How to Organize a Golf Tournament Fundraiser (8-Step Guide + Ideas)

How to Organize a Golf Tournament Fundraiser (8-Step Guide + Ideas)

golf tournament fundraisers

Golf tournament fundraisers are extremely popular in the nonprofit world. There are generally over one million golf outings a year. These events can bring in revenue from $5,000 to over $100,000, depending on the size of your organization. The success of these events is twofold. Supporters who attend this type of event are able and willing to spend large amounts on golf events, and these events can be pretty simple to run for an organization.

Your golf fundraiser can include as many or as few of the ideas, we will mention in this article. While things have changed in our world, people’s love of golf has not changed. We have included 8 steps on how to start your own golf fundraiser, along with a few extras to add to your event to raise more funds for your organization.

  1. Pick the Location and Date
  2. Set Your Fundraising Goal
  3. Recruit Enough Volunteers
  4. Create a Theme
  5. Decide on Other Fundraising Games
  6. Find Sponsors
  7. Promote your Event
  8. Find a Photographer

Bonus Resource –

8 Steps on How to Start a Golf Tournament Fundraiser

1. Pick the Location and Date

golf tournament fundraisers

Your team’s first job is to choose a location and date for your upcoming golf outing. Most event planners recommend you set your fundraising goals and budget before deciding on a site and date. But golf tournaments are a bit different because the highest cost of this type of event is the use of the golf course. Your location may also determine how many foursomes you can include and how much money you will be able to raise.

When determining where to hold your event, it is vital to find a location that does not make your event ticket price unattainable for most of your donors. Visit your donor database to determine how much people have been willing and able to donate to your organization for an idea of what prices seem reasonable. If you can find a location that will give your organization a discount, that is great, but since so many nonprofits hold golf outings, there is a lot of competition, so many golf courses do not see the need.

Another thing you may want to think about is whether golfers will want to play the course you have chosen. Golfers can be very particular about where they want to play. If you hold your golf outing at a private club that most people cannot play on their own, there may be a better chance that you attract high-income donors to your event. At the same time, the price for private clubs is understandably higher.

The date and time of your event will likely be determined by when the location of your choosing is available. It is best to research when neighboring nonprofits are holding their events and do your best not to choose the same date.

2. Set Your Fundraising Goal

Once you have decided on the location and have decided to hold your first golf outing, you need to develop a realistic fundraising goal and budget. Your fundraising office should decide what you need to raise from this event, but afterward, your team can play a more significant role in determining how to raise these funds.

Your organization’s past fundraising successes and failures should help determine how much a golf fundraiser will bring into your organization. Past events may also give you a better idea of how well silent and live auctions do with your donor base. There is a greater chance of success if you already have several donors who love the game and have shown interest in participating in your silent and live auctions.

Pro tip: Once you set a fundraising goal, make sure to add a Goal Meter to your donation page. Goal meter is the perfect way to keep your fundraiser focussed on the target, keep your team motivated towards the goal, and share your fundraising progress with donors and prospective donors. Goal meter can help create a sense of urgency when you are close to reaching your target!

2.1 Expenses

After the golf course, other expenses for the event will include:

  • Food and drinks
  • Signage

In addition to signs that promote your event and nonprofit, you can add signs at each hole. These signs can be used to promote your organization’s mission and gain sponsorships to raise more funds during the event.

  • Tickets
  • Advertising
  • Prizes

The cost of these can be as little or as much as you choose. Many golf tournaments include a fundraising dinner or lunch. The location you have selected should offer the cost of renting a room for this part of your event. Food should be part of this cost as well since most golf courses will not let you bring in outside caterers.

2.2 Revenue

Revenue for your event can also come from a number of different sources:

  • Ticket sales
  • Sponsorships
  • Silent and live auction
  • Games

3. Recruit Enough Volunteers

If your nonprofit decides to hold a golf tournament, it is essential not to do it yourself. It takes a lot of people to run a successful golf fundraiser.

how to run a golf tournament fundraiser

3.1 Planning team

It is best to develop a fundraising team of volunteers to help plan and run this type of event. There are several different directions your golf outing can go, and you probably have a few volunteers or more that have attended and even run golf outings themselves. Find at least five people to help plan this event, and put them in charge of specific areas of the planning process.

Pro tip: The first people to speak with should be your board members to see who would be interested in joining the planning committee. Board members should have connections to other leaders in your community. Thanks to these connections, board members can help sell tickets and find sponsors and auction items for your golf tournament.

3.2 Event volunteers

In addition to your planning committee, you will need even more volunteers on golf day. Volunteers are needed to run the games at each hole, help golfers around the course, and run your fundraising dinner and auctions. If you can find companies willing to offer volunteers for your event, take them up on their offer. It is best to get creative when recruiting volunteers for a large event like a golf outing. It will likely take significant time to recruit enough volunteers to help plan and run your golf tournament.

