Take Stock in Children is a Florida based non-profit organization that provides scholarships and mentoring services to deserving, low income youth. The organization has served hundreds of thousands of students since 1995. For the past two years, Take Stock in Children has used Golf Digest Planner’s website for their Annual Profit Golf Classic, so we took the opportunity to ask Madeline Pumariega, president and CEO, to share her advice for new tournament organizers.
Pumariega is only on her second year of tournament planning, but she has quickly become an expert in in organizing a successful event. “You don’t have to be a golf expert to plan a tournament,” she explains.
What you do need, according to Pumariega, is a network of good partners to work with. “In order for a non-profit to be successful in a space you are not experts in, you have to find a good partner.” In Pumariega’s case, this partner is Profit Charitable Foundation, the charitable arm of Profit Investments. For the second year in a row, the Profit Charitable Foundation has chosen to partner with Take Stock in Children for their Annual Profit Golf Classic. Proceeds from this tournament will go towards supporting Take Stock in Children’s mission to provide educational and social achievement opportunities for children and young adults.
With a solid partnership down, Pumariega lists finding the right golf course as another essential factor to an event’s success. “The course matters.” says Pumariega. “You need to ask yourself, where would you like to play and what day would you like to play?” This selective attitude will pay off when you see how much a good date and golf course raise your registration count. “Non-profits get caught up in the cause,” she continues, “but it’s important to focus on making the event exciting and fun for your guests. You draw people in by making the event fun!”
Pumariega also emphasizes the importance of identifying the right corporate sponsors. Her committee looked to corporate sponsors and local businesses to donate raffle items, play in the tournament, sponsor meals and signage, and even to sponsor local high school students to play. When it comes to finding sponsors, Pumariega advises staying in your circle. “Ask yourself who already gives to the organization, and look to them to get a team together. It’s easier to find success by building upon existing partners and relationships.”
In terms of cost, a tip that Pumariega gives is determine your hard cost, and then ask the golf course what people are charging to see how much profit you can make on registrations. However, she echoes the sentiment expressed by many golf organizers, that sponsorships, not registrations, are where you make your money. “The biggest challenge is finding sponsors. Start early, and use your personal connections.” For some extra profit, the tournament sold strings at $50, which were a big hit at the event. However, while everyone bought a string at her event, she warns that it might not be as big of a hit with more advanced golfers, who might prefer to keep the score free of strings and mulligans.
Take Stock in Children uses Golf Digest Planner to market their event and give their sponsors recognition. Pumariega also advises that you “market it as a business bonding experience for a good cause” so that golfers look forward to having a fun day out on the course with potential partners. She also advises taking full advantage of tournament day as a “branding opportunity” for your non-profit, having cheerful volunteers out on the course dressed in your colors, and making sure your logo is prominently displayed.
These tips and tricks served Pumariega’s tournament well last year, finishing with a $50,000 profit. The lessons she learned can serve as a great guide for any beginning tournament organizer, and are the same practices we live by at Golf Digest Planner: keep the tournament day light and fun, and start early finding reliable sponsorships to make your tournament a hit!
For more information on Take Stock in Children, please visit their event website at http://www.cvent.com/events/5th-annual-profit-golf-classic/event-summary-e81fc72dd3ac423a863e148f45919c67.aspx and check out their Golf Digest Planner tournament page here.