One of the best ways to raise money for a good cause is a charity golf tournament. Everyone from top celebrities to the guy working in the office next to you puts them on with proceeds benefiting deserving causes all over.
If you’ve ever played in one, you can tell a lot goes into putting one on. They look like a lot of work – and you’re right: they are! – but they’re still easier to put on than you think.
Getting Down to Basics
Looking to raise money for a scholarship fund? How about to help cover some medical bills? Maybe there’s a particular charitable organization near and dear to your heart that’d you’d like to help out but don’t necessarily have the financial means to make a difference individually?
Charity golf tournaments are the way to go in all of those situations and more.
Not only does they provide the donations and proceeds the causes so desperately need, all those participating can feel great about their giving and get something tangible out the day to go along with the sense of pride and accomplishment that comes with helping those in need.
Want to set up your own charity tournament? Follow these steps and you’ll be on your way to helping out your community and having one hell of a good time along the way:
Step 1: Pick the Right Course
When it comes to picking the course, there are a number of things to consider. First and foremost, you’ve got to know your clientele. If you’re players are going to be blue-collar guys who play 3-5 times a month, then you’re not going to want your host course to play too tough.
On the other hand, if you know the majority of your players are competitive, good golfers looking for more than just an excuse to drink copious amounts of beer in the afternoon, then you might want to pick a place that’s a bit more laid back to host your event.
For golfer like that, the charity tournament may as well just be a “tournament” – especially if none of them play amateur tournaments regularly. For them, charity events are the closest they’ll come to being a pro. These things are their “majors” so-to-speak and they should be hosted that way.
Remember, the better the venue the more it’s going to cost. If your tournament costs too much, you’ll have a hard time filling the field. Finding the balance between affordability for players and proceeds generated for the cause is a bit delicate.
Step 2: Selecting the Charity
Deciding who will benefit from your philanthropic endeavor can be more difficult that you might think. There are rules when it comes to putting on a charity golf tournament.
Some national charities will allow you to put on a tournament with their name on it and some may even help you. Others have entire branches of their company dedicated to putting on charitable events and fundraising and they may not be super keen on letting a random person put together and run a tournament with their name on it.
The alternative to going directly through a charity is to put one together out-of-pocket or via donations of time, money and – if you’ve got some connections – use of a venue.
It might be a little pricey for you, but you can also write it off in April – so that’s good.
If you do choose the latter, then all you need to do is collect the money and divide it as you see it fit. Perhaps to multiple charities, perhaps to individuals or families in need.
Either way, as long as someone or some organization benefits from your hard work then it’s all worthwhile.
Step 3: Collecting Sponsors/Prize Donations
If you’ve never done it before, asking for sponsors and donations for charity golf tournaments can be a bit intimidating. No one likes to ask for things for free, but you’ve got to remember what’s in store for the places that donate.
Source: Matt Castonguay
For those providing items for raffles and/or auctions have the opportunity to help out a good cause and receive a tax break for doing so.
What makes good prizes:
Gift Certificates to Local Restaurants
Golf-related items (clubs, balls, etc.)
Liquor and Liquor-themed baskets
The easiest way to collect these donations/sponsors/prizes are to try and remain personal. Whether you’re using connections you have to local businesses or ties a company might have with a specific cause, that personal connection makes things a whole lot easier.
Again, selecting the prizes have a lot to do with who will be playing in your event. If you’ve got a significant number of women participating, try to get massage packages or gift cards to salons and things like that. While it may be fine for some, most women could care less about an Andre Ethier autographed baseball.
Step 4: Picking a Tournament Format
There are so many different types of tournaments you could play, so picking the best one for your event is key.
Most events play 4-member scrambles because they’re easy to understand, involve everyone regardless of their skill level and keeps things moving at a pace that is tolerable for all involved.
Other options for formats include:
Gross/Net Better Ball
Ryder Cup style (2-player teams, 6 holes of best ball scramble, 6 alternate shot, 6 holes match-play)
Selecting the correct format is a must. Depending on the skill level of those involved, some formats may better serve the event than others.
The most popular and easiest is a scramble format where each player hits and then everyone plays their next shot from the best previous shot, with one overall score being kept for the entire group.
Step 5: Creating a Facebook/Social Media presence
Nowadays, everyone has a Facebook page or a Twitter profile — heck, they probably even have an Instagram account. Whether you’re a celebrity, big business or just a local event, social media is the best, most efficient way to communicate with your audience and drum up interest.
Creating a Facebook page is a great help for a number of reasons:
Allows you to invite friends (who invite more friends)
Offers a chance for folks to offer feedback and ask questions in an organized forum
Easy place to announce new prizes and draws for the event
Place for all participants to exchange helpful information
This all sounds like common sense, but trust me — it isn’t until you’ve spent countless hours fielding phone calls from private numbers, collecting checks and trying to piece together paper trails for donors and participants alike.
Step 6: Provide Dinner Options
The easiest way to feed your golfers is to choose a venue that will also cater the event. The clubs that offer this love it because it means all the venue fees stay in house.
For you, it means one less contract, one less phone call and (potentially) one less headache.
It’s also important to decide the style of the dinner. Will you be serving specific dishes like at a wedding, or would a simple buffet be more efficient? Again, this depends on the clientele and the level of prestige attached to the tournament. You don’t want to charge $175 per player and have a pasta bar.
Step 7: Do a 50/50 or Regular Auction
Once you square up with venue and catering fees, much of what you took in in entry fees have been spoken for. This means if you really want to have some cash to donate at the end of the day, then you’re going to need a way to supplement the entry fees.
The best way to do that is to offer a 50/50 or standard raffle or an auction.
Again, what type of supplemental raffle you choose will depend on your golfers. If the field is made up of folks with deep pockets, they an auction is definitely the way to go.
If not, then 50/50 raffles are great way to make money. Everyone loves the idea of walking away from anywhere with a handful of cold-hard cash and will happily turn over the currency for a chance to go home a little richer than when they showed up.
Straight forward raffles are also great, especially if you can snag a couple big-ticket items for the event. A lot of times, local businesses will be more than happy to donate items if it benefits the local community.
Now It’s Your Turn….
Now that you know what it’s going to take to put on a successful charity golf tournament in Southern California (or anywhere, really) it’s time to do it. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day and there will always be challenges along the way — but in the long run, few things are as rewarding or fun as putting together and participating in a charity golf outing.
Not only will the event provide your selected charities much-needed support, but it’ll give you and all those who participated a memory that will last a lifetime.
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