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The virtual pairing party: A new spin on the fundraising golf tournament

  • June 1, 2021
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The pandemic continues to test our abilities to get creative with our fundraising approaches. Even though our country is continuing to take great strides to overcome the virus, the virtual approach to fundraising remains a vital method for non-profit organizations. In this blog entry, we will talk about our Virtual Pairing Party. Our Virtual Pairing Party combines two of AmFund’s most effective unrestricted funding programs: our Virtual Event Support Program and our flagship Fundraising Travel Program to provide fundraising golf enthusiasts with a safe and engaging way to raise funds for a good cause. For those non-golfers, don’t worry; we have them covered too! We made sure to include travel opportunities that will surely get everyone excited!


Going beyond tradition

Before COVID-19 was a concern, there would traditionally be a pairing party on the evening before a Pro-Am golf tournament. This is where golfers and their spouses would attend a dinner and pair up with their pros. This has been a tradition for years. As we’ve all learned over the past year, sometimes you have to go beyond tradition to make things work.

With safety at the forefront of everyone’s minds, we decided to transition this in-person pairing party to a virtual fundraising platform. We also wanted to make sure we included the non-golfers in the fun. In conjunction with our Fundraising Travel Program, we can grant the Virtual Pairing Party to approved nonprofits at no cost. For those nonprofits that host golf tournaments every year, providing a virtual pairing party is the safest, most effective way to maximize your returns, all while capitalizing on the reach a virtual event gives you.

How does a virtual pairing party work? 8 easy steps

  1. Utilize our Signature Fundraising Platform to sell sponsorships and team registration.
  2. Select the top 10 Pros to be offered for auction and create bios.
  3. Select remaining Pros for the raffle and create bios.
  4. Decide what additional fundraising opportunities to offer: auction, birdies, etc.
  5. Ask Pros to make short commercials touting your organization’s mission.
  6. Market the opportunity and encourage social media sharing to build hype.
  7. Utilize Facebook Live or Zoom for your pairing.
  8. Enjoy your in-person golf tournament!

 Let’s dive right into the details of how a Virtual Pairing Party will run. The main idea is to use this virtual fundraising platform to create an engaging event that will entice your golfers and their spouses with a wide variety of fundraising opportunities. In other words, it’s time to get creative!

Here are a few quick ideas:

  • Silent Auction with items and pros (teams can bid to pair with a pro of their choice)
  • Pick Your Pro raffle (this ties back into the idea of picking a favorite pro)
  • Raffle tickets
  • Sell merchandise
  • Buy It Now Birdies (sell birdies for a set price to give teams an advantage)
  • Pairing watch parties
  • Tournament registration and sponsorship
  • Include a Donate Now button

Bonus tip: If you want to go for the ultimate engagement among your pros and your amateurs, combine this highly effective fundraising idea to engage your sponsors and maximize your fundraising!


All of the above ideas can be expanded upon and utilized in specific ways that make sense for your organization. And as always, don’t forget to utilize technology. You can create bidding urgency and provide important updates through text messages during the event. You should also use social media leading up to the event to encourage viewership. Perhaps the event could end in a Facebook Live or Zoom where pairs can be announced and raffle tickets drawn allowing viewers to give you their Pro Picks in real-time as the tickets are being drawn.

Getting the non-golfers involved (Hint: it’s all about travel)

As we mentioned earlier, it’s important to get spouses and other family members involved in the fun. There’s no better way than to offer some exciting travel destinations. With the pandemic becoming more under control across the world, people are itching to travel now more than ever! For this reason, we combined our signature virtual platform with the Fundraising Travel Program. Offering some golf destinations such as Scotland, Key West, Ireland and Hawaii (to name a few) would be enticing to anyone. You don’t need to swing a golf club to enjoy those places! View additional renowned golf destinations here.

Encourage the pros to become your ambassadors

There is one specific group of people who have the power to make your Virtual Pairing Party a complete success: The Pros. Make a plan to get your pros engaged and involved with the golfers at your event. Carve out some time to allow the pros to interact with your guests to further support your mission. Even on a virtual platform, it’s so important to give your pros some time to talk, answer questions and interact with your golfers. Their influence can go a long way!

Bonus tip: Ask each pro (or your top pros) to create a quick 1 to 5 minute video that lets people know why they are playing in the tournament. Have them explain what it means to play in support of such an important cause. By allowing your pros the time to pre-record these videos, they will be able to deliver some truly meaningful messages that will properly convey their thoughts and feelings about the great work of your organization. Learn the Ingredients of a Perfect Intro Video.

How to get started?

If your organization would like to be considered for this program, please contact the American Fundraising Foundation. If selected by our Board for approval, our Development Team will be there every step of the way to help you throughout the process and will be more than happy to share advice on how to best promote this partnership, walk you through all the details, and maximize your fundraising.

If our Board of Directors approves your organization, there is absolutely no cost or risk to this program. Thanks for reading, and as always, stay safe!

This article was written by the fundraising experts at the American Fundraising Foundation (AmFund). Each year, AmFund carefully chooses organizations to support through sponsorship of events, year-end grant distribution of financial support, virtual silent auctions, and other programs to raise much-needed unrestricted funds for the important mission of those organizations. AmFund is recognized with the GuideStar Platinum Seal of Transparency and since 1999 has donated more than $36 million for worthy causes.

This post was originally published on the AmFund blog.


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