10 Tips for Throwing a Successful Fundraiser
As a Throw Pink tournament director, my goal is to make my annual event as fun and memorable for players as possible. I have learned so much in the six years I have run the Ladies & Gents Mixed Doubles tournament, adding new elements each year to make it bigger and better.
Ladies & Gents raises money for a local non-profit organization and each year, I try to create new or better ways to fundraise before and during the event. If you are interested in running a Throw Pink fundraiser event while promoting disc golf among women and girls, here are 10 tips on how to make it successful:
Gaining sponsorship is one of the most important factors in running any charity event. You will need help paying for tournament expenses such as shelter/park fees, prizes, player packs, etc.
I recommend networking as much as you can within the disc golf community. You will find that many disc golf companies are very charitable and will be open to sending you prizes such as discs, stickers, shirts, and more.
If you have a strong connection to your local community, you may also be able to find sponsors outside of the disc golf world.
Lastly, be sure to contact your local convention and visitor’s bureau or parks and recreation entity. I didn’t tap into this resource until a few years after I began my event, but I wish I had done it sooner. The local CVB has provided free lunch for all players for the last two years!
Create a one-pager that outlines sponsorship levels and benefits so you can email this to potential supporters. To see an example, I have this on my tournament website.
2. Side Action
Think outside the box! I like to make Ladies & Gents a memorable experience so that people are excited to return the next year.
Besides playing a round or two of disc golf, there are so many other side events you could run that are both fun and generate funds for your charity. These could include a raffle, ring of fire, and CTPs (closest to pin).
My goal is to ensure all 120 Ladies & Gents participants leave the event with at least one prize.
Promote your event on social media early and often. Consider creating a Facebook event where people can receive updates.
If you have time, post to the event page and share it with your personal page and Instagram, if relevant, when you get new sponsors, prizes, etc. This helps keep the excitement high.
I would suggest beginning to promote about two months before your event. This will help people plan ahead but it is not so far out that you will lose momentum. Also, don’t forget to promote via local course bulletin boards using flyers and within your local club.
4. Extra Perks
Once your event is established and you have gained some solid sponsorships, consider extra perks you could provide to players to help make the experience even better.
I am fortunate in that the local CVB donates lunch for all players and volunteers. This is a great perk for players because they don’t have to worry about packing lunch or finding a restaurant quickly between rounds.
Another perk I provide is an early player check-in. A local brewery allowed us to set up a table outside so that players can come to check-in, grab their player packs, drink a beer, and socialize.
This is not only a great option for people who want extra time to warm up in the morning but also for those who don’t want to wait in line to check-in.
It is also great from a tournament director’s perspective because it cuts morning check-in time in half!
5. A Well-deserving Charity
You will find that many people will play your event not necessarily to be competitive but to support a good cause. There are so many non-profit organizations out there doing great work, it may be hard to choose one.
Do your research and maybe choose one that is not as mainstream so that your donation really makes an impact.
Also, if your organization is local, consider asking the executive director or another representative to come to your tournament and speak during the player’s meeting.
He or she can give players an overview of what the organization does and where their donations will go. This helps players feel closer to the mission and help sets the tone for the day.
6. Beginner & Junior Friendly
In order to make your event attractive and accessible to many different skill levels, consider choosing a course that is short and beginner-friendly.
For instance, Ladies & Gents takes place at Earlewood Park Disc Golf Course. The course is just under 5,500 feet for 20 holes and every hole is a par 3.
Also, be sure to offer divisions for all skill levels, including juniors and women’s divisions.
7. Enticing Current & New Women
Part of Throw Pink’s mission is to encourage women and girls to be active. Make sure to not only offer women’s divisions but also make it female-friendly.
Your event should attract new women to play, so consider holding your event on a course that has bathrooms; create short tees or basket positions for women’s and juniors’ divisions and ensure that prizes for men and women are equal.
I created Ladies & Gents as solely a mixed doubles event so it would entice women to come out with a significant other or friend. Many women get into disc golf via their significant other and allowing them to compete together can be great for their confidence.
8. Forgo Competing & Focus on Being the Tournament Director
Believe me, I know it’s hard. But if you are a tournament director, you should most likely not play the event as well.
In my experience, it is impossible to be an adequate tournament director while also competing, even if you have a co-TD.
Prioritize your players and the success of the event above all else. There will be plenty of tournaments for you to play in.
9. Enlist Volunteers
As your event grows, you will need more volunteers. Start by enlisting members of your disc golf club and even think about non-disc golf friends.
I need extra hands for jobs like hanging sponsorship tee signs, putting out water, check-in, handing out player packs, organizing and handing out lunches, the ring of fire, raffle, etc. Having volunteers makes my event run extremely smoothly. They are necessary for a successful tournament!
10. Make It Feel More Special Than A Typical Tournament
This one is the culmination of one through nine. My Ladies & Gents event is my absolute favorite day of the year.
Each year, I get to see 120 players smiling, laughing, and having fun on the course, winning prizes and meeting new friends while simultaneously raising money for our charity.
The disc golf community is fortunate to have Throw Pink to help us create disc golf events that go beyond competition. Throw Pink gives us a platform to create a special experience for players that also benefits our larger community and helps people in need.
If you're interested in attending a Throw Pink fundraiser, check out the events page!