Fore! Exploring the Merits of Your Booster Club Golf Tournament

by Michael Garcia on June 20, 2014

Golf tournaments are a go-to fundraiser for booster clubs during the summer months. Some clubs are just starting their “Annual” golf outing while others have made their scramble a tradition. It is clear that there is some financial benefit from a booster club fundraising perspective and there is clearly some merit from a “friend-raising” perspective, but in this post I will discuss the overall value of a golf tournament as it relates to your booster club.

As a soon-to-be college senior, I had an internship at the College Football Hall of Fame and part of my prestigious and elongated intern job title was Golf Tournament Coordinator, which meant that I ran the golf scramble and everything that came with it. From hole sponsorships, hole games, getting foursomes signed up, recruiting volunteers, all the way to the post scramble raffle…and everything in between, I was charged to make it happen.

All told it took three months to prepare for and garnered close to $2K profit for the Hall of Fame. Granted that $2K was more than we otherwise would have, but it required a full time staff member doing a lot of work to be averagely successful. We also had the luxury of having around 15 college football legends to attract golfers which is not the case for booster club golf tournaments.

The golf tournament for the CFHOF provided value in terms of celebrating the enshrinees with a fun event while also making them available to the public should they want to hit the links with these legends. This is what we mean by “friend-raising”, and that is the main goal of this tournament because losing money on the tournament the previous year while only netting $2K during my tenure is not a sustainable fundraiser, if raising money was the golf outing’s sole aim.

Booster Clubs also need to evaluate the goal and effectiveness of their own golf tournaments. If the goal is friend-raising first and fundraising second, and the demand is there, then golf tournaments are a good idea. Just remember that all events are cyclical in nature and there will be a time where demand and support will wane, so don’t be immune to those signs.

The second piece of the golf tourney you want to heavily consider is if you are wearing out your sponsors by hitting them up too many times per year. Many times businesses only have so much to give to great causes like booster clubs so going to the sponsorship well too often might lead to gifts and donations that are lower than what a one-time solicitation for a maximum gift would be.

Finally, each booster club is different when it comes to golf tournaments and summer fundraisers, but if you’re doing it correctly, a good tenet to live by is the 90-10 rule. Simply stated, the 90-10 rule means that 90% of the funds that you raise from any particular fundraising activity or event must come from outside of your core constituencies (of current parents, youth parents, alumni and alumni parents) and should end up going directly into your program.  In addition, you should net at least $10,000 from the existing or considered fundraising activity or event.  Otherwise, in my experience and opinion, the fundraising activity or event that you are currently doing or considering isn’t or won’t be worth the effort expended. Therefore, it really should be eliminated or dropped from consideration because I guarantee you that there are better, more productive things that you can and should focus on and do each year.

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