well rehearsed spokes person from your group for interviews with TV, radio and local newspapers. Create a video about the event beforehand and post it on YouTube, so news channels can link to it for more information. Also post any videos on your website.
Designate group members for each aspect of your fundraiser
To make sure things run smoothly, designate one person to coordinate volunteers, one person to oversee finances, one person to be the main contact to the golf venue etc. This way your event will be easy to oversee and remain organized. Be sure to put all your personnel choices in writing, date it and hand a copy to everyone involved. Our checklists may come in handy when creating your own ‘master planner.’
Have prizes for the winners
Getting some quality prizes donated for your event is a great way to secure extra sponsors and publicity. If you can’t get sponsored prizes for your event, consider investing in some high quality prizes that will make your players feel appreciated.
If you have a larger budget consider giving away something small to all the players with your organization’s logo on it, that they can remember you by and as a token to say “thank you.” As the saying goes, sometimes you have to spend money to make money. Still not sure? Then consider giving out prizes for wacky contests, like Silliest Golf Hat or Worst Score Ever. Or, try making it more of a raffle than a prize for the winners; that way anybody who plays has a chance at a great take-home door prize. However you work it, make sure that the people know how thankful you are and how much you appreciate them taking their time to help you and your charity.
Have a meal afterwards
Depending on what time of day your event is taking place, you might want to have a lunch or dinner following your tournament with your key sponsors. You don’t have to arrange it at a fancy, expensive restaurant and you may even consider getting one or more of the ever popular food carts to park in a convenient location nearby, but you do want to take the time to eat together and let your key players know how much you appreciate them.
This will also be great opportunity for the players to meet each other and network and for you to make those connections for sponsors for your next fundraiser.
At the end of the golf tournament, be sure to have the chairperson or another leader stand up and say a few words about your organization, thank the sponsors and volunteers, and talk briefly about how the funds raised will benefit your community. To wrap up your event follow up with individual thank you notes to your main sponsors and with thank you messages through your blog and any social media and print channels.