How to Organize a Golf Tournament Fundraiser [Steps + Ideas]
A golf tournament is one of the most lucrative fundraising events for nonprofits. A successful golf tournament fundraiser can raise $5,000 to $100,000 in revenue. These events can also be pretty simple to run. In this article, we’ve included eight steps to start your own golf fundraiser, along with a few extra ideas to add to your event.
As per ZIPPIA’s latest golf statistics, 6 million people in the age group 18 to 34 play golf. And US golfers are said to have an average household income of $125,000. What does it mean for your organization? A successful golf tournament fundraiser can easily bring 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, 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.
Before we dive into the steps, let us go through the potential a golf tournament holds for nonprofit fundraising.
Golf Tournaments for Nonprofit Fundraising
A golf tournament is one of the most lucrative fundraising events for nonprofits. You’ll have countless chances to raise money through event registration, add-ons like raffles and auctions, sponsorships, and in-person donations.
For more flexibility to your supporters, you can also host a virtual golf tournament fundraiser. In that, your players can play from any golf course anywhere and you can end the event with a virtual session enjoying raffle contests and fun games together. This also cuts down on your event budget. But make sure you have a way to accept donations during your virtual sessions. For example, Donorbox donation forms can be easily embedded into your virtual event sessions on Airmeet to enable easy giving!
There are a few golf tournament types you can try with your event –
A scramble is great if you have more beginners participating in your event.
Stroke plays are for your organization if you’re going to have a large donor base coming to your event.
Match plays are apt if you’d like for donors to play in teams.
Try a Best ball event if you want beginners to also have fun playing.
Whatever your choice, be sure to devise a pricing strategy for your event tickets that helps generate the most revenue from this event. Use an event-ticketing system that allows you to add multiple ticket tiers for sponsorships, individual and team entry, raffle tickets, and more.
Donorbox Events lets you create an event page including a powerful ticketing form. You can add unlimited ticket tiers, ticket quantity, a deadline, tax-deductibility of ticket tiers, and more to your page. Our ticketing forms are also embeddable on your website. Your purchasers automatically receive a receipt along with a digital copy of their tickets. Plus, you’ll be able to manage your purchasers and ticket information at the background.
Here’s an example of a successful golf tournament fundraiser created using Donorbox Events. They raised over $25,000 in ticket sales with this event. Click here to take a complete look at it including the ticket tiers.
8 Steps on How to Start a Golf Tournament Fundraiser
1. Pick the location and date
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 thermometer to your donation page. It’s the perfect way to keep your fundraiser focused 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!
Check out this live example from LDAC Foundation’s golf sponsorships page where they added the goal thermometer to encourage more gifts for their annual golf classic.
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.
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.
Revenue for your event can also come from a number of different sources:
Silent and live auction
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.
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 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.
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 added a list of different golf fundraising ideas to include in your golf tournament.
Take a look at this great example from Just Live, Inc. that includes raffles, an open bar and music, as well as prizes for putting contests, hole-in-1, helicopter drop, and more. You should also check out their ticket pricing strategy which makes participation affordable while also creating sponsorship opportunities.
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.
Check out this example of an event ticketing form on Donorbox, which includes multiple sponsorship tickets including ‘hole’ and ‘hole-in-one’ sponsorships, ‘lunch’ sponsorships, and more.
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 ticket sales
One of the easiest ways to promote a golf tournament is by creating an event page online and adding your ticket levels to it. It’s easy to share your online event page – all you need to do is add the link to your social media bio or your email messages to help people buy tickets easily.
The first step would be to choose an online event-ticketing solution that will help you create an event page and a ticketing form in simple steps.
For example, with Donorbox Events, you can get started in just a few minutes. You can add your event details with images and videos to your event page. Your ticketing form is fully customizable with unlimited tiers, ticket quantity, tax-deductible amounts, and more. You can input the fair market price and the tax rate to calculate the tax-deductibility of each ticket tier automatically. This form can also be embedded on your website with a copy-paste code.
Your ticket purchasers can make payments using their cards or Apple Pay. You will be able to refund the ticket amounts in full if required. They also receive a payment receipt with a digital copy of their tickets automatically after the purchase.
Plus, Donorbox Events also lets you set a deadline for your event to create a sense of urgency among potential buyers.
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 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 to Raise More Money
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. Unless you have a strategy in place to sell online tickets for mulligans -and raise more! The below event-ticketing form example includes a dedicated ticket tier to sell mulligans for their annual mini-golf tournament.
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 in. 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’s 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.
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.
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 successfully. Or you can go virtual and use a tool like Donorbox to easily embed your donation form on your virtual event-hosting platform like Airmeet to raise additional donations during the event.
However you decide to host your golf tournament fundraisers, remember Donorbox is there to help you! Our Events feature makes it simple for you to set up an online event page, sell tickets, manage your purchasers’ data, and more. In addition, we also offer a number of other powerful products to elevate your fundraising and donor management efforts – explore them on our website.
Want more tips and ideas for your fundraising events? Find hundreds of them at the Donorbox Nonprofit Blog. We also have other important nonprofit-related articles to help your leadership grow the organization with better strategies. Subscribe to our newsletter – and we’ll send a collection of our best resources (blogs, podcasts, webinars) to your inbox every month!
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.