Fairway to Fundraising: Charity Golf Tournaments
Like any charity event, a golf tournament has the potential to raise a good deal of money for a nonprofit organization. Community members and local companies alike often are eager to participate with charitable contributions and other support.
But — also like any event, charity or otherwise — golf tournaments take a good deal of planning to be successful.
Bridget Baughn, events director at fundraising and philanthropy consulting firm Changing Our World Inc., recommends organizations give themselves nine months to a year to organize their first charity golf tournament. After that, plan on about six months to pull it together each year.
But even before the planning gets into full swing, you need to have buy-in from your board, staff and volunteers — all of whom will have to pitch in not only in the planning but also on the day of the event, when folks will be needed to do everything from running extra napkins to food and beverage stations on the course, to overseeing on-course contests, to helping participants find their parking spots.
Buy-in from the board is especially important, for example, because you’re bound to have a few members who belong to a golf club that would be willing to partner with your organization for the event.
It’s important that everyone understands the event, why the organization is doing it and which programs will benefit from it. That kind of early, thorough understanding and buy-in will translate into a positive experience for participants.
The next step is to create a strong committee. Steve Eskey, assistant golf professional at the Penn State Golf Courses at Penn State University, co-presents a seminar on organizing and managing charity golf tournaments. He suggests the committee be made up of people with key strengths that, when combined, cover all the bases for planning: community leaders, avid golfers and local business owners — people who can identify potential event sponsors and rally involvement in the event.
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