Golf Tournament Fundraiser

Looking for tips on planning a charity golf tournament? There are many factors to consider, so I’ll stick to the main ones for this article. The success of your charity golf event revolves around maximizing player turnout, increasing pledge sizes, obtaining sponsored prizes, and choosing the right tournament play format.

Player Turnout
Your success depends on how many players your golf event draws and how actively you have your players solicit sponsors for their own rounds.

To maximize turnout, you need to get major publicity for your event. That means putting out multiple press releases, getting local media coverage from newspapers and television stations, and placing ads in the sports section of the local paper.

For the best results, put your press releases out through PR Web. Appoint a spokesperson to handle all media contacts and follow-up. For more tips, read my article on fundraising publicity.

Charity Pledges
The key is getting each player to collect a certain amount of pledges. I recommend a minimum of $100 per player in pledges. I’ve also played in tournaments where that number was $250 per player.

Obviously, you want to motivate the participants to raise as much money as possible. Some groups offer incentives for the top pledge getters. Others seek corporate sponsorships for that firm’s players.

Top Golfer Prizes
Generally speaking, you’ll draw more golfers if you have great prizes for longest drive, closest to the hole, hole in one, lowest team score, lowest actual score, and best adjusted score (handicap).

You solicit local merchants to sponsor those prizes. Work with an insurance-related prize company for things like the hole-in-one contest. That way you can offer a bigger prize for a much lower outlay.

Aim to get 100 golfers (25 foursomes) and your small group could easily raise $10,000 or more. Larger turnouts will net even more with some charity golf tournaments drawing 500 golfers competing for big prizes.

Obviously, bigger pledges, more golfers, corporate sponsorships, and massive publicity can work wonders for the bottom line of your charity golf tournament. With the right combination of these factors and good advance planning, you can raise $75,000 or more for a charitable cause.

Tournament Play Formats

For those who are participating in your charity golf and fund-raising tournament, it helps to pick a format they are familiar with. The three most common formats are scramble, best ball, and alternate shot.

This format usually is played with groups of four, but it certainly can be played with more than four players, or as few as two.

In a scramble, each player tees off on each hole. The best of the tee shots then is selected, and all players play their second shot from that spot. advertisement

The process is repeated until the ball is holed. Keep in mind that when playing a scramble, you can drop your ball within one club length from where the chosen ball lies, but no closer to the hole.

Best ball
This format usually is for four-person teams. Each player on the team plays his or her own ball throughout the hole and the round. On each hole, the lowest score among the four players counts as the team score.

There can be two best ball formats, where you must count two balls on each hole. The more balls that count helps keep all of the players involved in the fate of the team.

Alternate shot
This format usually involves two-person teams and is a competition where the team alternates who hits each shot.

The first player hits the drive, the second player hits the second shot, the first player hits the third shot, and so on until the ball is holed. The team also alternates who hits the drive on each hole, so the same player doesn’t hit every drive.

How To Write Fundraising Letters

Fundraising Letter Writing Tips

  1. Good news – Always start the letter with a series of good news bullets to build momentum and make entire letter entertaining and informative.
    – Use foreshadowing to tease your reader and keep him or her reading.
    – Create a “widow” at the end of the first page (a thought that’s finished on page two)
    – Make your reader turn the page.
  2. Describe what you want to do next
    – Tell what you’re going to do.
    – Why you’re going to do it.
    – How you’re going to do it.
    – What results you expect.
  3. List suggested contribution amounts
    Use even numbers in graduated amounts
    – Offer a monthly auto charge credit card option ($10 a month is $120 a year)
    – Include a blank line for write-in amounts
  4. Remind readers that their contribution is your budget
    – Your successes have been possible because of their past contributions
    – Thank them!
  5. Use P.S.’s for skimmers
    – May titillate skimmers and get them to read the entire letter.
    – To create a sense of urgency.

Sample Donation Request

DateDear Name of sponsor,

Dear ,On date of event, I will join hundreds of others to help end the devastating effects of multiple sclerosis by riding/walking/skating in the MS event name. By making a pledge on my behalf, you are supporting research and local services to those affected with this unpredictable disease.

