The 2021 Golf 4 Kids Experience
The COVID-19 experience, as we all know, is one that will go down in history. We continue to experience the effects this pandemic has caused. For my work at The Salvation Army Indiana Division, we had to make several decisions, especially those affecting special events for much-needed revenue. In 2019, we made the decision to move our long-standing golf event to the Brickyard Crossing Golf Course.
This beautiful golf course is located next to the famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway. When playing golf, you can hear the loud race cars practicing in mid-May for the annual Indianapolis 500 race that takes place Memorial Day weekend. We made this decision late in 2018 and had five months to make success a reality for the 2019 event. Sadly, the 2020 Golf 4 Kids Event was cancelled due to COVID-19.
We decided to host the 2021 Golf 4 Kids event at the Brickyard Crossing Golf Course in May, during National Salvation Army Week, on May 12, 2021. When we made this decision, we did not know the total ramifications of social distancing, mask wearing, vaccines, etc. In fact, the course had been closed for play until the week of the event! We were only, by one day, the second public golf outing hosted by the Brickyard Crossing Golf Course.
Ironically, several days before the golf event, while in the Brickyard Crossing Golf Course Pro Shop, I met Roger Penske, owner of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He and his team were making sure everything was perfect for people to play golf in 2021.
Event Caddy shared three reasons organizations should choose golf for their 2021 charity fundraiser. First, golf is a natural game to adhere to social distancing. Second, you can safeguard your event with tournament management software. Third, activation opportunities for fundraising are endless.
Technology can be provided to you and your golfing partners throughout the event, keeping you informed of scoring and other information. In fact, we employed this type of technology, including contact text messages, in our golf event. Once the event started, the group of 136 golfers never regrouped throughout the event. They went to their cars when the event was over.
According to Golf Status, donor data is important to fundraising organizations considering golf as a vehicle to generate revenue while promoting a special event. Research notes that the typical golfer has a net worth of over $768,000. And an annual household income of golfers doubles the national average. Many golfers are also executives of companies who can support charities.
Organizations sponsoring golf events should employ online donor-driven data to capture an event’s donor information. Make sure you gather names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses and other germane information of each golfer and donor. The key is to build the database year one and expand your donor base over time.
If you are interested in producing a successful charity golf tournament, Tee Times Magazine provides 18 steps that you need to follow to make success a reality.
If you are genuinely interested in total success through a golf event, as the publication Entrepreneur points out, with so many high-level contacts, the networking possibilities are endless. You are catching executives when they are relaxed, open to conversation and have time for discussions. Individuals in a golf setting are more open to ideas and sharing.
The stress and pressure of the office context is left behind. Golf is considered a fun way of doing business. The setup is peaceful, and the landscape and environment provide a uniqueness of opportunity, especially if you set up a pairing on purpose for engagement. The golf cart can be a magical place.
An article by Golf Status indicates that fundraising for nonprofits boils down to finding new donors and keeping existing ones. Golf event fundraisers can successfully do both. As we transition out of the pandemic, people want to go outside, and some of them want to golf. Many golfers are now looking for golf events because they enjoy the game and want to engage with others. These individuals also know they can enjoy golf while supporting a charitable cause they believe in.
With a typical golf scramble format, the pressure to hit every shot perfect is diminished. Players are typically relaxed and want to enjoy each other in conversation. In my golf event, I purposely filled the foursome with three corporate executives. I wanted to get to know them long term for the benefit of my organization. These companies could provide time, talent and treasure in a variety of ways long after the golf event was over. The memory of the golf event would remain.
In addition to business executives helping a charity by playing in a golf event, they could benefit by making their own connections with key community and corporate leaders, entertain clients, reward their best employees and promote their own companies through the internet, signage on the course and through specialty advertising via promotional giveaway products.
According to Inc., four ways that supporting a charity is good for business:
- Promoting employee morale
- Increased marketing
- Tax deductions
- Giving back to the community
Ironically, the title sponsor for our 2021 Golf 4 Kids event recently used our conference center inside our facility. More than 75 of their employees, through social distancing, held three sessions on diversity. That event gave me the opportunity to thank them for their golf event contribution — that was devoted to sending needy children to summer camps.
I would like to believe The Salvation Army Golf 4 Kids event was a success this year because 136 golfers, 32 sponsors and other friends and supporters picked our golf event for all the reasons stated above and more! You might think about having a golf event this year.
Duke Haddad, Ed.D., CFRE, is currently associate director of development, director of capital campaigns and director of corporate development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis. He also serves as president of Duke Haddad and Associates LLC and is a freelance instructor for Nonprofit Web Advisor.
He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO since 2008.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis on education administration plus a dissertation on donor characteristics. He received a master’s degree from Marshall University with an emphasis on public administration plus a thesis on annual fund analysis. He secured a bachelor’s degree (cum laude) with an emphasis on marketing/management. He has done post graduate work at the University of Louisville.
Duke has received the Fundraising Executive of the Year Award, from the Association of Fundraising Professionals Indiana Chapter. He also was given the Outstanding West Virginian Award, Kentucky Colonel Award and Sagamore of the Wabash Award from the governors of West Virginia, Kentucky and Indiana, respectively, for his many career contributions in the field of philanthropy. He has maintained a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) designation for three decades.