Make a Hole-in-One with a Miniature Golf Fundraiser

When the weather warms up, it's the perfect time to start planning outdoor fundraisers. What better way than to combine a favorite outdoor pastime with fundraising? There aren't many people out there who don't like miniature golf.

It's a fun activity that appeals to adults and kids alike, and would require little up front expense on your group's part. The next time you're looking for a school or church fundraising opportunity, consider a miniature golf tournament.

Everyone, at one time or another, has played miniature golf, also called putt-putt golf or mini golf. The craze has died down a bit over the last few years, but it's still a great way to get people outside, having fun, and helping to raise money for your cause.

Putting on a mini golf tournament is easy, and just requires a little planning to make sure it goes off without a hitch.

Find a Venue

Check with local mini golf courses to find one willing to host your group. Depending on the size of the fundraiser you plan to organize, and the number of people you expect to participate, you may want to ask the course to close in order to host your event privately. They may not want to do this for an entire day, so try to plan an event that will last just a few hours.

The great thing is that the course will have everything you need—clubs, golf balls, and scorecards—so you won't have to buy or rent those things. The only thing you'll need to cover is the course rental for the group, and you may be able to get this at a discount since it's for charity.

Then you can make this back, plus a little extra, by asking participants to pay a tournament entrance fee.

Set the Tournament Rules

Will you only allow individual players, or teams? If you have teams, how many people will make up one team? Do you plan to have a separate tournament for kids to participate in? Will you go by course par rules, or maybe award points for the most creative shots? And don't forget to offer prizes! What's a golf tournament without some sort of trophy?

Publicize, Publicize, Publicize

This can't be stressed enough. To get the most participation from the community, you have to get the word out. First, ask the course that has agreed to host your tournament if you can post a flyer on the premises inviting people to register.

Include the information in your church or school newsletter. Call local radio stations, TV stations, and newspapers and ask them to mention your event. You can event ask if any of them are willing to cover the event live. A radio station broadcasting live on location can bring even more people in during the tournament.

Just make sure you're set up to accommodate walk-ins. Finally, use social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook to get the word out. The more resources you use to let people know about your event, the more participation you'll get, and that's the key to the event's success.

Consider Concessions

If the mini golf course you're working with has a snack bar, find out whether they'll be able to accommodate your group. Playing mini golf builds appetites, and playing in the summer heat makes people thirsty.
At the very least, you'll need a way to provide bottled water if you can't go all out with burgers, hot dogs, and beverages. In fact, bottled water is a good idea regardless to help people avoid getting dehydrated.

If the course isn't able or willing to provide food, make the tournament a two-part event. After the games are over, have everyone back to the church or school for a big barbecue.
Recruit enough volunteers to help with the mini golf tournament, and to be preparing food so it's ready when everyone arrives. Don't keep people who are supporting your cause waiting if you can avoid it.

It will be up to your group—and your budget—whether you provide the food and beverages for free as a thank-you to everyone for participating, or also charge a small fee for them in order to raise even more money.

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