Give details – Tell your story: I have a personal stake in this particular event. My dad has MS. Not only do I want to help him, but also the many others diagnosed with MS. MS is a disease that affects the central nervous system. Some symptoms of MS may include loss of balance, impaired vision and hearing, fatigue, muscle weakness and, in some, paralysis. Even simple everyday living skills become increasingly difficult. Everyone is affected differently by these symptoms.

My goal is to raise at least specify dollar amount this year, which represents $1 for every person with MS registered with our local MS Chapter.  Please help me reach that goal with your pledge. Your donation is tax deductible. If you wish, you may mail all or part of your payment amount today in the self-addressed stamped envelope enclosed with this letter.

Otherwise, I will collect your pledge after the event. Please make your check payable to the National MS Society. My deadline to get my pledges in is deadline date. Following the event, I will send out a brief recap of the MS event name to all my sponsors.

Thank you in advance for your support. Please call me if you have any questions or comments about the MS event name. I can be reached at phone number.


Your name


How To Write Fundraising Letters

Fundraising Events – Part 3

In the previous articles in this series about fundraising events, I’ve talked about the ongoing search for fundraiser event ideas that:

1) are easy to do
2) don’t cost a lot
3) make a lot of money

It’s also been previously mentioned that there are no perfect fundraising events, i.e. one that fits into all three categories.

This article follows with further recommendations for three events that fall into one or more of these categories.

Fundraising Events That Are Easy To Do
One fundraising event that’s easy to do is staging your own amateur musical revue.

For special events fund raising financial success, it’s a must to get a support package from a supplier that includes just about everything you need.

A company called Christopher Allen Productions, aka CAP Follies, supplies all the music, fantastic costumes, scripts, and even a director!

Staging an amateur musical revue is a unique, exciting way to accomplish your fund raising goals. A CAP Follies is great for commerce, community relations, and discovering the “hidden talents” of participants!

First-timers are often surprised not only by the amount of income a fundraising event like CAP Follies can generate, but also by the positive impact the project has on the entire community.

You need only provide contestants, a place for the performance, and an audience. Among the theme choices are Box Office Review, Hooray For Follywood, Barnum’s Animals, and Let’s Get This Show On The Road.

These type of fund raising events bring out the ham in everyone. People look forward to repeating these each year.

Find out more at CAP Follies
Events That Don’t Cost A Lot
Among the fundraising events that don’t cost a lot of money is hosting “A Night At The Races.”

You re-create the atmosphere of being at the racetrack with an all-inclusive fundraising event package.

Rental includes horse races on video or 16mm films, official racetrack programs, wagering tickets, daily doubles, play money & a complete instructional guide.

Your guests wager “funny money” on the races and receive a “drawing ticket” or additional “funny money” if they win a race.

At the end of your event, a drawing or an auction is held for prizes.

Volunteers from your organization solicit prize donations from local merchants. You offer food and refreshments and make a profit on the “donation fee” charged to attend your event.

Additional revenue can be accomplished by printing your own Race Programs and selling advertising space. Another interesting idea is to “Sponsor-A-Horse” for prize drawings.

You have a choice of selecting Thoroughbred Racing, Harness Racing or Greyhound Racing in the desired racing format.

These “Racing Kits” contain enough supplies for an audience of 200 people to play the basic six (6) races within each Standard Basic Kit.

Find out more at A Night At The Races

Events That Make A Lot Of Money
A good example of a fundraising event that makes a lot of money is hosting a Bed Race.

A Bed Race involves rolling beds down a local street and having local businesses, organizations, and clubs sponsor the beds.

Teams consisting of 5 members race in two-bed heats until the winning bed is determined.

You’re probably thinking that this fundraiser sounds like a bad fit for all three categories – it would be an awfully large amount of work, cost a ton of money, and probably wouldn’t even recoup expenses.

Well, you’re way off base and I’ll tell you why.

First, there’s a company called Bed Race USA that has this event down to an art, if not a science.

They provide the entire package – everything you need to host a fundraising event bed race.

You get a detailed 100-page manual, the racing beds, event banners, event t-shirts, and even a videotape to show to prospective sponsors.

