Celebrities in Your Fundraiser Golf Tournament
Celebrities can be a great way to upgrade your tournament, create more exposure and even make sponsors more inclined to become involved in your event. I’m not talking about a high profile TV covered two or three day extravaganza. This is about your one-day charity fundraiser. With celebrities in your tournament, you could even consider charging a higher entry fee. However, with celebrities sometimes there can be problems and additional expenses.
In my charity golf fundraising guide book, “Golf Tournaments 101 Second Edition” there is a chapter covering this aspect of a nonprofit charity golf one day golf tournament.
Often an organization will hire an event planner, because of that person’s ability to bring in celebrities, usually promising to provide one celebrity for every team. Teams would then be a fivesome comprised of one celebrity and four golfers. If you go this route, make sure it’s very clear who will pay for the celebrities to play. It’s possible the event planner and celebrities consider they should play without paying the tournament entry fee. Be prepared for that and be ready to negotiate. Find out what the Club’s policy is. There are a few ways this situation could play out:
1. Your organization could be responsible to pay the Club a full entry fee for every celebrity. If you have eighteen teams and therefore eighteen celebrities, you could be looking at a substantial increase in your expenses.
2. If the Club really wants your business, it might waive the green fee, the cart fee or both from the per-player charge for each celebrity. It’s sure to want payment for both food and beverages.
3. A sponsor might consider paying for a celebrity, on the condition they get to play golf and spend the day in the company of that person. Make sure the celebrities are committed to this kind of arrangement.
Unfortunately, in my experience there have been tournaments where for whatever reason; some celebrities didn’t show up. There have been times when as many as 30% haven’t honored their commitment. If that were to happen at your tournament, you could expect to witness your paying guests becoming upset and angry and make comments like: “You advertised there would be celebrities on every team” or “We paid to have a celebrity on our team”. This is a situation your committee members would face at tournament registration time, because that’s when and where it will happen. Certainly the possible problem of celebrity no-shows is something to consider.
The Single High Profile Celebrity Approach:
Having one high profile celebrity works really well. You may not be able to get an actor, high profile sports person, senator or super model, but in your community you should be able to find the right person. Inviting the anchor or weather person from one of your local TV stations, or the sports writer from your news paper could work very well. Plus, they may promote your event giving you some free advertising. Also, consider a local politician, your mayor, police and fire chiefs. A comedian is always popular. Then make sure all the below is possible:
- Include the celebrity in all your advertising
- Ask your celebrity to commit to the whole day from registration time through the awards dinner
- Have the celebrity as your master of ceremonies or at least be involved in presenting prizes
- Ask the celebrity to play golf. Not in a team but by playing one hole with as many teams as possible. A Par-3 works quite well. As soon as the team the celebrity is with has finished putting, the celebrity goes back to the tee where the next group is waiting for him/her. That way, most if not all of your players will get to meet, interact and spend time with your celebrity
- Ask the Club to provide the celebrity with a golf cart at no charge; it should do that. One of the Club’s assistant professionals will most certainly enjoy acting as the celebrity’s caddie, driver, yardage guide and swing coach.
A single celebrity involved in a charity tournament is my recommendation. I have seen tournaments using this method be very successful. The most memorable one for me was on May 11th in 1998 when Charlton Heston came to support The Country School of North Hollywood, California, where his granddaughter was a student.
The Tip of the Iceberg. If you’ve read any of my many blogs on planning and running a one day charity fundraising golf tournament, then look at them as being just the tip of the iceberg.
Golf Tournaments 101 Second Edition is full of much more detailed information, guidelines and tips. Much more than blogs alone can cover. It’s unique in that there’s not another guide and planning book on the market containing as much information to assist charities and nonprofits raise money through golf.
Downloadable Tools. Through the book’s website http://charitygolf101.com the second edition makes available over 35 downloadable tools. These Excel and Word files are set up to assist in pre-tournament planning along with a tournament day timeline. Some files are ready to go; others can be modified to suit your own requirements.
Wishing you every success with your fundraiser tournament.