Charity Golf Network

Your source for information about hosting a charity golf tournament.

This is a question I've been asked a couple of times lately. Before I weigh in, I'll wait for someone else to respond.


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Around here the state sponsored pig farms begin to plan their advertising budgets in the early autumn before the rivers freeze and the avalanches bury the roads out to civilization. If you wait until after we've all been cut off from the outside world for a few months, you won't get any sponsors to sign a contract. By December, the suicide rate is so high, that you couldn't be sure a potential sponsor would still be alive by spring anyway. We find that by getting them signed up early and revisiting them throughout the winter to show them advertising ideas and golf shirt designs, it gives our sponsors hope and they survive till spring at a much higher rate than do non-sponsors. Our sponsorship sales team leader, Noordling the Blasphemous, makes good use of this statistic (and a 5 pound light sledge hammer he wears strapped to his hip) in order to break sponsorship sales records year after year. Ah, we love that Noordling. He's such a go-getter.

See you on the golf course (after the spring floods and the cholera epidemics subside, of course).

Farfel Crankypants
Good point, Farfel. Most potential sponsors do so out of their advertising budget rather than their charity budgets since you can actually deduct more of advertising than you can from a donation. Advertising budgets are usually calculated before the end of the fiscal year for the next year's budget and the majority of companies begin a new fiscal year on January 1. If you wait till after then, most advertising budgets are pretty well set and you are pretty well up the creek or, as Farfel might put it, behind the avalanche!
Yep, the earlier, the better. Our most successful charity tournament clients ONLY have sponsors - they don't sell playing spots, only teams, everyone who buys a team is a sponsor - and they sell out double- and triple-full-field events that raise in the hundreds of thousands of dollars annually. Most sponsors do charge the cost to their advertising budgets, but even if they charge them to "community relations", "charitable giving" or whatever, the budgets are still set months before the end of the fiscal year. So, yeah, generally by September or October, the amount available for the following year is at the point where it will only get smaller, not bigger.
Here's one's schedule:
Mid-July - the tournament, at which each and every player receives a flyer with the date for the following year's tourney
Mid-August - "thank you" gifts go out to the "check signers", i.e., each person who took the budget hit for the purchase of his/her foursome, with a reminder of the date of the following year's tourney
September - first committee meeting for the following year's tournament. At which one order of business is: which companies each committee member has felt out, who's a virtual lock to sign on again and for how many teams, which ones look iffy, to which what potential replacement sponsors they've spoken , which others might be prospects, and who'll take responsibility for reeling them in.
Almost forgot to mention: the pic is of what was in the gift bags each woman player received at one of these tournaments. (Well, not the shoes - we fitted those individually in the back of the registration room.) This is a top-drawer event in every important respect - the courses, the food and drink, and the player gifts - but there are no hole-in-one prizes or even proximity prizes. And, since every player goes home with an armload of truly great stuff, absolutely no one seems to even notice. All the winners get are bragging rights, and small crystal bowls worth a fraction of the player gift package value.

Larger prestigious charities can do the buying a team sponsorship route and make quite a lot of money that way, especially since they are attracting a well-heeled crowd and the high entry fee keeps out the riff-raff.

I'm not sure this sponsorship scheme will work as wellfor small to mid-sized local charities that may not have a constituency of wealthy supporters who "want to be alone" with their peers enough to pay the premium costs of such an event. For the smaller npo's, it's like gold mining on a claim that's starting to peter out. You may have to have hole prizes and sidebar contests if you want to make enough to be profitable.

One hazard of the type of tournament Nina describes is that participants or volunteers have a bad habit of adding luxuries to such tournaments that eat up the profits. I had a student at one of my workshops that ran a tournament with a $5,000 per team sponsorship rate. They filled a full flight, almost 120 golfers and they LOST money. The player/volunteers turned it into a very expensive Pro-Am and by the time they finished paying the pros, there wasn't even enough to pay off all the expenses.

The volunteer committee dumped the pros and over-rode the "high-roller" types on the planning committee and went with a simpler format the following year. They lost few players with the change in format and made a nice profit for the college that year.

Most of the complaints about losing the pros came from over-privileged golfers on the planning committee who saw the event as a way for them to schmooze with pro-golfers. They had little regard for the real purpose of the tournament - to make money for the college!





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