Volume 1, Issue 35
By Angel Zobel-Rodriguez
Despite living in a suburb of Los Angeles, my association is a relatively small one of less than 5,000 bowlers. Based on the amount of each WIBC sanction fee that the association keeps, it's difficult to make ends meet. When you have to pay Los Angeles-type prices on office rental, and add in utilities, the secretary's salary, etc., we'd be broke half way through each year if it wasn't for fundraisers.
And we hold a variety of fundraisers--candy bar sales, garage sales, and craft bazaars, but our biggest fundraiser of each year by far is our Casino Night/Silent Auction. Guests receive play money, play casino-type games, and throughout the night guests are awarded door prizes. Guests are also encouraged to bid on donated prizes in a silent auction. The event costs the association quite a bit of money and effort to put on, but between businesses that sponsor tables, and the $25 ticket price, the proceeds allow the association to survive.
I'm still a relatively new director, so being named to the Ways and Means (you might as well call them Fundraising, Inc.) committee is pretty exciting. We're in charge of Casino Night, and therefore, we're in charge of getting the donations of prizes. Many of the other committee members concentrated on local businesses for door prizes. I figured, I'd try something a little different, so I logged on my computer and tried a different angle. It seemed logical to me, if you have a group of 200 bowlers in the same room, that some prizes of a bowling nature would go over well. The winners would get a prize they appreciate, and the donors would no doubt get a great deal of advertising/publicity from their donations.
Whenever I'm asking for a donation, it's important to me to do more than ask for a handout. Sure, my association needs the prizes, but I always go a step farther. I mention what we have for them, the donor. In this case, an audience of 200 people who are more than likely bowlers, or related to bowlers. So the bowling companies I approached could get their products seen by people who might buy them later. I even made sure to mention we would be happy to display any brochures or catalogs they'd send.
Almost as soon as I'd sent the first batch of e-mail, the secretary called me to tell me that some of the businesses had called or written to say they needed more information. Nervously, I called back, and wrote back, explaining things in detail. Several days later, a large box came from a computer software company that makes bowling software. I walked into the office for another reason, and there were several grinning committee members asking me to take a peek at a large box sitting on the desk. Two of just about everything imaginable gave me a feeling I was peering into Noah's Ark.
And the support from within the bowling industry kept coming. On Tuesday, the association secretary had me paged while I was bowling league to let me know that two high-end bowling balls had arrived from one of the smaller manufacturers. No letter, no reply by e-mail, just two bowling balls delivered via UPS. She assumed that I had something to do with them, but she wanted to make sure. Another company sent some fantastic ball towels with their company logo.
By the end of the week, I received an e-mail that said come pick out a brand new, wheeled bowling bag, and it took me a couple of days to coordinate the drive down with another board member. I drove down to the manufacturer, and one of the men started putting together a two-ball bag when another gentleman found out that we were there for the association, he insisted we take a much nicer four-ball bag.
Our casino night is still two weeks away, and I suspect a few more calls from the folks in the association office. It's amazing how we all work together in this sport: the bowlers, the associations, and the companies that make products for our benefit. Most bowlers know to show their appreciation. So the next time you see attend a bowling function--a tournament or a fundraiser--make sure you check out the sponsors. And thank them.