Pairing Auction Fundraiser with a Golf Tournament

Auction Fundraiser with a Golf Tournament is Like Pairing Peanut Butter with Jelly

Golfing and fundraising are perfect partners. The audience is ideal, the setting is fitting and the logistics are optimal. Golfers inherently have some pocket money to spend, especially for a great cause. In a relaxed and comfortable setting, amongst friends and peers golfers easily become donors. With a tournament there are synergies in communications and logistics that go well together. Pre-marketing for the tournament and pre-market for the auction fundraiser, tournament check-in can be combined with auction check-in, post tournament festivities give the tournament a final purpose.

Broad tips and specific how-to instructions will take the next auction fundraiser and golf tournament to greater heights. Make more money for your cause by pairing the two.

Three key components for planning for a golf tournament:

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Golf Tournament Planning and Timeline

Golf Tournament Planning and Timeline

How long does it take to produce a successful golf tournament? Ideally 6 months start to finish. Why so much time? Remember that you are working with volunteers. Volunteers need time. They can not give you full time. They might be able to give you only 1 to 2 hours per week. Give them time to do their job. Be organized, here is a sample golf tournament planner and timeline.

There are many things that need to be done for your golf tournament. If you miss any of these items your event will not be as successful. Develop a plan and work your plan. Make sure that you make a list of everything that needs to be done and put a date on it. When it should be started and when it should be completed. Make sure that you assign someone to each task.

Most things can be accomplished within a 6 month time frame, but there are a few things that you want to consider doing a year in advance.

In Advance

Golf Course – If you have a specific golf course and a specific date, consider booking it a year in advance. By having the golf course reserved in the advance you can promote your event all year round and golfers will save the date.

Sponsors – When asking companies for major funds, you must remember that they budget in some cases a year in advance. We have heard the comment that it is not in the budget. The problem is that we talk to sponsors to late in the process. Get to them early and you will have better success in selling.

Media Coverage – Many media outlets have their pet projects that they love to promote. They love to promote good causes that help the community. They discuss these projects sometimes a year in advance. Get to the media early and they may choose your event to promote.

Top Priorities

I do not want to minimize the importance of logistic because everything is important. The 2 most important priorities for any golf tournament are Sponsors and Golfers. Sponsors are your profit and golfers are why we do this. There are 2 areas that need to be working throughout the process. Keep this in mind when developing your plan. Start with choosing a Committee Chair through final thank you this sample timeline and action item will keep the tournament planning on track.

Important Deadlines

There are several important deadlines that you must not let slip by. They can be costly.

Golf Course Deposit – This one is important because the golf course is not officially reserved until you give them a deposit. You could loose the date.

Merchandise Order – When ordering merchandise with a logo, you must give them a least 30 days to finish the piece on time. They can do it in 14 days but allow some time for mistakes.

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Recruiting & Managing Golfers

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Reasons Golfers Participate:

  1. Friends asks them
  2. Clients invite them
  3. Contacts for business are involved
  4. Unique tournament appeals to their desire for something special
  5. Value they want more for their money.
  6. Sense of urgency they do not want to miss out on an event.
  7. The cause is one in which they believe.
  8. Recognition they want exposure for themselves and their company.

How Do You Recruit Golfers?

  1. Friends asking Friends, is the number one way to recruit golfers.
  2. Businesses asking their vendors.
  3. Direct Mail, to qualified list.
  4. Advertise, to target markets.
  5. Editorial Coverage, in targeted publications.
  6. Media Coverage, TV & Radio.
  7. Brochure gets attention and generates interest.
  8. Returning Golfers, if they had a good time the year before they will want to participate again. Don’t take it for granted that golfers will sign up. Your golfer Recruiting Committee must continue to ask golfers and assist them with getting signed up.

Secret Weapon – 9-9-4 Rule. 9 people on your committee to recruit 4 people each to bring in a foursome. Give them 4 to 6 months to accomplish their goals.

Golfers Skill Level & Pairings

If you have a tournament with some great prizes that golfers really want, you must insure that golfers don’t stack the deck by bringing a team of “ringers”. Here is a scale to help divide up the teams to keep them equitable and fair for all involved:

A Player – Scores in the 70’s or Top 25% of the field. B Player – Scores in the 80’s or 2nd 25% of the field. C Player – Scores in the 90’s or 3rd 25% of the field. D Player – Scores in the 100’s or last 25% of the field.

This scale can be adjusted, depending on your playing field. Divide all your golfers into 4 groups. Have A, B, C & D player together.

Golfers Pairings When teaming up players, two things to keep in mind. If you have great prizes, make sure that the teams are even. Have A, B, C & D player together. Second, match up people that you think will have fun together or do business together.

