CONTACT:

Bonnie Weinstein
development@militaryreligiousfreedom.org
(800)736-5109 x5

Website with instructions and paperwork: www.BowlingfortheTroops.org
Throughout this process, remember that MRFF Development Director (Bonnie Weinstein) is available to provide input or answer any questions or concerns you may have.

INTRODUCTION:

The ‘Bowling for the Troops’ fundraiser is a community event through which funds are raised to support the men and women of our military through the efforts of The Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF). All funds go directly to supporting the thousands of our honorable Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, an Airmen who are facing discrimination based on their religious (or nonreligious) beliefs, and who contact MRFF for help.

Participants bowl 2 or 3 games at a designated time and place, planned by the local volunteer group. Each bowler pays for their games and asks his or her friends, family, etc. to sponsor their pin total, with a minimum donation of 6 cents per pin, but a preferred donation of 10 cents or higher per pin. Flat-fee donations of a minimum of $12 for each bowler are also welcome. The goal of each fundraiser is to have at least 25 bowlers participate with at least 5 donors contributing to each bowler. The more bowlers with pledges you have participating, the more successful the fundraiser will be.

If you can get $8000 or more in confirmed sponsors for the event, Mikey or Bonnie Weinstein will attend your event, bowl, and speak to the group (as long as you coordinate and if schedules permit). This should provide a good incentive to make this event a big success!

PAPERWORK NEEDED:

  1. The primary form that will be used is the Bowler Sponsor Form. Bowler Sponsor Forms are available at the Bowling For The Troops website. Each bowler has a sponsor form that they fill out containing their name, full contact information, and all those who are sponsoring them, with their names and full contact information. The bowler should try to get as many sponsors as possible and bring two copies of their sponsor form to the event.

  2. Online pledge forms are available for those who have heard about the event but cannot bowl and may not have been directly solicited to sponsor. They can use this pledge form to pick a bowler you have bowling in your tournament such as a celebrity or guest bowler (Mikey or Bonnie Weinstein, a MRFF board member, etc.) and make a pledge. These pledge forms can be submitted online at www.bowlingforthetroops.org, or mailed directly to MRFF. As the planner, you should also bring plenty of printed pledge forms to the event in case people show up without a sponsor form. Those that show up without a sponsor form should make a pledge on the spot.

  3. Other miscellaneous signs and templates are available online should you choose to use them

 

PHASE ONE: Setting Things Up

  1. Laying the groundwork
    1. Planning for an event should begin at least 6 weeks before the proposed event date
    2. Get a core group of 3-4 (or more) volunteers together that you can count on to help. Contact Bonnie Weinstein for a roster of MRFF supporters and volunteers in your area. Have your volunteers sign up for specific tasks for the event, to:
      1. Recruit people in person, by phone, email and Facebook to bowl and/or sponsor and spread the word
      2. Track those who have committed to bowl and remind people to attend (you MUST remind people)
      3. Get door prizes/raffles for highest pin total, lowest game, most sponsors, etc.
      4. Volunteer to sign people into the event, and take in monies and pre-collected pledges
      5. Track donations, and ensure donations come in after the event
    3. Check with your volunteers or anyone else you know that could potentially bring in a celebrity bowler (local sports figure, politician, actor/actress, local news anchor, etc.) that would be willing to come to the event and bowl.  Contact Bonnie to find out if we have any supporters or board members in your area who could attend.

  2. Choosing a date and time
    1. Choose a date and time in the month of February, if possible, by coordinating with the bowling alley, core volunteers, and any special guests you may have coming.
      1. Best time: Sunday between 12 and 3
      2. Saturday from 3 to 6 is OK, but avoid weeknights if possible
      3. Three hours to bowl three games is plenty of time

  3. Choosing a bowling alley
    1. Contact each alley in person about requesting lanes for a “Bowling for the Troops” fundraiser with funds supporting servicemen and servicewomen
      1. Ask to put up flyers about the event and sign-up forms at their front desk
      2. Ask if they will help promote the event in any way. Some alleys may have a web site or newsletter or mailing list or contacts of the leagues that bowl there
    2. Reserve the number of lanes you think you will need figuring 3 to 4 bowlers per lane.
    3. Ask the bowling alley if they have special group rates or discounts or if they are willing to do a partial reimbursement on bowling costs to Bowling for the Troops
      1. One possibility is to mark up a discounted rate slightly to build in a reimbursement
      2. Another idea is to ask concessions for a percentage of concessions
    4. Ask the bowling alley if they have any special operating procedures they wish to be followed.
      1. The bowling alley may want the bowling groups to be pre-assigned before the event.  Some alleys will assign groups as people pay for their bowling/shoes
      2. Another asked that we collect all monies from our bowlers and pay them after the event was finished. If this is the case make sure you understand how to charge each bowler so that you do not under collect. Don’t forget to charge for shoes.

