It’s time again for Ways to Fundraise, because you’re not just a Mom (or Dad) who aims to create a comfortable home, you want to get involved in your kids’ school or the community and do even greater good. I’m here to show you how. Today, let’s talk about a golf tournament fundraiser.
Golf tournament fundraisers are one of the most popular fundraisers hosted by schools and other nonprofit organizations. While they are a ton of work and require a good-sized committee to pull together, they can also be one of the most profitable fundraisers if planned and promoted well.
How to Plan a School Golf Tournament Fundraiser
Planning a charity golf tournament as a school fundraiser can be a highly profitable event but is an extensive undertaking. Profits can average anywhere from $10,000 to over $50,000. fi you’re planning a golf tournament fundraiser for your school or other nonprofit organization, these ideas will help with your planning.
FORM A COMMITTEE OF VOLUNTEERS
Gather together a committee of 5 to 10 volunteers who can assist with the planning and execution of the golf tournament. There will be lots to do. Volunteers will assist soliciting sponsors, collecting donations and prizes, selling tickets, advertising, reserving the golf course, planning the lunch and/or dinner, and setting and cleaning up on the day of the event.
On the day of the event, its’ a good idea to have all volunteers wear similar outfits so that they’re easily recognizable to the attendees. You could ask a company to sponsor the purchase of golf shirts for the committee. If you do this, offer to print the sponsor’s logo on the shirt as advertising.
RESERVE THE GOLF COURSE
Contact a local golf course and speak with them about your plans. They will have a representative that will work with you and walk you through the planning and execution of your tournament. They have done this many times before and will be able to provide you with a schedule of the day (tee times, lunch, dinner, etc.) and suggestions on where you can set up additional raffle or live action items if you choose to add these to your event.
Public & private courses vary dramatically in difficulty (beginner to experienced) and price. Choose a beginner to intermediate course to attract all skill levels and to keep costs down. Know your audience. You’ll be attracting players from the local community (school parents, local business people, etc.) and the players and their spending ability will vary.
When choosing a course, it’s best to choose one with a function hall/dining facility that can accommodate a sit-down dinner for all of the golfers at the end of the
Meet with the course representative in person to discuss arrangements. Negotiate to keep the green & cart fees as low as possible. Towns often sponsor public courses, so you are more likely get the tee or cart fees waived for a school fundraiser. The course doesn’t usually mind doing this fundraiser tournaments are usually scheduled for a weekday that would normally be slow for the course. They’ll make their profit in areas such as food and beverages.
If you do need to pay for tees and carts, work those expenses into your ticket price. If tee, cart, lunch, and dinner fees total $75 per person, plan to charge player fees of $50+ above that for your fundraiser.
RESERVE THE DINING FACILITY & CATERER
It’s customary to have a lunch and then a sit-down dinner as part of the fee to play in the tournament. This will also be a time to give out awards & prizes and to draw the raffles.
You’ll need a dining facility that can accommodate at least the number of people the golf course can accommodate. The course either has their own kitchen and staff or can likely recommend a caterer. Take advantage of the caterer’s expertise and work with them to plan the food and beverages.
If the course does not offer a dining area, you’ll need to look into other options such as setting up a tent at the golf course or reserving another local function hall nearby. Check with nonprofit organizations in the area such as Rotary, Lions, or Elks clubs.
Player ticket sales are just one way to make money for your golf tournament fundraiser. Sponsorships are another. Sponsors are businesses and individuals that donate money, products, or services to help offset the cost of the tournament.
Sponsorships could include Tournament Sponsor, Tee Sponsor, Prize Sponsor, Raffle Sponsor, Hole-In-One Sponsor, and Practice Ball Sponsor to name few.
Use your network of contacts from your school parents and committee of volunteers and have them ask their companies to sponsor the tournament. Send letters to local businesses, from small merchants to large corporations, requesting sponsorship. Follow-up all requests with phone calls.
Set up different levels of sponsorship and clearly identify in the tournament brochure what the sponsor will receive for their support. For example:
Platinum Sponsorship – $5,000: Platinum sponsors will be highlighted with a promotional display at the country club entrance and in the dining hall, eight player tickets, and dinner for eight.
