First Tee Delaware talks to us about how golf tournaments don’t only happen on the green, their success with virtual bartenders, and how they effectively communicated COVID-19 safety guidelines to their participants.
The following is a transcript of our Q&A conversation from our #OutsideTheRoom Fundraising Success Series – Episode 11. Watch the full episode here.
What prizes were rewarded for the virtual bartenders?
Leslie: Bragging rights! We didn’t really think I’m going to be absolutely honest here. We really didn’t think that out very well. Like I said it was our first time into it. We were mainly targeting our board and our longtime coaches that have been with our organization for quite a while and they like to brag so we gave them bragging rights for the year. We’ll definitely rethink that the next time we do it and hopefully that if we post a certain prize, we will get a little bit more engagement in that.
Did you have titles that they won? Was there only one winner? Or how did that work?
Leslie: We had the person who generated the most votes and then a person who generated the most revenue.
Kendra, you actually worked on the virtual bartending side as the CSM. Can you describe how long does this event go on? Was it a day event? Was it a long time? Tell us a little bit about that.
Kendra: The length of the event kind of came together pretty quickly and Leslie let me know if you felt the same way. You guys have to open it up earlier for voting, but I feel like overall, I mean not any longer than our typical event is what I would say. So, we probably stuck pretty close to that 7 to 10 day that Brandon was kind of touching on earlier. It all came together pretty quick once we got started with the planning process.
Leslie, kind of having you follow up on that. How much time did it really take to put together that virtual bartender event?
Leslie: Once I got to learn the platform, setting it up was fairly easy. Again, I do have a little bit of a design background, so my brain does think a little bit towards that. But it was a very user-friendly background. And once I setup the first two bartender pages everybody just starts sending me the right information, so it took maybe 5-10 minutes to setup each person’s individual page. It was quite easy.
Quick question Leslie. How much did you charge for that 50-50 raffle item?
Leslie: I’d have to go back. I think we had like let me look into it real quick. We have so many events going on, I do apologize that I didn’t have that (information). I would say five dollars.
Thanks so much. And you got a good response from that as well?
Leslie: Yeah, we raised probably about Five hundred and some dollars on that.
Brandon, quick question for you. What kind of raffle license would you need to run a virtual 50-50 raffle?
Brandon: That’s a great question and unfortunately every state has their own little bit of nuances with raffle rules. So, I would highly recommend going to your state and looking that up. We do have several organizations that have done raffles over the last few months that you know have provided some answers on our previous webinars as well. If you reach out to us directly, we can maybe connect you but unfortunately, I have not memorize all those license rules quite yet, but happy to try and get someone to the right place if needed. But yeah unfortunately, every state has their rules there as I’m sure Leslie encountered. Just do your research you know, they do try to make it possible if you will be able to accomplish your goal of running that raffle but you know they have their “gambling goals”.
Leslie, talking about the socially distant guidelines that you had. What were the biggest challenges you ran into? And did you have any folks who were resistant to the guidelines and how did you handle that?
Leslie: No not at all. They were absolutely ecstatic that we had that in place especially at the event that there were parents and children. And everybody was respectful, they came in with their masks. We just had to make sure that we had big sanitizers and extra masks. And everybody had their own equipment and if they didn’t, there was wipes to wipe everything down. I don’t know if its just the nature of the game of golf. The people who are used to being on the course and used to giving people space and time to shoot their holes and it just worked. I can just say it worked; I don’t know how it just worked. And were just happy to be outside and be in an event and doing something and that probably was a major part of it too.
Could you explain the pledge to play one more time? How do those buttons work and like how could anyone use that type of model?
Leslie: Okay, so the pledge to play. I know we said a pledge but it’s actually the vote mechanism in the GIveSmart platform. We just kind of gave it another name when we said pledge. So, used the vote mechanism so its so many votes equal so many pledges. And when somebody signs up their own account, they can go in and do 1 vote, 10 votes, 3 votes which equal out to the pledges. Does that kind of explain it clearly?
Yes, it does. And on that too, how did people pay? Like how did that collecting those funds go on that side?
Leslie: It went really well so we explained to them that they could go in and pledge so many votes if they had a certain amount that they were not going over and they could check out manually themselves. So if they were voting for their granddaughter and they said “okay I’m going to vote $5 per hole or pledge $5 per hole but I’m only going to spend $50, so they would put enough in that would equal out $50 and go in and manually check out. But there was a lot of people that left their account open and we left it open for a couple days afterwards so that the golfers could get back to their contacts to let them know how many holes they got and then they went in and edited the amount of votes, and then they checked themselves out and if they had a problem checking out they just shoot me an email and I automatically checked them out.
Kendra, I’ll jump to you. You’re talking to people every day. And it was obviously a hit for Leslie and her team to add videos under those vote items for the virtual bartender. I am curious for you, do you think that it’s a great idea for people to use videos in general on these fundraising pages for your non-profit? Where would you kind of encourage videos go and how they’re used?
Kendra: I think with the environment that we’re currently in for fundraising videos are an amazing tool. It allows you to put so much more content around your items whether it’s vote item like a guest bartender or an auction item that might need a little bit more description that somebody could talk through and would record the video. So now more than ever, I think that tool is super important. I think you can use it many different ways so if you have a high-end item that you’d like to give a little bit promotion to, a little bit more explanation to, its great for a situation like the guest bartender where you’re engaging your donors more with the video that way, so I think it’s a great tool. I wish everybody would consider using it for some of their items.
Brandon: Just to add to that Susannah, one of the techniques that Leslie and them did and maybe they did unconsciously or consciously is by asking the folks doing the videos of why they support first tee and having some kind of message within each video. It is kind of a video for the non-profits that they can use in future messaging and then have that on YouTube where there’s a really great way to tie in the contest which contests are always really fun ways to use video but also to get that message across of this impact moment and the impact that they’re making on their community still. So if you can, if you’re doing some type of a contest, if everyone’s now gonna go do a virtual bartender which I think is awesome. Incorporate the message alongside there. We had another customer who did the heads or tails competition with videos and what they were able to do is have their different sailing organization. They had different sailors across the country, sending in different videos of why they enjoy sailing and flipping a coin. So there is a lot of different things you can do, incorporate your message, and have some fun with the contest if you can but it’s a really great way to kind of combine the thought process there.
We got a question and asked for payments of the pledge to play as well as your other events, do you use Paypal? cash? Like what are the different forms of processing these payments that you used for all of this?
Leslie: Well GiveSmart allows you to process the payment within the program itself. So there is no need to bring in another platform for credit cards. What we also did give them the option if they were not comfortable with putting a credit card that they could mail us a check directly to our office. And we just had to note that in their account.
In their GiveSmart account you entered that?
Leslie: Yep , so if we have the check number we enter it right in or we use the other button and say check will be received in the office and once I get it received in the office which is happening a lot right now with our Mayor’s cup, then I just go in once I receive the check and I edit their payment. Very simple process.