The Golf Tournament Fundraiser - Organizing and Fundraising

Organizing and Fundraising - The Golf Tournament Fundraiser

Organizing a running a successful charity golf tournament is a lot of work and has a ton of moving parts. The upside is these types of events can also bring in quite a lot of money for your organization. That's because people that typically play gold are already familiar with the types of fees involved and are willing to spend it. And when it comes to playing the game for charity's sake, all the better excuse to get in 18holes.

And the best part is you don't even need to know a thing about the game to have a successful fundraising. It's more about the ability of your organization to be able to plan and execute an event than if you know the game. And with the addition of today's technology, your event can be a virtual success just as much as a live one adding a slew of possibilities for fundraising.

What Do You Want Your Golf Fundraiser to Be?

The very first thing you'll need to decide is whether you want to hold your charity golf tournament fundraiser strictly in person on the golf course, or do you want to include a virtual aspect to the event? Just because it's a round of gold doesn't mean some of your donors who can't make it wouldn't want to also be involved with a hybrid event, even if it's just to support your cause or organization.

If you do decide to include things like live streaming the events, and possibly even adding a live auction, these 'extras' can really broaden the whole fundraising capabilities of your event. And if you have the personnel, think as big as possible! This way if you do decide to include an auction, once you're ready to begin finding sponsors for the event, you can also ask if they'd like to offer donations in the form of goods and services as well that can be auctioned off during the event. This gives your sponsors more visibility and reasons to support your cause even further than just giving a cash donation.

For example, if you are going to live stream the event, you can include 'commercials' where you or a spokesperson describes what you'll be auctioning off soon to bolster interest, while at the same time stating what business donated the prize. The same goes for the auction itself, as each gift is auctioned, you can speak a little about the donor and how much they've done positively for giving to your cause. It's a win-win for all involved!

You can also consider a themed event if you have enough data on your donors or or a large enough base. This could be something like a men's only golf tournament, or a women's only golf tournament. Or you could do mixed couples or pairs that get chosen randomly, or father-son, mother-daughter, or however you want to arrange each person. All these different themes for your golf tournament can add a bit of flair that makes your event stand out to your donor base.

Even More Fundraising Ideas

Here are a few more ways to get that extra donation for your golf tournament.

  • Mulligans - This is when golfers get a chance to 'buy' a stroke at each hole without it being counted on the score card.
  • Hole Sponsorship - Sponsors can sponsor each hole for a fee, in return you display a big sign that clearly shows who sponsored that hole.
  • Hole-in-One Contest - Each player can buy a ticket and the golfers play off against each other to see who gets a hole in one first for a special prize, hopefully donated by a sponsor. If time is a problem, you can also just do a closest to the pin event.
  • Longest Drive Contest - Another contest that can break up the day. See who can drive the ball the furthest. Again, offer a prize that was donated.
  • Rent a Caddie - Offer caddies that are volunteers for the day at a fee. Perfect for younger people to get involved and donate their time. 

Finding the Golf Course and Venue for Your Tournament Fundraiser 

Since this is a golf tournament fundraiser, you're going to need to actually rent an entire golf course for the day unless it's a really intimate event of golfers. This will definitely be the biggest cost to your entire event planning. Knowing your costs and how many golfers will actually show up will give you an estimation on how profitable the entire golf tournament should be.

The location of the course is extremely important to how well your golf fundraisers go. If you choose an amazing course that's an hour's drive from many of your donors, good luck getting them all there. You definitely need something within a 30 minute drive from the core grouping of your sponsor base. The closer and more convenient parking, the better!

The next thing to look at is the size of the course. Is it an 18 hole course, or a smaller 9 hole course? This plays a role in how many golfers you can actually invite to the event. One way to establish how large an event to hold is by looking through your donor list and seeing what interested them before, and how much their past donations were. If someone was giving a dollar, they most likely won't be golfers interested in a golf tournament fundraiser. So you'll need to see if your donor base can afford such an event, then you can decide on what options are available at your price range.

Pricing will also play a factor in which course you can choose. If most of your donor base are wealthy peer CEOs used to playing at private clubs, then you should try to duplicate the experience for them as they will have the funding to cover the expenses. But if most of your donor base donates $100 or more, you might want to go a more extravagant route.