Second, Bed Race USA even comes to your community to help you solicit major sponsors and bed race contestants.

Not only that, they come four different times – 120, 90, 30, and 7 days prior to the event.

Your organization is still responsible for various logistical tasks, but everything that you need to do is spelled out in the manual.

Third, this type of fundraising event lends itself to massive amounts of  free publicity, particularly if you enlist the help of a local radio station, newspaper, or TV station as a participant/broadcaster. It’s also a real good fit for an AIDS or cancer fundraiser.

Find out more at Bed Race USA
Your group can make a lot of money when all the ingredients to a successful fundraising event are not only present, but pre-mixed and ready to bake to perfection.

That’s all there’s room for in this article. Look for further follow-on articles in the fundraising events series in the near future.

And of course, you can always read all about it in my book, Fundraising Success!

Fundraising Ideas

Fundraising Events

Fundraising Events – Part 1

Among the fundraising event questions that I hear constantly are:

“Which fundraising events don’t cost a lot?”
“What ones are easy to do?”
“Which ones make the most money?”

And what’s the answer to those three questions?

It depends!

That’s right. There is no one answer, no “one size fits all” solution.

Fundraising events vary tremendously
These type of fundraisers will vary greatly in cost, complexity, and results – based on a host of factors that are often not easy to control.

Events that don’t cost a lot will often require more volunteer time to put them together.

Ones that are easy to do are often not the biggest money makers.

And, sometimes you need a crystal ball to figure out which ones would produce the biggest net return.

So, where does that leave us in our search for answers to our three questions?

It leaves us with a set of options or choices for event-based fundraisers.
What fundraising events don’t cost a lot?
Generally, the fundraisers with the lowest cost are those that involve direct labor in exchange for a donation or contribution.

Low-cost examples include the volunteer car wash or the charity bike ride.

Here, you want to use the “sweat equity” approach – volunteers sweat in return for equity for your nonprofit organization.

The key is to get a large number of volunteers who, in turn, bring along multiple donations.

Revenue is generated in proportion to the publicity effort for the event, done either in advance — as in the case of the bike-a-thon — or done at the same time (street-side signs, etc.) — for the car wash.
Which fundraising events are easy to do?
The events that are easiest to conduct are the ones that are fun and of short duration. Examples include a group dinner, a “make believe” beauty pageant, or a mystery dinner theater.

Often, the largest part of the job is generating a good turnout. Communicating your need is central to all fundraising efforts, but for an event, it’s critical.

By making your event fun to attend and short in duration, you make it more attractive to potential supporters. The three types mentioned above are easy to put together:

Group Dinner
A group dinner involves organizing a group meal, usually at a restaurant although it can be potluck/buffet style as well.

Many restaurants are glad to host your get together and provide standard meal service while “rebating” back to your nonprofit organization roughly 15% of the total tab for your group’s meals.

Beauty Pageant
A “make believe” beauty pageant, such as that offered in the “Queen Almost for a Day” package, is another way to have fun and raise funds.

Your group needs only a location, some volunteer contestants (including men), and a paying crowd to cheer on their laughable favorites.

Mystery Dinner Theater
Inviting everyone to a Mystery Dinner Theater creates another fun evening that produces a nice amount of revenue for your group.

Line up a large meeting room at a local restaurant, recruit your thespians from among the gregarious types in your community and you’re ready to go.

Pre-packaged scripts are available from several suppliers. See our listings for fundraising event suppliers for details.
Which fundraising events make the most money?
Your fundraisers will be at their most profitable when you generate a massive turnout combined with a willingness of your patrons to open their pocketbooks.

Examples include school-based Athlet-a-thons and exclusive black tie charity auctions.

These types of special events require a lot of effort to promote, coordinate, and conduct. Many layers of volunteers are needed to staff all the positions for these two types of fundraisers.

A key aspect to the revenue generating power of special events like auctions and Athlet-a-thons is a strong personal tie-in.

With an auction, people will spend more money than they ordinarily would because there are both bargains and tax deductions involved.

With a school-based Athlet-a-thon, the personal tie-in is a direct sponsorship of a child’s achievements.

