“Golden Regiment Invitational Golf Tournament”
Blue Springs High School Golden Regiment Marching Band
Blue Springs, MO
Our third annual invitational golf tournament raises ~ $20k or 20% of the year’s general account fundraising target. This event allows us to reach outside the family networks that are often burdened with constant fundraising projects requests. It has allows us to solidify partnerships with local businesses and sponsors. It provides community outreach for generous sponsors to see the impacts of their giving and the work of our students.
The first objective is to raise a large sum of money in a short period of time. The golf tournament is a one day event in which most of the giving occurs on the single day. However, the planning process and the cultivation of relationships that provide generous sponsorships does have a time commitment of approximately 60 working hours.
The second objective is to operate the event efficiently with minimal parent and student volunteer staffing. The tournament is planned and operated by a team of about 10 parents that commit to being available for the entire day of the event.
The third objective is to fundraise outside of the Golden Regiment’s family network. Many parents and family members are constantly hit with the burden of school fundraisers asking to buy something. We try to find opportunities like selling fireworks where sales come from customers predominantly outside this network.
The fourth objective is to provide an experience for our golfing guests in which they can see the total professionalism and organization that is a direct reflection to the work our students put on the field. Many of the participants in the tournament are local business owners that have had a personal connection to the program as well as district administrators.
While we do have some participants that are part of the network of Golden Regiment students and family members, our main focus is on those that may not have a current student in the program. This may be local business owners as well as school district administrators and board members.
The planning for the tournament begins initially as soon as it is completed. The date for the next year is established with the venue. In mid-winter, the parent team begins discussing the different types of sponsorships that will need to be made available, which sponsors are expected to return, and what promotional efforts should be made. We utilize a simple website to collect team registrations and sponsorship information which is updated shortly after this meeting. From there, several planning meetings are held in the spring to track progress on securing sponsorships and in planning items that are to be given for SWAG. The day before the golf tournament, the room is set-up to display items to be given away, along with table decorations for the provided meal. On the day of the event, golfers begin their play at 8:00 am and are usually done following a late lunch.
Overview of Planning and Execution
We utilize committee heads for all of our fundraising activities. The committee head is responsible for organizing meetings for key staff members, securing the venue and meal menu, and in ordering any of the signage and SWAG items. This person puts in approximately 80 hours of work (over the course of six months) prior to the actual execution of the tournament.
Tools and Resources
This year, we partnered with a golf tournament consultant. He was able to help us refine the types of sponsorships we have as well as securing higher quality SWAG items for the participants. He also provided a rental of a golf air cannon in which participants could shoot their ball on a specific hole for an additional cash donation. The consultant typically works about 40 events each year and charges for his services. But with a relationship to one of the committee heads he provided his services FREE and even donated back one of the items he won to the program for future revenue.
Marketing and Promotion
The tournament uses a simple website to help collect information for the tournament. Additionally paper flyers are created to distribute to local businesses for sponsorships and team registrations. The costs of promotion are relatively low and rely more on networking through parents.
The cost of the tournament and the golfer’s meal is handled on a per player basis. The golf course we use charges $70 per player for 18 holes, breakfast, lunch, and three drink tickets. Each player actually pays $150 to play. The SWAG purchased came out to ~ $5k for this year. But we ordered enough inventory to cover two years on the tournament. So, the SWAG came out to ~ $30 per player. With the registration for each player covering more than the cost to play and the SWAG, any additional money paid at the tournament for mulligans, the air cannon, or other games are complete profit. Additionally, all of the sponsorship money paid for hole sponsors, title, and carts are additional profit.
The biggest challenge is in building networked relationships with local businesses to secure the required sponsorships. Every year we do this tournament, this becomes easier as some of the larger sponsors return and we are able to build on them with new opportunities. The next biggest challenge is getting team registrations. But again this builds over time and we have returning teams from year-to-year. Finally, a challenge we anticipate in future years is in filling the room with the most generous teams. When you hit a point where the tournament slots are completely filled with teams, the only way to grow the revenue is to get those team members to become more generous in their giving.
It has been very effective in driving additional revenue for our program. In just the third year, we’re seeing our revenue grow consecutively. We anticipate that in year five this can provide approximately $30k in revenue back to our program, which would be 30% of our general fund requirements.
Without the general fund, our students would be required to pay higher fees for participation. Many students would not be a part of the band program if the costs were to continue rising. By continuing to grow the money we raise each year, we are able to more fully fund the program’s needs. Additional funds raised above the needs for our general fund are used to support scholarships through the Golden Circle for students that need additional financial assistances on their own fees.
Advice for others?
Form partnerships with local businesses and leverage the number of students, parents, and family members that are in your program as a reason for businesses to support it.