One very important part of you day will be after all the holes have been played. This is when the venue comes into play and effects fundraising as much as the actual game, sometime more. Many people enjoy the after party after a day's round on the green sometimes more than the game itself. So having the proper venue to seat all of your guests in on space at your events is extremely important.

You'll also need to decide if you'll be offering dinner to your golfers and other guests as part of the experience, or just drinks and snacks. Then there is the matter of the staff to host the party. Will their cost be part of the course fees, or will you need to staff everything yourself with volunteers or paid employees for your events. Each fundraising is different and you'll need to make these types of decisions based on your nonprofit's past history and donor base.

If you are going to go with a hybrid golf tournament, this will also be when the main part of your auction takes place. This way golfers and viewers all get a chance to bid against each other and get involved in your fundraising. But that also means having a main staging area, and the availability to run electricity and wifi for your online viewers. And a tip here, make sure that the live part of your event is functioning properly at all times. You don't want someone standing in front of the live feed for 20 minutes before anyone notices!

And don't forget, you'll usually need to book an entire golf course well in advance. Sometime up to a year, so make sure you have adequate time to schedule everything for your events.

Fundraising Goals and Budgets for the Event

Now that you have a good idea of what you want your charity tournament fundraising event to look like and where it's going to happen, you can work on figuring out the actual costs and what your fundraising goals will be for the event.

To start with, it's easier to look at what your costs are going to be like in order to see how many people you'll need to actually attend the event just to break even. From that vantage point it will be much easier to establish if you can get enough donors to attend and to how much fundraising has to happen to offset the costs. A charity golf tournament is a great fundraising opportunity, but golf tournaments also come at a higher cost than other types of fundraising events.

Some of the costs associated with these types of fundraising include:

  • Venue Rental: The cost of renting out the golf course for the day is definitely the biggest cost associated with this type of golf charity event.
  • Catering and Food: The second largest cost will be the after event and everything that you intend to include with it. Will there be a formal dinner or just wine with cheese and crackers. What beverages will be served and will they include an open bar.
  • Event Staff and Volunteers: You will need a staff of some sort for your golf fundraising, ideally either the staff will come with the golf course rental, or volunteers that can handle this type of event. If you need to hire a separate staff, then this will be an additional cost your organization needs to cover.
  • Marketing and Promotion: Promoting the event to attract attendees and sponsors may require you to run advertising or create graphics and printed flyers. All costs that must be covered. So learn specifically how you will advertise the event and who will need to be involved to handle the promotion management.
  • Entertainment and Activities: Will you have a band or live music at the event? Perhaps some clowns if children are involved. These too are additional costs that need to be considered.
  • Decor and Set-up: Costs related to event decoration or theme, setup, and any necessary equipment rentals (e.g., tables, chairs, audio-visual equipment). Try to get these types of cost covered in your course fee as most golf courses are used to holding golf tournament charity events and also have the equipment to handle them.
  • Permits and Licenses: Be sure that you don't need any sort of permit or have to fill out any official forms. This is usually handled by the course, but be clear if such a permit is necessary and who will deal with getting one and how long it will take. 
  • Event Materials: This can include any fundraising marketing printed materials like event programs, name tags, signage or text, specially made up scorecards, forms, merchandise or promotional items you may include for your golf fundraiser.
  • Technology and AV Equipment: If your go with a hybrid event, you're going to need equipment and someone dedicated to running that equipment. Both the equipment and people to run it cost money.
  • Insurance: Event insurance is almost mandatory these days, and running an event without it opens your organization up to lawsuits and other legal problems like property damage or other issues. But insurance isn't free. Check with the course to see if it is included or it's an additional cost you must incur. 
  • Miscellaneous Expenses: Miscellaneous costs can include things like event security, cleaning services, unexpected expenses, or pretty much anything that could come up. It's always smart to budget something for your golf fundraisers as there always seems to be something that comes up you didn't count on. 

Once you understand your costs and the number of donors you want to attend the event, you can then decide on the ticket price or donation that should be enough to cover all of the expenses if all your donors show up to your golf fundraiser. From there it's just a matter of deciding if you want to increase the ticket costs or the donation, assuming the donors can absorb it, or offer other fundraising opportunities in conjunction with the event to increase your overall donation for the day.

One way you might reduce the cost of your golf tournament fundraiser is to reach out to your donor base and see if anyone has any ties to a course that could offer you a discount. Donors like being involved and helpful more than just donating, so use it to your advantage. You can also ask the course itself if they have less busy days when there are fewer golfers that they will give you a better price for, or you may not want to include golf cart service to keep down costs. 

