I’m pretty sure George Patton would have enjoyed being part of the golf tournament my volunteer organization put on this week. Only, it’s a women’s only group. Well, and he’s dead. Regardless, his sage advice would have guided us through our planning process.
It had been a few years since our organization had put on a golf tournament, and most of us experiencing it this year were brand new. Heather led the charge in years past and was our window into what worked and didn’t work before. She didn’t have a project plan, spreadsheet or detailed notes for us to follow. What she did, however, was define a clear goal to raise $12,000. Each member was to secure a foursome, sponsor and silent auction item.
We had three committees: prizes, sponsorship and food and beverage. Naturally, I aligned with my extensive knowledge and talent and headed over to the food and beverage table. Heather made her way around the groups and provided groups with high level parameters: # of golfers to plan for, who sponsored us in the past and the sponsorship levels to request. We were on our own to figure out the rest.
I was the first in my team to offer to host our first committee meeting at my house. Did you know by doing so I was announcing myself as the head of Food & Beverage? You did? ...huh.
Our team started dividing up restaurants and stores to go out and secure. We quickly realized we didn’t know what exactly to ask for. We created and shared a letter to describe who we were and what the value proposition was. We collaborated on Facebook to keep us updated on what we’ve found out and questions we had.
At our next meeting, I asked each member to purchase a case of beer cans and drop them off on my front porch. Beer sales was the only revenue generating part of our team, so, if we could each donate this, more money for teachers (and better looks from my neighbors).
At our final meeting before the golf tournament, Heather said, “I know our goal is $12,000, but, I just learned the Foundations’ annual goal is $14,750. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could wipe out their entire goal with our event?” In Rhythm Systems speak, this became our SuperGreen goal. The head of finance said, “We’re not even halfway there and we have two weeks!” Heather stood by her statement and asked us all to focus each day over the next two weeks on getting our foursomes, sponsorships and silent auction items. Then, she dropped another bomb, “Also, for the Food & Beverage committee, according to the Golf Course Manager, the day will be longer than expected, so, we’ll need snacks and more beverages.”
Our committee, however, hit a wall getting sponsors for more food, paper products, soda and water. One of the members got creative and started asking small business owners, new to the area, for smaller donations rather than sponsorship-level. This turned out to be a bright spot we could all implement. We used this idea and went back to restaurants and supermarkets who had turned us down and asked for smaller gift cards: $40 here, $50 there. I even hit up my boys’ Pediatrician at a well-check. He said he’d put $100 in the mail.
The prizes committee came up with a brand new way of conducting an online silent auction using smartphones. Golfers could see the prizes on their way in and bid on them from the comfort of their own golf carts.
A week before the golf tournament, we were sold out of foursomes. This was a first! I spent this last week enduring insomnia over important things like: “Will the BBQ company bring serving utensils?” “We need ketchup!” “Do golfers care about tablecloths?” “How am I going to cool down, bring over and set up 32 cases of beer?” I never did receive the $100 check from my pediatrician, so we had to go out-of-pocket for the final round of purchases. The morning of the golf tournament, I was loading the beer cart and my pediatrician walks up and hands me the check!
We all ran around and did our part in making sure the golfers purchased mulligan packages, bid on the silent auction and were well-fed, hydrated and happy. I casually polled the golfers on what they liked/would improve on the tournament and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. We’re sending out an official survey, and I’m excited to see the results.
Heather sent us a message: “Remember when I said it would be great if we could meet the Foundations’ goal of $14,750? Well, guess how much we raised? $14,750!” She went on to say the Head of the Foundation choked up when she learned what we’d raised.
This serves as an example of the power of expressing, inspiring and empowering a team towards achieving a stretch revenue goal.
My lessons learned:
- Create a clear, inspiring and measurable vision.
- Make sure you have the right leaders in place who will carry out your vision (not just to the person who volunteers their home, as sweet and wonderful as they may be).
- The plan may not be perfect, but, monitor it closely and make adjustments along the way.
- Encourage your team to get creative and not be risk-averse.
- Give each member that one question to ask each day on what they can do towards the goal. In our case: “Do I have my foursome, sponsor and silent auction item?”
- Support one another by sharing the wins and helping those who are stuck.
- Capture your bright spots and lessons learned to make the next revenue-generating plan even easier to execute.
I’m still on such a high from achieving our goal. I can’t wait for us all to share the bright spots and lessons learned so no one loses sleep next year over hot dog relish. I’ll still offer to store, lug, and ice down cases of beer. After all:
Cheers, to achieving your stretch revenue goal!