Gold Sponsorship – $2,500: Gold sponsors will be acknowledged with a promotional display at a tee, four player tickets, and dinner for four.
Silver Sponsorship – $1,000: Silver sponsors will be acknowledged with a promotional display at a tee.
SELL SPONSOR SIGNS
Sponsor signs can be placed at the tees, along the course, at the clubhouse, and at the dining facility to recognize the sponsors’ generous donations to your fundraising event. Print individual signs for each separate sponsor.
Tee signs can be printed locally or ordered online. Run an online search for “golf tournament supplies” and you’ll find companies that even offer kits that include the sign stakes. Or negotiate with a local printer to donate to your event or offer a discounted rate. Order signs early!
As sponsors sign up, ask for a digital file of their logo and exactly how they would like their corporate name printed on the sign. Obtain a printer’s proof of all signage and forward a copy to the sponsor for approval prior to printing.
HOST A GOLF BALL DROP
A golf ball drop is a super fun raffle! Sell numbered raffle tickets that coincide with numbered golf balls. Hire a helicopter to fly over a green that participants gather around and drop the numbered golf balls. The more golf balls sold, the more impressive the drop will be.
Award cash prizes to the balls that fall closest to the pin. For example:
|# Tickets Sold||Price/Ticket||Total||Prizes Awarded||Profit|
|100||$20||$2,000||$500; $250; $100||$1,150|
|500||$20||$10,000||$1,000; $500; $250||$8,250|
|1,000||$20||$20,000||$2,500; $1,500; $500||$15,500|
The more people you can draw to your event, the greater its success. So go overboard with your advertising. A few suggestions include:
Brochure: Create a printed tri-fold brochure with all of the tournament details.
Flyers: Distribute printed flyers to school parents.
Newsletter: Advertise in the school’s newsletter.
Letters: Send letters to local businesses along with the trifold brochure.
Signs/Banner: Display an A-frame sign or plastic banner at the school’s entrance or in a location visible during drop-off and pick-up hours.
Email: Send periodic email reminders.
Website: Post an advertisement on the school’s website or create a webpage specifically for the golf tournament at WordPress.com.
Social Media: Continuously post to social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter) and ask committee members to share.
MAKE REGISTRATION EASY
Create a tournament webpage that offers online registration and print a trifold brochure that Includes a registration form that can be torn off and submitted. Include the following information:
- date & time
- schedule of events
- sponsorship opportunities
- tournament webpage address and online registration
Free webpages can be created using WordPress.com or Blogger.com. PayPal is an easy way to include online payment options on your webpage.
Set a registration deadline at several weeks prior to the event in order to give the course and caterer a final count. The registration form should specifically state “no refunds are allowed after the registration deadline”.
You will have to pay for players whether or not they show up. By setting an early deadline, this also gives you extra time to obtain additional sponsorships or plan additional raffles and contests if you need them to reach your fundraising goal.
Two to three weeks prior to the event, email each player a confirmation notice detailing the date, starting times, format of play, directions, and food & beverage arrangements.
SUPPLY PLENTY OF FOOD & BEVERAGE
Tournaments usually start at 7:00 or 8:00 in the morning and run until around dinner time. It will be a long, hopefully sunny day for your players so be sure to provide snacks and drinks throughout the day.
Breakfast may include coffee, juice, bagels, muffins and a breakfast snack bar and water to take along on the course.
Lunch or dinner could be a buffet to accommodate players that will arrive from the golf course at different times. The caterer will offer menu options.
Offer a floating beverage cart – a golf cart stocked with cold beverages and snacks that drives around the course during the day – along the course to keep players hydrated throughout he day. Drinks and snacks can be sold for a small fee.
GIVE COMPLIMENTARY GIFTS:
Complimentary gifts are grab bags full of items that are given to each player just for participating in the tournament. They are usually handed out when players check in at the registration table.
A sponsor could sponsor the items in the bag and include products with their company name on them – pens, shirts, golf balls, towel, golf glove, ball marker, tees, snack bars, water bottles, etc.
