Raise Money for Your Non-profit by Holding a Cornhole Event
Regardless of your fundraising event goals, a cornhole tournament is likely to fit your needs perfectly. Cornhole is a favorite game that is well-known throughout the country, and your participants need no experience to sign up for fun. No athletic ability is required, and you can even allow children to play along with adults. There is also little risk of injury, so your liability is incredibly small.
If your goal is to plan an event that will attract a variety of people while ensuring fun for game entrants as well as spectators, cornhole is ideal. The equipment is lightweight and compact, and setting up is as simple as placing the boards and tossing down the bean bags. It doesn’t get any easier if this your first fundraising event.
Elements of a Successful Cornhole Tournament
The most efficient way to plan a cornhole fundraiser is to make a list of everything that you need and then check your way down the list as quickly as possible. This will ensure that you are well prepared and adequately organized when event day rolls around.
Use this quick checklist to move from planning to earning without confusion:
Before you can book a venue or make other big decisions, you need to determine the following:
- How many people do you intend to invite to the cornhole tournament? How many do you predict might show up?If you have a way of asking potential participants if they’re interested in this event, you may have a more accurate prediction.
- Do you want participants to compete as individuals or teams?
- How much will you charge entrants to compete?
- Make a list of potential event dates. Eliminate dates that may have competing events planned, or that might not work for your participants. Which date is your best option?
- What resources will you need to accept registrations and organize gameplay?
- Will you have a pre-registration event?
- What resources will you need to accept registrations? Online registration is more convenient and will likely result in more signups than a paper registration form.
- Make a list of all volunteers willing to help operate the event. Will you have enough volunteers to pull it off?
- If you aren’t up to date on cornhole rules, now is the time to learn. Cornhole is a simple game, but you do need clear rules that allow you to officiate effectively and fairly.
Where will you hold your cornhole fundraiser? Think about how much space you might need for the tournament, seating for spectators and areas for concessions and other sales or promotions. If you’re planning an adult audience and want to sell alcohol, you may have fewer venue options that you would for a family-friendly cornhole event without alcohol.
If you’re set on a specific date and find a suitable site that is available on that day, go ahead and book the space to set your date in stone and prevents someone else from reserving the space out from underneath you. If you plan on holding your event at a public park, you may still need to reserve picnic shelters, grills or other designated event spaces. It’s always best to check in advance than to show up and get shut down.
Cornhole boards and bean bags are inexpensive. Once you know how many competitors you will have, you can determine how many boards you will need to keep the game flowing. Consider customizing your cornhole boards and bean bags to maximize exposure. You can use the boards for events in the future.
Do you want to feature just a cornhole tournament, or would your guests appreciate other activities? For instance, you might include simple activities for children like bobbing for apples or three-legged races. These games are easy to setup with minimal financial investment, and you can make some extra money by selling tickets to each match. For an adult party, you might consider raffling off a high-dollar item or services that are donated to your organization.
Serving bottled water, soda, popcorn, chips, hot dogs, pizza and other concessions will keep your guests happy while increasing your profits. If you already have t-shirts and other customized merchandise, this is a perfect time to set up a swag table. Determine what you want to sell, how many tables you will need to accommodate sales and how many people you will need to oversee the sales. For small events, you may only need one small table.
Most venues will have trash cans, but this isn’t always the case. If you can bring a large trashcan and set it in the seating area, you may spare yourself hours of picking up trash when the event is over.
How are you going to promote this event, and what is your marketing budget?Consider getting the word out for free by announcing through your blog and social media pages. Social media sites like Facebook also allow you to set up events, allowing people to express interest with the click of a button. This can give you a good idea of how many people may sign up, especially if you have a substantial social media following. Many local newspapers have events sections where you can advertise once you have a guaranteed event date and location. You may also have opportunities to spread the word through local businesses and other organizations dedicated to your cause.
Fundraising Planning Tips
Before you rush off to start ticking down that checklist, there are a few fundraising tips to keep in mind.
Connect with small businesses in your area to see if they’re interested in sponsoring your tournament. You may even consider customizing your cornhole boards to represent those companies. They get to keep the boards in the end, so you make more money, and the businesses have something to show for their investment. Make sure to add your branding as well because you may reach a wider audience if a company reuses their cornhole boards in the future.
Pre-registration eliminates the drama of hoping that people show up on event day. To encourage early registration, offer incentives to a designated number of registrants. You can provide a swag bag filled with donated merchandise or a customized bean bag. BOGO tickets for the first signups may work as well.
Assign someone the task of taking videos and pictures of the event. Post to social media during the event, and allow participants to share to their accounts. You may even go live on Facebook, Instagram or YouTube at the beginning of the event to encourage more people to come out and enjoy the fun.
If you’re a small nonprofit with limited funds, cornhole is your ideal fundraiser. You don’t need to spend much on the equipment, and the game will easily attract people who may not otherwise think about giving to your cause. This is your opportunity to spread awareness to more people while raising the funds that you need for big projects.
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The ACA was created in 2002 to create a governing body for the game of cornhole. Since that time our sport has grown to levels not thought possible.
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