Putt for the Fallen Fundraising Event Case Study

Background

As a previous in-house marketer for a group of 17+ family entertainment centers, Julie Dion knows the struggles with how to keep the momentum going each fall once kids go back to school.

Family entertainment centers look for cost-effective ways to promote their business in the shoulder and off-seasons. They also look to align themselves with partners to help generate awareness, expand audience reach, and news coverage. Oftentimes, FECs partner with charities which help secure positive news coverage, good-will among guests and an increase in traffic.

Since creating successful partnerships is one thing that Dion Marketing prides itself on, an idea came to Dion once they started working with Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation, a non-profit organization that raises money to send military children who’ve lost a parent in the line of duty to college. One of their main initiatives with the Fallen Patriots is to help spread awareness and raise money.

The idea included bringing the family entertainment industry and Fallen Patriots together to create a win-win situation for all involved. 

Challenges

The main challenge was coming up with a campaign that could work for different brands of family entertainment centers throughout the country and how to get FECs to buy into our campaign plans.

Other challenges included introducing family entertainment centers to Fallen Patriots, who they are and who they support. They do not have chapters or other “bureaus,” so educating anyone about the Fallen Patriots has been through online communication channels only.

Additionally, because of lack of funding, many charitable organizations don’t have a lot of resources to offer in return.

Solutions

Dion Marketing focused its efforts by targeting FECs with miniature golf courses since miniature golf is one of America’s greatest pastimes that conjures lots of positive emotions.

We created a promotional fundraising kit that had all the items needed to execute a successful fundraiser. Acquiring participants was done by creating an informative website, email marketing and an industry trade magazine.

During the month of September, patrons that visit participating Family Entertainment Centers are given the opportunity to donate. In exchange for the donation, participants get to sign their name on a paper ball and the guest also receives a coupon for a free round of mini golf on their next visit!

Outcome

In 2014, Putt for the Fallen had 47 Family Entertainment Center (FEC) participants, which raised over $30,000 collectively. 21 news articles were published in 30 days; gaining over $4 million dollars in earned media throughout the country with over 5 million media impressions!

Although the results are not collected yet for 2015, we have more participants - 54 family entertainment centers – a 13% increase from 2014!

Because of the success from 2014, Dion Marketing was able to secure corporate sponsors for 2015. Thanks to sponsorship funds from ForeverLawn and Live Oak Bank, the promotional fundraising kits were better than before, creating more money-raising opportunities for each participant, as well as costing 25% less to purchase in 2015.