New Life Home for Women and Children
Tell us about your cause.
New Life Home for Women and Children is a non-profit, voluntary, non-denominational, Christian, long-term residential drug and alcohol crisis intervention facility for women and their children. The program resides in a large home in the north end of the city of Manchester, New Hampshire.
What kind of special event fundraising do you do to support your mission?
The Home has done many different fund raising activities over the years. They host an annual Open House and have hosted concert events and a ballet. They have done bake sales and Christmas wreaths. They have worked successfully with businesses like Macy's "Shop for a Cause" program for non-profit organizations. This year's Golf Tournament was their first venture of this size and scope. The key to the New Life Program is that all of the needs of the women and their children are met through the generous support of individuals, churches, and grants from foundations and corporations. True to its founding vision, New Life does not receive any state or federal funding.
Walk us through the planning process.
The golf tournament committee was formed in January 2010 with no experience putting on this kind of event. When I joined the group, a golf course had been solicited near New Life and was well known for putting on successful fund raising tournaments. My first role was to research the process of creating a web site and getting advice and tips on how to run a tournament. Having played in many of these events, I knew of some of the needs but the web site would be a challenge (or so I thought).
When I entered "fund raising golf tournaments" in a Google search, I kept getting links to this very strange sounding site, DoJiggy. It seemed too good to be true so I researched it more. I downloaded everything that was available from the site, I checked with the Better Business Bureau to see if it was all on the up and up. I even went to some tournament sites to see if they were legitimate events. Once I was satisfied, I purchased a 1-year license and we were underway. I could not have asked for a better tool at this point in the planning.
Did you reach out to local sponsors?
The New Life Home has developed many local relationships in the community of Manchester NH. The golf team went to many local businesses and organizations to solicit their participation. The team always felt that calling on people face to face would work better than any other communication and that proved to be the case. Each of the team members also solicited companies from their line of work, but the majority of sponsors came from the local area.
Did you do any advertising to get participants?
We created a full packet of information based on templates I had downloaded. We put together a professional looking folder that was distributed to every business or organization that was visited, we also created the same packet in a digital version to distribute to other potential sponsors in an electronic way. We posted flyers around the local community and in our various work, church, and school locations.
How did DoJiggy help with the planning and success of your event?
In retrospect, it was one of the best decisions we made. Outside of choosing the golf course, having the web site and the DoJiggy support made all the difference in this being a success. The professional look of the site and the tools and administrative features were fantastic. We received many compliments on what a great site we had. It is impressive what you can do on it, from registering players, signing sponsors, giving out information and having a process for payments. I created all of the content and imported photos and information following the easy to use directions and tools. From the day I signed, to the post tournament breakdown, it became a key component in our planning and ultimate success.
Tell us about your success... How many participants? How much did you raise? Did you accomplish your goals?
For first timers in an event this size, we were extremely pleased with the results. In a time where fund raising is difficult and money is tight, we felt we more than accomplished our goals. We had hoped for 100+ participants but settled on 84 golfers on tournament day. We had originally focused on large dollar sponsors but soon found that instead, we were getting lots of small money sponsorships. At first this was frustrating but soon realized that instead of a handful of corporate big money sponsors, we had built a large network of companies, businesses and individuals that wanted to be involved in some small way. This soon proved to be far more rewarding than a few "big fish". We had sponsors for the Putting Challenge, both breakfast and luncheon events, the driving range and many hole sponsorships. In fact the hole sponsorships were the most attractive offering as we had 43 hole sponsorships meaning there was multiple signage on every hole to accommodate the requests. We also had a Hole in One sponsorship that included a 2010 Mercedes automobile sitting on the tee box of a very difficult par 3!
In the end, we were pleased to have raised approximately $17,000 after paying all expenses. We learned so much through this event as it does require a good amount of people's time and energy but it turned out to be a wonderful experience. We look forward to the 2nd Annual event in the Fall of 2011 and I can't think of a better partner than DoJiggy.
Do you have any advice for other organizations?
Plan a year out and have a dedicated committee. Get the right golf course as there are some who "do" tournaments better than others. We were fortunate as they did everything we needed once the day of the event arrived. They clearly were good at this and specialized in making a golf tournament successful from beginning to end.
I have become a huge fan of DoJiggy software, telling anyone who will listen just how terrific the experience was and how much it saved us in keeping track of so many details and issues. To have a professional site to direct people to for information, sign up and payment was the crowning achievement of our organized approach. We started out very much "in the dark" on what the heck we were suppose to do to pull this off but my small investment in your software made the biggest difference in what was a truly fantastic event. I could not have hoped for a better outcome.
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