Hitting the links with friends and family is an American Pasttime. Anyone that plays the game loves a beautiful day out on the course. Golf brings people together and because of that, it presents an excellent opportunity to gain community support through a golf tournament fundraiser for your organization.
"But Rusty," you ask "how can I organize a golf tournament fundraiser for my football team? I've never done that."
Golf Tournaments are a successful fundraising staple of organizations across the country. They can be hugely successful and make tons of money, but they take an enormous amount of preparation and planning. With this post, I hope to shed some light on deciding if a golf tournament fundraiser for your football team is worth the effort and the key factors that go into making your tournament a success.
Before getting started, Find some help. I cannot stress this enough. Organizing a golf tournament for your football team like any fundraiser can be a lot of work. More than likely there are quite a few people that would benefit from any funds raised. Enlist their help now. If you are in charge, effectively delegate tasks to members of your team.
First things first. In order to host a golf tournament, you're going to need a golf course. Now this doesn't have to be a fancy members-only country club (in fact I discourage that) your ideal golf course is whichever course will give you the best deal on greens fees and allow for you to maximize your fundraising efforts. Profit it the key here. If you can get a great deal on a high-end course that agrees with your target donors than by all means go for it. Maybe you have a great mini golf course that is popular in your community, that could work as well. But if you're like most organizations you'll probably settle somewhere in the middle.
Can the course feed your attendees? Do you need to make arrangements? Do your due diligence on this matter. Golfers paying a premium expect to be fed. It doesn't have to be fancy, it could be hot dogs, but it's important to show your appreciation to them by taking care of them in return.
When deciding on a course it is important to negotiate with the course manager on greens fees and food. Always remember to mention "it's for the kids." Typically course will cut a deal if they know the proceeds of a tournament are going to your football team.
Determining entry fees for your tournament can be a challenge, but it is important to remember this one thing.
YOU WILL NOT MAKE YOUR MONEY ON THE ENTRY FEES!!!
Keep the entry fees economical. The point of the entry fee is to cover your expenses and a little more. You will make the majority of your money on hole sponsorships and apparel sales. A fair estimate is tagging on an extra 25% to your costs per team. So if it is going to cost $55 per golfer in fees, you ought to charge right around $75 per golfer. Sooooo.....
$75 per golfer x 4 golfers per team x 18 teams = $5400
$5400 gross - $3960 expenses = $1440 net profit.
Once you've decided on a course the next step is to determine a date. You should keep several factors in mind when considering a date for your golf tournament. First and arguably biggest factor will be the weather. Try to pick a time of year where you generally see nice weather. While you can't predict the future you should have a pretty good general idea of when it will be nice enough to have a successful tournament. Remember a day of bad weather can derail your tournament and the months of planning that went into it. In most parts of the country, May-June are safe dates. Next, you will want to ensure that there will not be any major conflicts on the planned day of your event. Major holidays are a no-brainer but what about graduation, festivals, and conflicting community events. All of these can have an effect on your turnout. For the sake of your own sanity give yourself a minimum of 3 months to plan and prepare for your tournament as well.
Once a date and location have been determined it is time to seek out hole sponsors. What is a hole sponsor you ask? A hole sponsor is typically a local business that donates a set amount of money to have a sign with their name out on the course as a showing of support for the team. Hole sponsorships act as advertising for local businesses to community members and more importantly give them a chance to show they care about the community in which they reside.
Hole sponsorships can be tricky. I'd suggest compiling a list of local businesses and individuals in your community that might be interested and send them a letter announcing the golf tournament and hole sponsorship opportunities.
I'd suggest compiling a list of local businesses and individuals in your community that might be interested and send them a letter announcing the golf tournament and hole sponsorship opportunities. The amount of money charged per hole sponsorship is completely up to you. In the past, I've seen hole sponsorships set at $250 and 3 per hole.
$250/hole sponsor x 3/hole x 18 holes= $13,500.
Not too bad considering that is all profit.
Once hole sponsorships are locked up you will want to start promoting your tournament about two months prior to your event date. Don't bother with paid ads. Paying for ads in the paper or facebook will put you in the hole before you have even made any money. Instead, create a facebook event. Use Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and email lists to promote your tournament directly to the people that are most likely to attend.
Start filling teams of four immediately and cap the number of teams at 36 or two times the number of holes to be played. Anymore, than that will be a complete wreck.
Once the golf tournament reaches its conclusion there should be an awards ceremony. Awards do not have to be anything expensive but just something to recognize those attendees that did particularly well and sometimes those that didn't.
If done correctly a golf tournament fundraiser for your football team can be a great experience. There is huge profit potential, but it is wise to keep in mind the necessary planning that goes along with it. If you think you aren't quite ready to dive into the world of golf tournament fundraising I'd suggest you take a look at athleticfunder.com's platform for booster club fundraisers made simple.
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