HOST PLENTY OF CONTESTS:
Make your tournament fun! Contests attract players and provide added revenue above and beyond player fees. So plan to host several contests throughout the day. Some options include:
Closest to the Pin – Played on a par three hole during the tournament. Leave a pen, notebook, and tape measure near the hole for players to measure the distance of their ball from the pin. The player with the tee shot closest to the pin wins. This can be run on more than one par three if available.
Longest Drive – Played on a par four or five hole with a straight fairway. The player with the longest tee shot in the fairway wins. Have a pen, notebook, and tape measure available.
Straightest Drive – Played on a par four or five hole with a straight fairway. The player with the straightest drive closest to the center of the fairway wins.
Hole-In-One – Played on a par three hole. A large prize is offered for the player who hits a hole-in-one. A corporate sponsor usually provides this prize. Hole-in-one insurance can be purchased (search “hole-in-one insurance” online).
Golf course management can help you determine at which hole each contest should be played. Have a staff member located at the tee where the contest is taking place to collect a fee (ranging from $5 to $20) from any player wanting to participate in the contest. Prizes can be given for just first place; or first, second, and third place; or two first place winners (one for men, one for women).
Also award prizes to the teams that win the overall tournament (first, second, and third place). Award equal prizes to all four players on a single team.
Announce all contest winners at dinner at the end of the day.
Make the tournament fun by offer prizes for the contests. Contact companies and asks for donations – products, gift certificates. Some large resorts even offer overnight stays to nonprofit fundraisers if you write to them well in advance.
Get creative with the prizes. A landscaper could donate one hour to mow a residential lawn. A baker could donate a dozen cupcakes delivered on a day of the winner’s choosing. A season ticket holder could donate tickets to professional game.
HOST A 50/50 RAFFLE & SILENT AUCTION:
Selling raffle tickets and hosting a silent auction are two more ways to make extra money during the golf tournament.
A 50/50 raffle is an easy raffle to organize. Simply see raffle tickets and one winner receives 50% of the cash collected from the sale of the raffle tickets.
A “Best Ball” competition will keep the game moving at a steady pace. In a Best Ball competition, also known as a Scramble, each player of the four-person team hits from the tee. The team then makes their next set of shots from the spot where the best ball landed. This process continues until the ball is in the hole.
GOLFING STARTS & COMPETITION:
Fundraiser tournaments begin with a shotgun start. Two teams of four begin playing at each hole at exactly the same time. If your team starts on hole 8, you would play 18 holes and end on hole 7. On an 18-hole course, that’s 144 players beginning at the same time (18 holes x 8 players at each hole = 144 total).
If you are playing on a 9-hole course you may want to have an early morning start and a noon-time start so you can accommodate the full 144 people. The golf course representative can help organize the start for you.
A “Best Ball” (also known as a Scramble) competition keeps the game moving at a steady pace. Each player of the four-person team hits from the tee. The team then makes their next set of shots from the spot where the best ball landed. This process continues until the ball is in the hole.
ON THE DAY OF THE EVENT:
Work with the golf course organizer to ensure all is ready for the tournament.
Set up a registration table and a bag drop area.
Set up sponsor signs in visible locations (registration, clubhouse, dining area, tees).
Set out the pens, notebooks, and tape measures at contest tees.
Confirm that golf carts are readily available and positioned in a convenient location to start.
Scorecard, rules sheet, and goodie bags should be placed at the registration table and handed out to players upon arrival. As players arrive, remind them of the contests and where to return their scorecards at the end of the tournament.
Post a scoreboard that can be filled in as the scorecards are collected at the end of play.
As the tournament organizer, you should designate all jobs to your volunteers so that you’re able to roam the golf course and dining facility throughout the day, monitor supplies, and attend to any issues that arise. Share cell phone numbers for easy communication throughout the day.
Take pictures throughout the day!
THANK SPONSORS, GUESTS & VOLUNTEERS
Always remember thank your sponsors, guests, and volunteers. Mail printed, personalized thank you notes.
For sponsors, specify their donation, its value, and whether or not they receives anything in return for their donation.
By sending a thank you note to your guests, you can let them know how much you were able to raise due to their support and invite them back again next year. Even include the date of next year’s even if you know it.
A letter can also be written to your local newspaper, along with photos, thanking your sponsors and guests for a successful fundraiser. This serves as additional publicity for your corporate sponsors as well as publicity for your tournament.