By GolfStatus.org – an event management platform specifically for golf fundraisers.
While social distancing restrictions are beginning to loosen, large fundraising events like galas and auctions are likely still on pause for the rest of the year. Fortunately, golf tournaments continue to provide a safe option for in-person fundraisers, with their outdoor setting and innate social distancing. Fall is also an excellent time of year for golf events—weather and course conditions are favorable, golf facilities are easier to book, and folks are anxious to hit the links before the winter months.
So whether you postponed your spring tournament, are kicking off a brand new golf event, are considering adding a fall golf tournament to your fundraising portfolio, or are looking for ways to improve a long-standing tradition, here are eight best practices to consider for your fall golf fundraiser.
1) Launch an event website.
An event website is an easy way to set your fall event up for success. You can promote your event to a broad audience through low-cost digital channels like social media, your organization’s website, and email campaigns with just a link. You’ll want to make sure the website has online registration built in so golfers and sponsors can register with a few clicks. And since the website serves as the homepage for the tournament, you can use it to quickly and easily communicate any changes or updates.
2) Upgrade to online registration.
Thanks to technology, there’s no need to spend hours processing mailed registration forms, checks, receipts, and entering information in endless spreadsheets. Upgrading to online registration eliminates many of the time-consuming pain points of planning a golf tournament. Not only is it easier to manage player and sponsor information, but when folks can commit to participating in your event with just a few clicks, they’re substantially more likely to do so. You’ll want a provider that includes secure payment processing, plus an easy to use web-based platform where registrant information is stored to stay organized and collaborate with your planning team with up-to-the-minute data.
3) Adapt the tournament as necessary.
It seems likely that social distancing will linger well into the fall, which means you’ll need to make a few simple modifications so people can gather safely. Nonprofit event organizers employed a number of ways to keep people safe and reduce contact at golf fundraising events, including switching to tee times from a shotgun start, shifting to entirely online registration, eliminating paper scorecards and using mobile scoring, limiting golfers to one per cart (or two from the same household), and skipping post-tournament gatherings. The good news is regardless of these changes, the primary focus of the event remains the same—golf and your cause. People understand that modifications must be made, and most are appreciative of your efforts to prioritize health and safety. It’s important to communicate with registrants ahead of the event so they know what to expect in terms of the day’s events and any changes.
4) Sell digital sponsorships.
When event organizers were forced to pivot in-person events to virtual offerings in 2020, they quickly realized the value of digital sponsor exposure. Without the high-end sponsorships that are typically tied to pre- and post-tournament gatherings, organizations turned to digital sponsorships to fill the void. As it turns out, digital sponsorships provide premium, high-value exposure for businesses and offer a lucrative fundraising opportunity for nonprofits. Organizations can sell top-tier sponsorships that provide broad exposure on the event website, mobile scoring app, and live leaderboards that deliver impressions before, during, and after the event. Digital exposure comes with essentially no overhead costs, making these sponsorships low risk and easy to manage, especially with technology that has built-in digital exposure and allows for custom sponsorship packages.
5) Add a virtual round.
The past year has demonstrated the need to plan for multiple scenarios. Given the current unknowns about what fall might look like, it’s prudent to give yourself options for your golf fundraiser. One simple way to do so is to add a virtual round to a traditional in-person event. This lets folks who might not be comfortable with gathering the opportunity to play on their own time for your cause. A virtual round functions as a built-in back up plan. Ideally, both the virtual and in-person events can be played. But if conditions warrant the cancellation of the in-person round, the virtual event can go forward without interruption. The right technology makes it easy to add a virtual element that comes with little to no risk. What’s more, a virtual option is also an opportunity to grow your event if the in-person event sells out.
6) Offer live-scoring and leaderboards.
Not only does live-scoring eliminate the need for paper scorecards, thus eliminating a touchpoint, but it upgrades the tournament experience. With a user-friendly platform, golfers can enter their scores on a mobile app with just a few taps, keeping them focused on the game and enjoying their round. Scores automatically sync to the live leaderboards, so anyone can follow the standings in real-time. At the end of the event, there’s no need to wait around for the golf professional staff to calculate the final scores; they’re already in the Tour-caliber leaderboards. If you go the virtual route, whether it’s an extended play tournament or multi-course outing, live scoring is critical. You’ll need aggregate leaderboards to pull it off and a live scoring platform that can handle it reliably. Plan to share the leaderboards with supporters to keep them engaged during the event and even solicit direct donations—choose a live scoring provider that has the ability to collect donations. Live leaderboards are also a premium digital sponsorship opportunity.
7) Collect the data.
Donor data is a veritable gold mine for a nonprofit’s fundraising efforts. It’s more than just basic contact information—quality, complete donor data gives organizations insights into how and why donors are supporting their cause. Because golf outings attract high-capacity donors, along with those from their networks that fill their teams, it’s crucial that this information gets into your CRM. This process doesn’t have to be time-consuming or a hassle. Online registration makes it simple. When golfers and sponsors submit their information through your event website, it’s collected in one place, making it easy to track, manage, and strategically use it to facilitate networking and steward donors. After the tournament, you’ll want a simple way to export this data and seamlessly add it to your CRM to follow up with participants to make meaningful and timely asks.
8) Hit the easy button with technology.
If you’ve been toying with the idea of a fall golf event or even if you’ve already started planning the tournament, hit the easy button and let technology do the work for you to attract more golfers and sponsors and raise more money for your mission. You’ll save time and put on a professional event that brings in dollars and lays the foundation for additional donor stewardship.
Get Started With Golf for Good
The right technology is crucial to a lucrative golf tournament fundraiser. GolfStatus’s full-featured golf event management platform streamlines the process with tons of time-saving features and fundraising tools. Nonprofit organizations can qualify for access to GolfStatus’s technology at no cost, including a free event registration website. Get started here or get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Whether you’re taking the golf event virtual, planning a hybrid tournament, or modifying a traditional outing to minimize contact, planning a golf fundraiser in the age of social distancing requires some forethought and unique considerations. This free whitepaper, How to Hold a Golf Fundraiser in 2021, outlines where to start, what to consider, and how to hold a safe and successful outing in 2021.