Meetings Canada


Planning a Golf Tournament Fundraiser

Driving for success.

By Tracey Brenneman, CMP

Golf is a good way to relieve stress when travelling.

Are you considering a golf tournament for your next fundraiser? When coordinated properly, a day of networking and competitive fun can be rewarding for both your organization and participants, leaving everyone to ask one question at the end of the day… have you set the date for next year’s tournament?

Location. Location. Location.
Look for a course with a strong reputation that will provide a challenging, yet not imposing, day of golf for all player levels. Pre and post tee-off networking events (buffet breakfast and/or awards reception) are also key elements to keep in mind when reviewing the space and layout of the clubhouse.

Time is money.
Show participants you value their time on the course, by staying on track. Use course marshals to encourage speed of play and consider implementing a maximum double-bogey rule to help keep less experienced foursomes moving steadily forward. If budget allows, leave one or two tees open. This enhances the speed of play.

Keep your eye on the budget ball.
Develop a tight budget and review it continually as changes occur. There is a tricky balance when you are spending money to raise money; however, sponsorship and registration targets must be hit before you give the green light on adding the extras.

Get the word out.
Look for opportunities at well-attended industry events when you can take advantage of a few minutes on the podium to announce the basic details of your event. More importantly, partnerships with strong media connections are valuable when announcing and branding an annual tournament.

It’s not just about the golfers.
If your sponsors are satisfied with the time and dollars spent showcasing their brand, they will return year after year, paving a smooth planning road ahead. Provide a variety of sponsor price points and benefits, along with a strong agenda of networking opportunities. Finally, listen to their post-tournament feedback for adjustments to make in the future.

The power of partnerships is priceless.
A strong planning committee and a collaborative relationship with your primary golf-course contact will prove to be invaluable from start to finish. Gather a group of four or five volunteers who bring their dedication and a variety of skill sets to the table and then let them do their job keeping meetings and those dreaded reply-all e-mails to a minimum.

Sweat the small stuff.
Look for ways to enhance everyone’s experience. A roving  “sponsored” cart handing out cool towels, sunscreen or lip balm is a nice touch for golfers. Make sure you spoil your sponsors by giving them a cooler loaded with beverages and snacks; a canopy for shade; and a runner to take them for a washroom break. These extras are all ways to make sure everyone saves the date again next year.

Eat, drink and meet Mary (or Larry).
If budget allows, start the day with a buffet breakfast (or lunch) that gives participants a chance to mingle before their day on the course. Place food and beverage stops strategically on holes that are not close to the clubhouse or the snack shop. Finally, choose a quality small-plates menu that encourages networking during the post-tournament reception, while satisfying a variety of tastes and dietary restrictions.

Communication is key.
From the pre-tournament announcements; website registration and media write ups to the on-site information distributed to both sponsors and players—upfront communication is not only expected, but required. Tight itineraries, clear-cut tournament rules and directional signage will all play a part in helping participants understand the plan and get the most out of their day.

Expect the unexpected.
Inclement weather, course issues and late cancellations are just a few of the less-desirable scenarios you might encounter on tournament day. Plan ahead for as much as possible and then remain flexible as you work with your partners to resolve the situation at hand quickly.

Have fun along the way and be proud of your efforts.
At the end of the day, you will have provided a terrific networking environment giving participants an afternoon away from the office, while raising funds for a worthy cause.

Tracey Brenneman, CMP, is the Director of Golf for Site Canada.

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