4. Create a Theme

As we mentioned earlier, there are many golf tournaments out there, so you may want to help yours stand out by creating a theme. All women golf fundraisers can prefer a chance to feel special and elite with a tea-party or spa theme. Golf fundraisers for the men can get their theme ideas from movies like Caddyshack or Tin Cup. Other theme ideas can be based on your nonprofit’s mission.

Finding a theme that best fits your organization can be fun and an excellent chance to show your creativity. It can also bring a bunch of new donors to your event who like the theme you have chosen.

For example, if you are an animal shelter thinking of hosting a golf tournament fundraiser within the community, why not make the event pet-friendly? While donors are busy playing, some of your volunteers can take care of the pets. Afterward, both donors and their pets can enjoy a fun-filled evening with dinner and healthy treats respectively. Alternatively, you can also offer your donors the chance to meet your shelter animals for a fulfilling experience.

5. Decide on Other Fundraising Games

Ticket sales will only cover the cost of the golf course and food, so it is necessary to include several different fundraising games and ideas in your event. If your event includes a dinner or lunch, you can choose this time to have a silent or live auction. These auctions can add hundreds or even a few thousand to your revenue, depending on the items. This is where your fundraising team really comes in handy. Before sending your team out to find auction items, give them a list of items that will have the best chance of raising money at your event.

Pro tip: Golfers love golfing at private clubs. If your event is being held at a private club, ask for a foursome donation to include in your auction. Be sure to ask around at all the other private clubs for foursome donations as well.

Here is a good example of an all-day golf tournament fundraiser that includes lunch, dinner, and fun add-ons like a silent auction.

golf tournament fundraising

Auctions are not the only way to raise additional funds during your golf outing. Your event can raise more money by adding a one-on-one contest or giving golfers the chance to buy unlimited mulligans. Later in this blog, we have added a list of different golf fundraising ideas to include in your golf tournament.

6. Find Sponsors

Another way to raise funds for your event is through sponsorships. Company sponsorships should be customized for each business you contact. If a large corporation is willing to support your nonprofit with a substantial donation, you can offer them a naming sponsorship. The entire event can be named the John B and Sons Golf Tournament for … Nonprofit. This allows the company additional advertising opportunities and social impact status in your community.

Other companies can support your golf event with a ‘hole’ sponsorship. This can be offered for a few hundred dollars in exchange for their name and logo being added to signage on a particular hole. Companies may pay more for hole sponsorships at the putting contest or hole-in-one holes. It is best practice to find a different sponsor for each hole. You can even offer the company the chance to set up a table at the hole to share their goodies.

7. Promote your Event

No one will come to your event if you do not advertise, so find ways to promote your event wherever possible.

7.1 Online campaign for ticket sales

One of the easiest ways to promote a golf tournament is by emailing your current donor base. Include an online sign-up form where they can purchase tickets and make donations. When holding a golf outing, an excellent way to promote the event is also with updates. Share a post every time you get a new ‘hole’ sponsor or receive an exciting auction item.

A great way to do it is to hold a crowdfunding campaign online. With an effective crowdfunding platform, you should get a simple donation form, an ‘updates’ tab, a donor appreciation wall, a goal thermometer, and more. These features help you get more registrations while also keeping the event in the mind of your donors.

Regular posts on your event will excite your donors and encourage more of them to sign up or donate to your organization. Even with a simple online campaign, you have a huge scope of raising funds through registration and extra donations. Here’s a simple but useful example

golf tournament fundraising

7.2 Printed tickets

If your golf tournament is the largest fundraiser for your organization, and it includes a dinner and auction afterward, you may want to sell printed tickets to make it more formal. This may also help when selling only the dinner tickets to those not interested in golf.

7.3 In-person invites

Finally, your fundraising team will be essential when selling tickets to your golf tournament. Most golf tournaments sell tickets as foursomes. The best way to sell these foursomes is by word of mouth and personal invites. It is a lot harder to say no to a friend or colleague than to an email or social media post. Ask your fundraising team to find at least the number of foursomes that cover your event’s cost. This way, your nonprofit’s budget does not suffer if the event is not as successful as you had hoped.

7.4 Social media and newsletters

Social media is the best way these days to create momentum around any upcoming event. You can create an event page for your fundraiser on Facebook. That’s the easiest way to share updates, invite your friends and family, see who’s interested in the event, and more. Do link your event to any online campaign you’re running or simply provide ways to buy tickets and make donations.

Sending newsletters is not new to you if you already have a monthly/weekly newsletter for your nonprofit. All you have to do is start marketing your golf tournament fundraiser as soon as possible. At least a month in advance. That gives people a good time to know about the event and feel encouraged to want to partake.

