Monday, May 08, 2006

Charity Golf Sponsors: Learn How To Run One Before Asking For Money

There are a couple of people going around the country talking up how to find sponsors and volunteers for charity golf tournaments.  Most of what they have to say is pretty much common scene organized for people who don’t want to take the time to think.

Now these guys and gals are conducting online teleconferencing mini-seminar expos√© symposium workshops on how to find sponsors for a charity golf tournament.  Again, they are close, but no way close enough to win the cigar…

First of all, there are way too many people out there who think that a golf tournament is the best way to raise money for their charity.  It is NOT!  Just because you love to play golf, or your business is full of golfers, doesn’t make organizing a golf tournament a no brain-er.  And don’t think that the PGA Professionals of the golf course (or in some cases, the golf course management companies non-PGA professional) to organize it for you.  They will set up play for the course, but that is just a flash in the pan on the amount of time it takes to organize a FAIR golf tournament, not to mention the extra time it takes to put on a Good golf tournament, and the full time effort it takes to put on a very good golf tournament.  Not ask how much time it takes to put on an Excellent Charity Golf Tournament.  Lets just say that if you have time to read this article you don‘t have the time needed to organize an Excellent Charity Golf Tournament.

Most of these seminars provide some simplified process that outlines that all you have to do is send a letter and make a phone call to a few large companies to be sponsors and the event’s bank account fills up.  It Ain’t Gonna Happen!

Since I sat in the chair at one of the largest corporations in the world and saw the number of people contacting us for charity golf tournament sponsor support I can truly tell you that it is going to take offering an outstanding charity golf tournament before these companies are going to even look at what you offer.  No matter what you put in the packages.  Believe me, I know…

All large companies are getting hit by charity groups who want to ride the wave of popularity of golf.  And only a few know how to make it work.

Now, you are saying, Duke, you are in the business to show people how to play business golf and you have one of the best charity Pro-AMs going in the Dallas area, why are you saying this?  Well it is simple, there are some very badly run charity golf outings… No, wait; there our thousands of badly run charity golf tournaments out there that are making it rough for the good charity golf tournaments.   How, the bad charity golf outings are turning the charity golfers to playing in any of them since their impression is that ALL charity golf events are like the bad one.   What makes them bad is the organizers have no idea how to organize a charity golf tournament.  Some of the organizing groups do not even know how to play golf. 

The expectations for a charity golf tournament are MUCH higher than just organizing a golf tournament.  These groups who are not experienced need to reconsider what they are doing until they know what they are doing.

Businesses today are being hit up for donations from everyone. And I am not the first to say that these companies do not have bottomless pockets of money.  

So, my message here is, if you are thinking of organizing a charity golf tournament for your cause, or you have a charity golf tournament  that has to be rebuilt each year because the golfers will not come back, then I recommend that you look to some other activity or event to organize to raise the funds for your cause.  Tough love is talking here, but man; do some of these groups need some tough love talk.

Now, I am out to provide solutions.  Thus my business name, Innovative Business Golf Solutions.  And here is what I have to offer.  (Which I talk about in much more detail in my soon to be released book How to Organize a REAL Good Charity Golf Tournament (working title))

  1. First of all, do not fall for other people suggesting that you put on a charity golf tournament to raise money because they saw where another one raised $1million.  If you do not have a clue on what goes into organizing a charity golf tournament then do not try it until you do. 
  2. Don’t think because you have played in hundreds of charity golf tournaments you can organize one.  Believe me, that is the way I started and it was not until I was mentored by the PGA and placed on the planning committee for a Senior PGA event did I start to see part of the picture. There is much more that goes on behind the scenes and before you got to the golf tournament than you will EVER imagine.  And those things done before the tournament, if not done correctly, will cause the event to suck air.
  3. Consider finding another golf tournament to combine your cause with theirs.  More than likely sometime during the year there is another golf tournament that has been organized that is for the same cause.  Find it and bring your effort together.  Believe me, the tournament director will love you if your can bring your few teams into their event to fill it.  Ask if you can be on the planning committee.  Remember, you will not know if this is going to be a good tournament or not, so take this as part of your training if the tournament sucks
  4. Getting plenty of golf savvy volunteers is the key.  Again, these seminars mention this, but do not put enough emphasis on the importance of having plenty of volunteers who know golf.  You can get plenty of volunteers to help, but if they don’t have a clue of what goes on in a golf tournament then you are in trouble before you start.  What do you do if you cannot get golf savvy volunteers; I suggest you spent three hours the day before the golf tournament and had have a training class for all volunteers.  IF they don’t show for training then you are in trouble again.  So offer them a reason to come.  I will leave that for you to figure out.  I have to leave something for my book.
  5. And finally, don’t go asking for sponsor support until you have a very good to excellent golf tournament to offer.  Saying that you are going to have 140 players does not cut it with businesses now days. Especially, if all 140 players hate the tournament because it is poorly organized.  That will not reflect very good on the sponsors.  Businesses today are pretty savvy when it comes to sponsoring charity golf tournaments.  Obviously they have a few to choose from and most of them don’t just look at the cause or the exposure, they look at the quality.  And if your event is sucking air, they are not going to want to be involved.

Now, I talked about all of the things you need to think about or do before considering starting your own charity golf tournament.  These guys who are traveling around telling you how to get sponsors for a charity golf tournament have the cart before the horse.  You better know how to organize a GOOD (and I mean a very good tournament) before thinking about asking for sponsor’s money.

Over 80% of the charity golf tournaments that are played this year will have these common problems that will cause them to collapse, if not end up owing more money that they made:

  1. TOO Many players for the golf course.  The number one Charity Golf Killer… Not only does this one mistake kill the charity event it puts a real bad taste in charity golfers to want to play in another charity golf tournament because NOW their impression is that ALL charity golf tournaments are bad.  The reason these bad charity golf tournaments put so many players on the course is that they reduced their margins for profit to negative to get their entry fees below other charity golf tournament’s entry fees.  Golfers who play in charity golf tournaments do not fall for the price being cheap tactic. To get to a breakeven or to make a profit for the charity they have to put two to three (and some I have been to have put four) teams starting on each hole of the course.  Then, it the weather is bad the course makes the carts stay on the paths will make this event a 7 hour ordeal when it should only take 4 and half hours.   The ‘Meat Market’ charity golf tournament will cause you to fold up shop quickly.
  2. Rubber Chicken for Prime Rib price.  The number two charity golf killer…Bad Food!  Face it, every golf tournament has people who play for the prizes and the glory of the win so make sure you got some cool stuff to provide the winners.  So the majority of the players who play are not going to win so you better have something for them.  And Good FOOD is the best prize for them.  If you throw a hamburger buffet or Bar-B-Q at them after they played in a 7 hour event. You might be getting people asking for their money back.  I would be…

So, the Bottomline here is, before you go out and pay money to find out how to find sponsors for your charity golf tournament, learn how to put on a real good charity golf tournament before you ask for sponsors money.  It will save you from having egg on your face and will keep all charity golf tournaments a great place to raise funds for charity.


Scot Duke


Innovative Business Golf Solutions, LLC.

Bolg at    


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