Golfers Registration Form

The golfer’s registration form is an excellent tool for keeping track of registered golfers. It can be part of the brochure, although if you are trying to save money, print a separate form on your computer or typewriter. Listed below are the key ingredients for a golfer registration:

Registration Form Contents:

Tournament Information needs to include: Name of the Tournament, Date & Time of Tournament, Location of Golf Course, Information about the Tournament, Information about the Organization, Green Fees. In addition:

  • Address, Phone & Fax of Organization
  • How to Register, How to Pay
  • Player Information
  • What do the player’s get for playing? Contests, Schedule of events
  • Place for Name, address, phone and email address for golfers
  • Place for Golfers Handicap & Shirt Size

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Selling Sponsors

Selling sponsors is the key to a profitable event. The sponsor dollars will be the tournament profit. Sponsors do not usually get a tremendous amount of exposure, so the real benefit to them is building relationships and participating in a worthy cause. The list below shows reasons why businesses sponsor events:

  • They Believe in Your Cause – Business must agree with what your organization is doing and support it.
  • They are Part of Your Industry – If a company does business in your field, they will want to see the industry do well.
  • To Entertain Clients – If they can use it as a tool to bring out clients and entertain.
  • To Reach New Clients – If they believe that their potential clients are playing in your event.
  • Specific Exposure – If they can reach people in their industry.
  • Public Relations – If they believe that it will get their company name in the paper or the news.

How to Sell Sponsors

  1. Develop a Sponsor Committee – Businesses will sponsor if asked by someone they know and or respect. Develop a committee with relationships.
  2. Develop Sponsor Package and Benefits – Provide as many benefits as possible. Create a List of Potential Sponsors – Get the committee together and brainstorm on businesses that will benefit by being involved.
  3. Send out a Letter with Benefits to Potential Prospects – Have the letter come from the person who has the contact at that business or use a well-known name, like the Honorary Chairman.
  4. Follow up with Phone Calls in a timely manner – Phones are the most important part of the process. They will not respond to mail only.
  5. Find his or her Hot Button – Every person has a hot button. Exposure, money, community. Find out what it is and use it.
  6. Mutual Relationship – It is hard to high-level decision-makers, if you do not have a common relationship, find one.
  7. Explain Benefits – Do not assume that they know the benefits, take the time to discuss the benefits. Sell larger sponsors face to face – Don’t try to sell a large package over the phone. Get a meeting and allow them to get to know you.

Sample Sponsor Packages:

Title Sponsor, Presenting Sponsor, Major Sponsor, Contributing Sponsor, Hole Sponsor, Contest Sponsor, Meal Sponsor, Platinum, Gold, Silver, Copper, Eagle, Birdie, Par, Bogie.

  1. Title Sponsor Package Company Name in Title of Event for example, “Company Charity Challenge”. Company Logo in all Promotional Material. Company Information to all Participants. Company Banner at the Event. Foursomes in Tournament. Company Sign on all Golf Holes. Company Sign on all Golf Carts. Company Executive as MC of Awards Presentation. Company Name in Newsletter. Display Table at the Event. First Right of Refusal for Next Year’s Event. Investment $10,000.

  2. Presenting Sponsor Package Company Name in Title of the Event. “Charity Golf Tournament, Presented by Company” Company Name in all Promotional Material. Company Information to all Participants. Company Banner at the Event. 1 Foursome in the Tournament. Company Name in Newsletter. Company Mention during Awards Ceremony. Display Table at the Event. Investment $5000.

  3. Major Sponsor Package Company Name in all Promotional Materials. Company Information to all Participants. Two Playing Spots in the Tournament. Company Sign on 1 Golf Hole. Company Mention during Awards Ceremony. Display Table at the Event. Investment $3000

  1. Contributing Sponsor Package Company Information to all Participants. 1 Playing Spot in Tournament. Company Mention during Awards Ceremony. Company Sign on Golf Hole. Investment $1000.

  2. Hole Sponsor Package Company Sign on Golf Hole. Company Mention during Awards Ceremony. Investment $500.

  3. Contest Sponsor Package Company Sign on Contest Hole. Company Hand Out on Contest Hole. Company Mention during Awards Ceremony. Investment $1000.

  4. Meal Sponsor Package Company Banner on Site. Company Information to all Participants. Company Commercial during Meal. Investment $2500.

When developing your sponsor packages, list all of the benefits you can offer them and divide them up into value. Give them more value than the cost. Exposure leads to happy sponsors. Company’s love to see their name in lights.

The most effective way to sell many sponsors and golfers at the same time is to work with a large business or supermarket that has many vendor relationships. If a business takes on the tournament as their own, they will not only sell many sponsor packages, but they will also line up golfers through their client base.

Tournament Fact Sheet

When creating your sponsor packages, make sure to include a Tournament Fact Sheet. This will give a potential sponsor all of the important information about the event and the organization. The fact sheet should be included with all sponsor package proposals. Include all key information in the fact sheet.

Summary of supplemental golf tournament documents:


Special thank you to Phil Immordino for providing expert content and supplemental timelines, forms and sample letters to help guide an fundraiser golf tournament.

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Phil has been involved in the golf industry of over 25 years. He is the President of : Golf Tournament Association of America and Golf Tournament Association of Canadaand Night Golf Tournament Association

Currently Phil travels the country giving seminars on, “Increasing Tournament Business”, “How to Produce a Successful Golf Tournament” and “Recruiting and Motivating Volunteers”. Consulting with golf courses, manufactures, Suppliers, Distributors, Golf Tournament Directors, Golf Instructors and Golf Course Designs, assisting them in increasing their business.