8. Find a Photographer

golf tournament fundraising

Golf tournaments provide great photo opportunities. This is especially true if your nonprofit has chosen a theme and event attendees are dressed up. Donors are having fun, your nonprofit is promoting its mission, and sponsors are advertising across the golf course. The chance of getting a usable photograph for your website and your sponsors’ websites is high. Past event photographs are also a great way to encourage more new attendees at upcoming golf events. Finding a professional photographer may be a reasonable cost to include in your event budget.

7 Exciting Golf Fundraising Ideas

Golf fundraising calls for creativity. While there are several fundraising games every nonprofit does at golf tournament fundraisers, you can stand out in the crowd if you look for ways to promote your mission or build on a theme.

1. Sell Mulligans

Mulligans are one of those things that pretty much every golf tournament offers. Mulligans are a second chance to swing, and golfers can buy as many as they want before or during the game. Selling mulligans is an excellent way to raise a little more funds with limited effort. You will need volunteers to sell these mulligans on the course.

Front & Back 9 Junior Golf Academy held its first annual golf tournament with a number of exciting programs and add-ons in place. They sold Mulligans for $5 each and even restricted the number of Mulligans each player could buy. It’s a great example of a simple campaign with a donation form dedicated to team and individual registrations.

golf tournament fundraiser ideas

2. Hole-in-one Contest

The excitement of having a hole-in-one cannot be topped. Your nonprofit can include a hole-in-one game on one or more holes. This will give players an even greater thrill with a cash prize if one of them gets a hole-in-one on that hole.

3. Putting Contest

Putting contests are another easy way to raise additional funds before or after your event. Your nonprofit can set up a game on the putting green for all golfers and their families to take part. People buy tickets to play this game, and the top three winners can win a prize.

4. Caddie Auction

As we have mentioned, it is essential to be creative when finding volunteers for your event. A Caddie Auction can be an excellent opportunity to recruit volunteers and raise additional funds at your next golf tournament. This idea is great for all women events where golfers are just there to have fun and feel pampered. You can find men in the community who will have fun with this idea. Ensure you have enough caddies for all teams and auction them off one by one before the game. A caddie auction can bring in a few thousand dollars if your event is large enough.

5. Virtual Golf Events

There is still a lot of fear about attending in-person events. If you are concerned with this or have a donor base that needs to stay safe, a virtual golf event may be right for your nonprofit. Virtual golf tournaments can be a chance for supporters to raise funds while doing their favorite past-time. You can choose a day and connect with courses in the area to give your supporters a discount, or you can ask golfers to create their own peer-to-peer campaign and ask for pledges.

The Hart Speech Foundation was founded with the sole purpose of helping stutterers get the resources and therapies they need for a better life. They conducted their first virtual golf tournament in 2020 amid the pandemic. The idea was to let donors play at any 70-72 golf course anywhere. There was a virtual cocktail/zoom session as well as a weekend getaway raffle contest to make the experience more exciting for the donors. Have a look at their donation form – it’s as simple and suggestive as one can possibly get.

golf tournament fundraiser ideas

6. Beat the Pro

Golfers can be very competitive. Your golf tournament can appeal to golfers in your area with the addition of a Beat the Pro hole. Ask the golf club for a professional golfer to stand at one hole at your event. Golfers can bet that they can beat the pro. If they win, they double their money. If the pro wins, your organization wins the bet.

Golfers who are not so competitive can pay the pro to hit their ball and improve their score. Your nonprofit will receive that payment as well.

7. Mini-golf tournaments

Golf tournaments may not be the right event for your organization. If that is the case, your nonprofit could hold a mini-golf tournament to get families and kids involved in your fundraising efforts. Sell tickets online to families or groups of friends. You can still sell sponsorships for each hole and hold hole-in-one and putting games to raise more funds. Mini golf fundraisers have grown in popularity.

Final Thoughts

how to organize a golf tournament fundraiser

Golf tournaments can be an excellent way to raise funds and promote your organization with a new donor base. Golf is not cheap. Donors who love the game and attend these events can generally afford to make more significant donations to your organization. Holding a golf tournament will take additional volunteers to plan and run the event. If you take the time to find the right volunteers before your golf tournament, you will have a greater chance of success.

Online fundraising has become an essential part of golf tournaments and other nonprofit events. Donorbox has affordable options for nonprofits of all sizes when raising funds online. If you are looking for more tips and fundraising resources, check out our blog.

Kristine Ensor is a freelance writer with over a decade of experience working with local and international nonprofits. As a nonprofit professional she has specialized in fundraising, marketing, event planning, volunteer management, and board development.

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