The golf fundraiser is an ideal avenue for outreach and stewardship, and given the sport’s tendency to attract affluent businesses professionals, it’s a huge opportunity to fundraise and forge or advance corporate partnerships. Here’s what you need to know to maximize your outing’s sponsorships and raise more dollars for your cause.
APPROACH THE RIGHT BUSINESSES.
Keep golf’s affluent demographic in mind when approaching sponsors. It’s much easier for marketing teams and decision makers to make a business justification for investing in a sponsorship if it provides direct exposure to their ideal customer. Consider car dealerships, homebuilders, jewelers, insurance agencies, real estate firms, accountants, beverage distributors, mortgage brokers, banks, travel agencies, financial service providers, and other businesses offering services that appeal to this audience.
CONSIDER WHAT MATTERS MOST TO SPONSORS WHEN MAKING ASKS.
There are a number of reasons for sponsors to support fundraising events, especially golf fundraisers. In addition to providing direct exposure to an affluent and influential audience, sponsorship aligns brands and companies with good causes. The golf tournament also serves as an ideal place for sponsoring businesses to entertain clients, partners, and other business associates—not to mention the value of focused networking opportunities that are especially unique to golf outings. Be sure to tout these selling points when you reach out to sponsors to make asks.
CREATE APPROPRIATE SPONSORSHIP PACKAGES.
Be cognizant of how you build sponsorship packages. Consider player demographics, the caliber of the golf course, and the reputation your event has garnered. If supporters tend to return year after year and spots fill up quickly, don’t be afraid to edge up prices, add another sponsorship level, or offer additional premium packages. Look for opportunities to add recognition, exposure, and value, especially for top-tier sponsorships. Consider custom-branding pin flags with a sponsor’s logo to sell a flag sponsorship. They’re common at professional Tour events, and great as a stand-along sponsorship package or as a value-add for premier-level sponsors.
MAKE SPONSORS LOOK GOOD.
Sponsors want to support events that are well-organized with clear communication, simple registration, and a high level of professionalism. These events attract affluent participants who invite business colleagues and clients—the ideal audience for your organization to engage. It’s no secret that higher-end events pave the way for higher-level sponsors, creating a snowball effect that benefits your organization across the board.
Once sponsors are secured, be vigilant about handling logos, messaging, links, and other info and requests quickly and professionally. Pay close attention to details, like how the sponsor logo looks and prints, where it appears, and whether it displays the supporting organization prominently and positively. Use a web-based platform so sponsor assets are all stored in one place and easy for multiple members of your committee, team, or volunteer task force to manage.
LIVE-SCORE THE EVENT AND SELL A LEADERBOARD SPONSORSHIP.
When it comes to sponsorship opportunities, the leaderboard is as premium as it gets. It captures the attention of players, spectators, and other supporters (both at the event and following online) for the duration of the event and afterward. Live scoring also makes the event more fun, competitive, and higher-end, and streamlines scoring for the golf facility staff (who would typically be rushing to enter scores after the round during an awkward lull while golfers wait for teams to finish). Be sure to utilize a live scoring platform that’s reliable, sleek, and easy-to-use and offer the leaderboard sponsorship at a premium.
MAKE IT EASY TO SPREAD THE WORD.
When you spread the word not only about available sponsorship opportunities but that they’re going quickly, there’s a domino effect that begins to happen. The easiest way to both recognize sponsors and spread the word about businesses that are on board is through a registration website for your event, which provides a place for you to send interested sponsors and display those who have already pledged their support. A registration website also offers other key advantages, like saving you tons of time and keeping everything organized (and qualifying nonprofits can get one for free through GolfStatus.org’s Golf for Good program).
MAKE IT EASY FOR SPONSORS TO COMMIT.
You’ll certainly want to promote the event to existing supporters through email, social media, and possibly even direct mail. The key advantage of using an event website is that you can provide a clear call to action on all promo items—not matter their medium—that provides a quick and easy way for sponsors to commit on the spot without the fuss of mail-in forms and checks. They head to your golf event’s website, choose a package, and submit payment instantly.
CALL ON YOUR NETWORKS.
Chances are, your board members, most engaged donors, and committee members have connections to businesses. Instead of making a vague request for folks to ask around, be intentional about rallying your troops. Ask board and committee members to participate in making a list of target sponsors, then divvy out a plan of action for contacting them based on relevant connections. Follow up at your next meeting to be sure board members are following through.
GET LOCAL MEDIA INVOLVED.
Reach out to your local newspapers, TV stations, support organizations like regional nonprofit associations, and other outlets to let them know about your golf event. Be ready with details like date, time, and location, and remind them about the cause the event supports. Ask them to direct interested players and sponsors to your event website for more information and to register and purchase sponsorships.
STEWARD SPONSORS APPROPRIATELY.
When sponsorships sell, reach out to let sponsors know you appreciate their support. Follow up with a social media post from your organization to share that they’ve committed to supporting the event, thank them for doing so, and remind other sponsors that there are more opportunities available (be sure to link your registration website).
RUN A FLAWLESS EVENT.
The better your event goes off, the more support it will garner year after year. Now’s the time to take a look at the systems and processes behind your event and look for opportunities to streamline, simplify, and upgrade.
Looking to streamline all your golf fundraiser’s logistics to save time and attract more players and sponsors? GolfStatus.org’s simple, powerful platform has everything you need—and it’s free for qualifying nonprofits. To learn more, submit an inquiry here, or email GolfStatus.org directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article first appeared on Golf for Good, a blog devoted to helping fundraisers leverage golf’s unique connection to business and philanthropy to raise more dollars for their organizations.
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