The personal connection is the strongest motivator for opening the pocketbook to its fullest extent. Always make sure to include that aspect when putting your plan in place.

In the next article in this series, I’ll offer some specific advice on suppliers that have pre-packaged offerings for event-style fundraisers.

Fundraising Ideas

Fundraising Events

Free Fundraisers

When your youth group needs to raise money quickly, you need a fast free fundraiser that you can rely on to generate the necessary revenue. The amount you make on these free fundraisers will depend in part on how much time you have before-hand to prepare, but will also depend on how well you execute your plan.

These time tested favorites are great quick projects to raise some fast cash:

  • Car Wash
  • Yard Cleanup
  • Community Cleanup

Car Wash Fundraiser

Car washes have proven to be great fundraisers in virtually every community. All you need are willing volunteers, a high-traffic location with good visibility, and some attention getting signs.

You can put a car wash fundraiser together on short notice. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Line up a location with good main road frontage
  • Ensure it has water access
  • Assemble supplies list – hoses, buckets, wash towels, dry towels, squeegees
  • Assign each volunteer an item from the supplies list
  • Make 8-10 poster board signs in high-contrast colors
  • Arrange your volunteers in 2-hour shifts
  • Wash cars for six hours (Saturday preferred)
  • Have dual lines so you can wash two at once

Your car wash fundraiser’s success will of course depend on the weather. If you can wash 12 cars an hour (one every 10 minutes in each line), you can easily raise in excess of $500 in one day.

Remember to put together a quick flyer that includes the reason why you’re raising funds and clearly states the price. You can even offer some extra services such as Armor-All tire treatment for an additional fee.

Alternatively, you can advertise a free car wash and just ask for donations for your cause. Often, this can raise more cash than stating a specific price, because people will see a group of volunteers working hard and having a good time, and may part with their money more easily.

Keeping safety in mind, be sure to get volunteers to hold and wave signs toward passing traffic, not just volunteers to wash cars. If you have time, advertise your car wash event in the local newspaper, or by posting signs a day or two in advance.

Yard Cleanup

A yard cleanup fundraiser is extremely fast and easy to put together. Simply create a set of instructions for your group detailing what to offer, what to say, and how much to charge.

Like most fundraisers, the target market is family, friends, and neighbors. Depending on the age of your participants, your offerings can range from simple lawn care all the way up to mulching flower beds or pruning tree limbs. In many climates, autumn is a great time to do this fundraiser, because leaf clearing is always a needed service during those months.

Create a flyer describing your fundraiser and clearly list your prices for the various cleanup options. Assign a fundraising quota to each participant.

Offer some individual and group performance bonuses. There’s nothing like a team pizza party or passes to amusement attractions to motivate a youth sports group.

Community Cleanup

A community cleanup, also known as a trash bag fundraiser, performs a valuable community service while also providing a significant revenue opportunity. Organizing a community cleanup project is a way to raise funds and send a positive message about your group at the same time.

This type of one day or weekend fundraising event is very similar to the Athlet-A-Thon or Fun-A-Thon concept. Here your group’s participants solicit pledges from the usual suspects – family, friends, and neighbors. Have local businesses donate trash bags and recruit parents and relatives with trucks to haul what you collect.

Pledges are tied to a specific attainment goal such as the number of pounds of trash collected or the number of road miles cleaned of debris. You’ll need to create a one-page overview of your cleanup program and a pledge signup sheet.

It works best if your overview specifies a suggested range for donations, say anywhere from a penny to a dime a pound for a large project. An amazing amount of garbage can be collected from a local stream or illegal dumping area, so it’s not a bad idea to also put a maximum limit on a pledge amount of $20.

Have local businesses donate trash bags and recruit parents and relatives with trucks to haul what you collect.

Do the math and you’ll be surprised at how much money you can generate. Assuming 50 participants, each of whom has five pledges of a penny a pound, if you collect a ton of garbage, your group will raise $100 per participant or $5,000.

That’s not bad money for a fast fundraiser! You’d be surprised at how easy it is to collect a ton of garbage.

Each of these fundraisers is fast, easy to put together, and a reliable revenue generator for your group. As with any event, an adult should be in attendance for safety purposes.