As we enter the warm summer months, people are eager to get out of the house and engage in the outdoor activities that make them happy, especially now in our post-pandemic era. With that being said, it’s a great time for nonprofits to start thinking about how they can bring these types of activities to their constituents and simultaneously increase fundraising revenue at the same time.
Golf tournaments are becoming increasingly more popular among nonprofits and their supporters, and for good reason. By hosting a golf tournament, you’re providing people with a way to participate in an activity they enjoy doing, alongside people with similar interests, all while raising money for a good cause. And who could say no to that? Plus, during the risky pandemic months, golf provided a way to socialize and get together with family and friends in a safe and socially distanced environment. In fact, the National Golf Foundation found significant jumps in golf rounds in June and July of 2020 compared to the previous year.
Now that you’re finalizing plans around Q3 fundraising events, perhaps it’s time to consider hosting a golf tournament to bring in additional fundraising revenue during the summer lull.
Golf Fundraisers Can Be Held in Different Formats
In 2020, nonprofits didn’t have a choice. They had to think creatively, unconventionally and outside of the box to keep fundraising afloat, which meant most fundraising campaigns had to go 100% virtual. But many organizations weren’t technologically equipped to go completely virtual. The organizations that hadn’t invested in the right technology (e.g., finding a platform to host virtual events or enabling online registration for virtual events) were forced to make big decisions quickly. And now that most restrictions have finally been lifted and in-person activities are within the realm of possibility again, nonprofits don’t have to stick with the virtual event format.
Organizations now have the option to host golf fundraising events in-person or virtually. However, it’s important to keep in mind that because people are now accustomed to attending events virtually, they are going to expect to have a virtual option for all in-person events. This extends to your new supporters who might not live locally. This means that moving forward, you should make it a standard for your organization to host some form of hybrid event — events that have in-person and virtual elements.
Sure, a virtual event may take away a little bit of the fun and camaraderie that an in-person event has — but it does make up with some stellar benefits. Instead of a one-day in-person event, a virtual event can take place over a longer period of time.
As an example, Finger Lakes Health’s Cardiac Rehab programs at Geneva General Hospital and Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hospital typically hosts its annual golf tournament fundraising event in the summer. But due to the pandemic, they are only offering the event virtually this year. Unlike the traditional in-person event, this year’s event is a virtual challenge: complete 108 holes in a span of 12 weeks, with a goal of each player collecting $1,000 from sponsorships. Not only are the organizations challenging its participants with a physical goal and monetary goal, it’s also encouraging all people of all stages and locations to participate.
“This virtual fundraising event will allow participating players to golf at their own rate, at the locations and on the dates of their choosing, with the goal of completing 108 holes over a period of 12 weeks.”
An added bonus: As with all fundraising events, sponsorships will offer an added source of revenue for nonprofits. In a hybrid environment, this also opens up the door to more sponsorship opportunities. So now, organizations can appeal to different types of sponsors, whether they’re looking for in-person sponsorships (e.g., branded swag at the physical event) or digital sponsorships (e.g., digital ads in email promotions).
Everyone Can Participate in Golf Fundraisers
The sport of golf is widely followed, and, generally, people really enjoy playing golf. And one of the key benefits of golf is that it attracts people of diverse backgrounds — adults, children, those who want to be more competitive and those who just want to have fun with it. According to the National Golf Foundation, 101 million people ages six and older either played golf, watched the sport or read about it in 2020. Overall, it’s a great way for family and friends to spend quality time together outdoors, without any screen time, and raise money for a worthy cause.
In particular, there is one thing about golf that will likely entice nonprofits to host these types of fundraisers: It attracts high-net-worth individuals. According to a Wealth-X study on the interests, passions and hobbies of the wealthy in 2021, golf is the leading sport of the wealthy. This comes ahead of soccer, skiing, tennis, basketball and football.
Technology Gives You a Broader Reach
With the advent of technology, now anyone can participate in your golf tournament, regardless of where they live. But there’s always a caveat: Your organization needs to have the right technology in place and offer the virtual event option. If your organization offers a mobile capability — so that participants can log in their results as they go — it’s quite easy for anyone in the world to participate in your golf tournament at their own leisure.
For in-person golf tournaments, there are technology capabilities out there to make your day-of event as seamless as possible. In 2020, more than 26% of attendees bought tickets the week of the event. We expect to see this trend continue in 2021 because attendees expect flexibility. GiveSignup makes it easy to keep registration for your golf fundraiser open from the time registration first goes live all the way to event day. At your event, post a sign with a QR code that takes attendees to your ticket purchase path, enabling them to buy tickets on their own phones to keep your event touchless and safe. Your volunteers can use GiveSignup’s free mobile CheckIn App to check golfers in. The CheckIn App makes it easy to manage teams and different ticket types — like golf & lunch or lunch ticket only. So, instead of fumbling around with paperwork, which could take unnecessary time and energy, participants can now quickly sign up and check in within seconds.
Additionally, on your golf tournament website, get creative with ticket options. This gives attendees a peek into what to expect on event day. With GiveSignup, nonprofits can create several ticket groups and levels. For example, Epilepsy Foundation Colorado is hosting its annual golf tournament later this summer. But by exploring its website, you can tell that it’s more than just a golf outing — it’s an interactive full-day experience. Depending on the package selected, each participant receives perks, like a Bloody Mary and breakfast burrito, two Mulligans, two raffle tickets, a goody bag, etc.
If you’re hosting an endurance event and want to boost participant engagement, consider adding a photos page to your event website. This allows participants to upload their own photos from the event to your website. The best part is that you’re engaging participants in a genuine way, and it gives you compelling imagery to elevate your mission and inspire people to take action — by either getting them to donate or participate. Plus, you’ll get live shots of your event in action that you can use and repurpose in marketing materials for years to come. As an example, take a look at 100 Holes for the Homeless. From this single album, you’re able to visualize how many people volunteered and participated to raise money for a great cause — even on a cloudy day.
For virtual golf events, it’s more common to extend the event beyond just a day. In many cases, these types of events take place over a few weeks or even months. There’s more flexibility in this option as attendees can play at their own leisure. Then, once attendees are finished with their rounds, they can have the community experience that an in-person event offers by logging in their results into the leaderboard. That way, they can visualize where they, as an individual or a team, stand amongst other players, encouraging a little friendly competition. An additional way to get players more excited about logging in their results is by gamifying the experience even more by adding milestones and badges.
We hope this encourages your organization to take golf tournaments into consideration as it finalizes its summer fundraising plans. For more golf fundraising ideas, check out this blog post.