Finding Sponsors for Your Golf Tournament

Finding sponsors for as many aspects of your golf fundraising event as possible is a great way to keep your costs as low as possible during your fundraising. One way to look at this is to think what are you willing to offer the sponsor in return for their generosity. One way you can do this is to create a professional and detailed sponsorship proposal that includes what a sponsor would get if they decide to support you. You can include things like a post from your website thanking them for their support. Or a video that you place on YouTube and all your social media. Be sure to include numbers for your reach so they have an idea if the benefits outweigh the cost.

Local businesses are always looking for ways to get the right people like golfers to notice their services. And supporting a fundraising charity is always a welcome chance. But sometimes local businesses are strapped for cash, but are willing to support your cause with items or services. This could be a win-win if you decide to give something in return like visibility to your base. You can even go to your local Chamber of Commerce and Business Associations and see if they know businesses that are looking for these sorts of opportunities to save some time and make new contacts.

Don't forget to reach out to your own network wither. All of your donors are also potential golfers and sponsors or may know someone willing to become one. You can also reach out through your email database or social media platforms letting people know about the event and that you're looking for sponsorship. You never know what replies you may receive until you do.

Golf Fundraising Event Management

When it comes to managing your event and event management, there are a ton of things to keep track of and details that need to be assigned. Having an all inclusive platform like PayBee is super helpful here and can handle everything you need to get done for your event and fundraising needs.

The platform can help you keep track of all your costs, appointments, staff and volunteers as well as assign all the tasks that need to be completed and even keep track of vendors and pretty much every other detail involved. And incorporate automatic updates and follow ups as all the tasks are being completed, or updating everyone on what has changed, all hands off!

One of the first things after the event date has been set is you'll want to start selling tickets to your golf tournament so you can cover all the costs of the big day. This should start with a dedicated website page where donors can go to and see all the relevant information regarding your event, as well as a ways to purchase their tickets to the event. This can all easily be done, with your company's unique branding, using event software.

Once you have a payment processor in place, it's time to promote the event to as many people as possible, even those not part of your donor base.

The first thing you should do would be to announce your upcoming fundraising on ever social media channel possible. Include any sponsors if you have them and make sure you clearly state what peer cause is being supported. Email all of your database and ask them to even forward your email to friends and family that are possibly golfers. Then follow up with a press release and see if you can get any free media outlets to help spread the news.

During and Long After Your Golf Tournament Fundraiser 

On the day of your golf tournament, you want to be over prepared! It is going to be hectic and there will be a ton of golfers, teams and activity that won't stop, so if you aren't prepared it's going to be noticed. Every detail from who will be greeting the players to who is responsible for clean up duties should all be decided and assigned. Even better is to have a handout with a schedule that takes into account the entire day's event minute by minute and who is responsible for each task.

You'll need to greet each player and make sure they are signed in and ready to always play the next hole. Next you'll need to gather everyone and give a brief overview of the day's event schedule, all the games included, rules of play, and special gifts for par, and any special contests or activities that you're also hosting for fundraising. Once play has started, make sure your players have plenty of liquids and everyone is looking like they're having a good time. Remind everyone of your auction or any other fundraising activities you may also be doing.

After everyone has played and gathered at the after party venue, it's time to score the cards and see who has won what. It's also a great opportunity to make a speech thanking everyone for their time and hard work. Try to keep it light and festive. Proceed with the rest of the evening and clean up.

After the event make sure you get personalized thank-yous or at least a text out to all attendees thanking them for their contribution to your fundraising event and time. The same goes for all of your supporters and sponsors. Make sure good people are acknowledged and feel they helped make the day a success some how. This also includes your volunteers and staff.

In Closing

Obviously there is a lot to learn and a lot of steps that go into running a golf tournament and similar events. The right fundraising software can make your job a lot easier, so why not try our free demo here and see why we are the best tournament fundraiser software around.

There are a ton of fundraising ideas and games for a golf tournament to add on for even better fundraising opportunities. You can include raffle tickets, peer to peer events, best-ball tournaments or a closest to the hole contest involving one ball, just about anything you can come up with can be incorporated into these fundraising ideas. Another fundraising view is you could even do the same thing for kids using miniature golf!

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