PHASE TWO: Bowlers and Sponsors
This is the area that most closely reflects the energy and time put into it. The harder you work to get people to come, the more that will show up. Make sure you emphasize the need for bowlers to get sponsors.

  1. Getting people to commit to bowl
    1. Get your POP! - Your core volunteer group should solicit their “Pool of People”. These are the people you/they can absolutely count on to show up and bowl. If your 3 to 4 core volunteers each get 5 people to show up you are close to goal attendance already! Please be sure to tell people that they do not have to be a good bowler to participate.
      1. You and your core volunteers will have the most success by contacting people you know personally, such as friends, family, coworkers, etc.
      2. Additional success will come when your volunteers who have contact with groups (boyscouts, girlscouts, office workers, baseball teams they play on, etc.) personally contact them to solicit involvement
    2. We have an online sign-up system for everyone to utilize available on the website, yet we caution you not to rely on this method alone for getting bowlers
    3. You can use electronic invitations via Evite.com or Facebook. Follow up is very important.
    4. Do not count on those who say they will bring people. They rarely follow through.
    5. Your core group of volunteers can e-mail a personal invitation to their email list to recruit bowlers and sponsors

  2.  Getting people to sponsor
    1. The sponsor form is available online, or you can email it to your volunteers to disseminate.
      1. Make sure every bowler knows to bring 2 copies of his or her sponsor form to the event fully filled out
    2. Make sure each attending bowler knows to start getting sponsors as soon as possible
    3. If people can’t/won’t bowl ask them to sponsor you for as low as $.06/pin or a flat donation of minimum $12
      1. Encourage bowlers to collect flat donations prior to the event so you can collect them at the event. Checks should be made out to "Military Religious Freedom Foundation".
    4. There are websites like FirstGiving that allow sponsorship in a different manner.  One bowler at an event posted a page on FirstGiving that ended up collecting almost $1000 in sponsorship. Contact Bonnie for further information on this.
    5. Personally contact friends, family, and people you have supported in the past.
    6. Facebook and other social networking sites are a great tool to promote this.
    7. Contact businesses you have supported over the years, and ask them to support you with event sponsorships or gift certificates if sponsoring you or the event is not possible
      1. Gift certificates may be used as door prizes or contest prizes, i.e. the highest bowler, the highest donor, the person who got the most sponsors, etc.
      2. Gift certificates can be used as raffle items. If your low donation item has a value of $20.00 and your high donation item has a value of $75.00, sell the raffle tickets for $5.00 each or 3 for $10.00
      3. Begin to raffle items later in the event when people have begun their second game. Raffle items every 20 minutes after that – depending on how many items you have to raffle and how fast people are bowling

PHASE THREE: The Event

  1. Print and bring a sign for the table to the effect of “Welcome to Bowling for the Troops”
  2. Set up a table near the entrance of the alley to collect one copy of bowlers' sponsor forms as people walk in. Be sure to have everyone turn in one copy of his or her sponsor forms into you at the start of the event. This will serve as their ‘sign-in’ to the event.
    1. Print off the online pledge forms and bring them to the event. If bowlers do not have a sponsor form upon entry ask them to fill out the pledge form and pledge for themselves. Encourage a $100.00 donation or more. Collect this donation/pledge money while they are standing there at the sign-in table. Again, checks can be made out to "Military Religious Freedom Foundation.
    2. Sell raffle tickets at the table if you have items to raffle
    3. Take in monies for game and shoes at the table if your bowling alley requires it
    4. After the bowlers have completed their games, have each bowler record his or her total score on their sponsor forms. Have them take one form to follow up with their pledgers and have one copy left with you to follow up.

PHASE FOUR: After the Event/Collections

  1. After collecting checks at the event from onsite pledgers and flat pledges that were prepaid, keep in mind that following up with the remainder of the outstanding pledges from the sponsor form is critical. It is primarily the bowler's responsibility to ask their sponsors to make their donation. Tell them all donations should be in within a week.
    1. Have each bowler fill out his or her total two or three game score on their sponsor form and record their score on your sheet as well
    2. There are two ways by which follow up can be facilitated:
      1. Bowlers can have their sponsors go to www.bowlingforthetroops.org to donate
      2. Mail check to:

        Military Religious Freedom Foundation
        13170-B Central Avenue, SE Suite 255
        Albuquerque, New Mexico 87123

      3. Have them note on the envelope and check “[insert location] bowling event".
    3. Remind your bowlers before they leave the event that it's their responsibility to follow up with their sponsors to attain their committed dollars
      1. Even after doing this, be prepared to send out emails and make phone calls to collect outstanding monies.  In many cases, you will not have direct access to the sponsors, so you must stay on top of your bowlers
      2. Be prepared to email and phone each bowler to request that their sponsors send their donations in
      3. We will contact sponsors who have still not donated after a week

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT