One of the most popular and profitable types of charity events in recent years has been sporting clays shoots. They offer numerous means of raising money, they are fun events that people want to participate in, and they are a perfect fit for a youth shooting team. But that doesn’t mean you have to be a team that competes in sporting clays to host one; charities of all types, most of which have nothing to do with any form of the shooting sports, are now using sporting clays shoots as fundraisers, so they are equally well suited to SPP teams as SCTP teams.
One SCTP team that is effectively hosting an annual Corporate Shoot is Creighton Prep from Omaha, Nebraska. “We provide a fun- filled day where corporations and small businesses can sponsor a team or two in our event where we provide a little friendly shooting competition,” reports parent Heidi Rake. “This year we had a one hundred rock program with a little bit of trap, skeet, and doubles. We provide pastries and coffee at the start of our day and offered a nice steak lunch for our participants, which allows them some team-building time and some time to network with some of the other shooters. At the end of the day, we look at the scores and award our traveling trophy, as well as plaques for the top three teams.”
Ms. Rake continued, “Thanks to the MidwayUSA Foundation, each year we sell raffle tickets and we use our Corporate Shoot as the day that the winners are announced and their prizes distributed. We receive prizes from our local Cabela’s and Scheels stores, as well as several other local stores as they support our local trap shooters. In 2013, we had 20 teams participate, and in 2014, with the remodeling of our local range, the Harry A. Koch Trap and Skeet Range was the perfect venue. With the additional ranges that we could use, we doubled the number of teams that could participate. We filled up all 40 team spots within a few short weeks.”
According to Ms. Rake, the team’s high school trap shooters do everything from selling tickets, walking the teams through the program, scoring each squad, and cleaning up the shells left on the range.
If you want to host a charity shoot, be prepared to work hard — before, during, and after the shoot. In addition to planning the event, recruiting shooters, and making all the other preparations, like the Creighton Prep team, you’ll probably need to serve as trappers, load machines, help clean up the course, and serve a hundred other functions. But is there anywhere you’d rather work than at the range?
The first and most important rule for hosting a sporting clays event: partner with a course that is well-managed and exceptional at hospitality. Not only will your shooters have a great time and want to sign up again next year, but club management will make sure you cover many details you might not consider. This is a great way for the club to get some positive publicity as well. If you are able to work as trappers and in other ways, you may be able to factor that help into the price.
Look for multiple ways to monetize your shoot. Some suggestions to consider:
- Corporate team entry fees
- Individual entry fees
- Shooting games and side events (e.g., sporting arrows, Make-a-Break, or 5-stand)
- Silent auction
While a well-selected club will handle the shooting activities, you should discuss every detail, including availability of golf carts, with the club manager. But it will be up to you to sell sponsorships, book corporate teams and individual shooters, arrange for any raffle or auction, set up displays, provide any awards or medals, and handle other functions not directly related to shooting.
Publicity before and after the shoot will be vital. Talk to your local newspaper, radio stations, TV stations, websites, and other media outlets about announcing the event in advance and covering it with a story afterwards. This not only benefits the fundraiser this year but is also good groundwork for the following year. Invite a member(s) of the press to participate at no cost. Create flyers to post in the area. Ask the club to post your event information on its website and possibly do an email blast to its contact list.
Speaking of the following year, consider this a multi-year premise. Each year that you host an entertaining and well-managed event, you will learn more about doing it well and build on its reputation as a “must-do” function.
If possible, offer goody bags for the participants that include such items as an event t-shirt, small promotional items donated by sponsors, and literature or coupons from your sponsors. A sponsor may be able to provide the bags for this purpose.
Create a printed program, even if it is a one-page flyer, and distribute it to pre-registered participants. People like to know everything that is going on in advance, and they are more likely to arrive prepared to spend money in a raffle or auction.
Plan to serve food as part of the entry fee or make it available for purchase. This will keep the shooters on the premises for all your activities. Some shoots combine a barbecue, chili cook-off, or other culinary event with their shoot.
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel to host an excellent sporting clays fundraiser. Research online to learn what others do and get ideas for sponsor packages, programs, flyers, and other elements. Borrow ideas for side events; like the Last Competitor Standing events at SCTP Nationals? Do it.
A sporting clays fundraising event can be the most fun way you earn money all year. With the right partner club, it can become one of your community’s most popular events!