By Jennifer Wemhoff, Communications Manager at GolfStatus.org – the leading event management platform for golf fundraisers.
When it comes to fundraising events, one of the biggest lessons learned from the pandemic years is the unique value of golf fundraisers. While many organizations initially leaned on golf tournaments to help them weather the storm of COVID-related restrictions, they soon discovered that golf events are a strategic, engaging, and lucrative option that belongs in an organization’s fundraising portfolio. At the same, those with existing charity golf tournaments looked for tools and efficiencies to cope with fewer staff and reduced budgets, and found solutions for long-term success.
Whether you’re kicking off a first-year golf fundraiser in 2023, reigniting a dormant golf event, or just looking to refresh your existing golf tournament, here are eight trends and predictions for golf fundraising in the year ahead.
1) Golf’s Popularity Will Remain Above Pre-Pandemic Levels
As predicted, the exponential growth that golf saw in 2020 and early 2021 has slowed. That being said, the sport is still more popular than it was pre-pandemic and golfers will remain eager to play in 2023. Golf fundraisers are often played in a scramble format, which allows golfers of all skill levels—from beginners to advanced players—to play in support of your mission. What’s more, golfers often tap into their personal and professional networks to field a team, which expands your tournament’s reach and donor pool and opens doors for further stewardship and partnerships.
2) Sponsors Will Look For New Options
Unlike many other event fundraisers, golf tournaments give sponsoring businesses exposure to a typically affluent audience. For example, golfers have a household income roughly twice the national average and a net worth of over $760,000. One in three golfers are top level managers and one in four golfers own their own business. Getting in front of this group is a priority for a variety of businesses and companies, like travel, sports and fitness, financial service providers, luxury brands and services, and more. It will be more important for golf tournament sponsorship packages to provide a ton of value and options. Digital sponsorships offer a ton of ROI and are mutually-beneficial for both the organizer and the sponsor: Sponsors get broad exposure and high visibility before, during, and after your tournament; organizers get an easy-to-manage sponsorship with no additional costs (uploading a logo versus designing, ordering, and installing signage). Tournament organizers that use the right management platform get access to a unique set of top-tier golf sponsorship opportunities, including technology sponsorship, leaderboard sponsorship, in-app hole sponsorships, and even TOUR-caliber pin flag sponsorships.
3) Organizers Will Focus on Add-ons & Experiences
The overall experience is what elevates a good charity golf tournament to an exceptional charity golf tournament that keeps golfers and sponsors coming back year over year. Fortunately, there are a ton of options to build-in revenue enhancers that add fun and excitement without incurring prohibitive costs. For example, adding hole-in-one or other contests (putting, closest to the pin, etc.) or on-course entertainment (long drivers, beat the pro, etc.) make the event more fun and more memorable for golfers. These add-ons also present new, premium sponsorship opportunities that give sponsors greater visibility while also covering the add-on’s hard costs, ultimately driving more revenue for your mission. Other easy add-ons include mulligans, raffle tickets, skins games, and auctions. Live scoring, where golfers enter their score on a mobile app that populates a live leaderboard, also gives your tournament a more professional feel and can even expedite finalizing scores at the conclusion of the event.
4) Tournaments Will Be Business As Usual
Thanks to technology and some creative (and relatively easy) modifications that reduced contact and large gatherings, golf tournaments were able to be held safely amid COVID precautions. Organizers have largely returned to pre-pandemic protocols, including shotgun starts and pre- and post-golf gatherings and events. This return to “normal” should continue in 2023 as more nonprofits look to jump into golf fundraising for the first time, resurrect old tournaments, and find ways to enhance an existing golf event. The technology that helped nonprofits figure out how to plan a golf tournament fundraiser in 2020 have proven to be helpful well beyond just eliminating touchpoints, but also in creating efficiencies, time and resource savings, more sponsor options, and a more professional tournament experience.
5) Online Registration Will Be Expected for Golf Tournaments
We live in an online world, and event registration is no different. Folks have come to expect an online registration option for fundraising events from galas to walk-a-thons and, of course, golf tournaments. Organizations looking to move their registration online will not only reach a larger audience, since promotion is as easy as sharing a simple link, but also enjoy less time dealing with paper forms, spreadsheets, checks, and receipts and more time securing sponsors, stewarding donors, and making their tournament unforgettable. Plus, collecting donor data becomes automated, ensuring no information is missing. It will also be important for event organizers to consider the unique information needs and details of a golf tournament, recognizing that not every event management provider can handle the nuances of a golf event. Golfers will look for easy ways to support the organizations they care about, so the ability to collect donations online is also super important for organizations to consider, as well as building donation asks into the day.
6) Third Party Events Will Become More Important
Nonprofits that empower corporate partners, businesses, passionate supporters, volunteers, or others to plan golf events on their behalf will benefit from a passive fundraising stream and, if done correctly, uniformly collecting valuable donor data. Organizations will look to make it easier for these third parties to launch golf fundraisers that benefit them by using a common technology platform that standardizes golf events across the board, while also making them easier to plan and execute.
7) Tech Will Work Together to Streamline & Simplify
Nonprofit leaders have a plethora of technology options to make life easier across their organizations, from event planning and implementation to donor management. The golf event will be no different, as event organizers look to tech tools to aid in prep and execution. Fortunately for nonprofits, these tools often work together and complement each other to streamline and simplify events from start to finish. For golf fundraisers, this will mean capturing golfer and sponsor information right at registration, plus robust reporting capabilities so donor data can be easily imported into the organization’s CRM for additional donor stewardship, event invitations, and donation asks.
8) Organizers Will Seek New Ways to Save Time & Money
Saving time, conserving financial resources, and finding efficiencies are still top of mind for busy nonprofit event organizers who often wear many hats. More and more, event organizers are looking for specific tools to run fundraising events like golf tournaments that won’t add a line-item expense. Whether it’s finding ways to seamlessly collaborate with volunteers or planning committees, moving registration online and utilizing an event website, exporting donor data, or simplifying sponsor onboarding, nonprofits will continue to lean on their tech stack to save time and money.
Planning a 2023 Golf Event?
GolfStatus’s event management and fundraising platform is built just for golf events, handling all the golf-specific details and freeing up organizers to connect with donors and sponsors. Through the Golf for Good program, qualifying nonprofits (and individuals, businesses, and other holding golf events that benefit them) can qualify for no-cost access to the GolfStatus platform. Sign up for a demo to get on board with GolfStatus for your 2023 event or email us directly at email@example.com.