Does Charity Mean Nothing?

I admit that I was disappointed with the turnout for the tournament this weekend.  A charity tournament works like this:  Players pay to play an event, 20% is kept for the charity, 80% goes back to the winners.  Lots of players actually donate their winnings back, which helps tremendously.  There are raffle items, auction items, and a 50/50 drawing.  The day is filled with darts, fun, and being with friends for a chance to do something good for mankind.

I think we managed to get 25 players in the biggest event (ladies’ singles and men’s singles added together).  Not a great show of support and while it hurt the income from player event participation, it really hurt the auction.

Now, I understand that some people had to work.  Others just didn’t have the money.  I was actually among the latter group, as I have put out over a $1,000 in testing, labs, and doctor fees during the last month (needless to say, my deductible has been met for the year and I am over halfway done with my total out of pocket expenses).  However, I do have a strong enough support system that I was able to play regardless.  I also admit that I was unable to stay for the last two events.  I just ran out of steam and couldn’t handle playing any longer or sitting in bar chairs.

However, we definitely did not raise as much money this year as we did last year.  My SO and I participated heavily in the auction.  We came home with a ton of stuff, most of it at prices that should have been much higher.  There was a laptop bag that I opened the bid at $25 and that’s what I paid for it (it’s a Mercedes branded bag that normally retails for $170 crafted by Cutter & Buck – I may stop toting around my 13 year old Swiss Gear backpack for a while in exchange for the Cutter & Buck bag).  And since I collect decks of cards, I had to have the vintage Camel Cigarette Poker set with the cards & chips still in it and unopened, another item where my opening bid was the final price.

If more people had attended though, we would have made a ton more money.  For starters, I wouldn’t have gotten all the stuff I got for the prices I got them at.  The auction is usually one of the more popular parts of a charity tournament.  It’s fun, the money is for a good cause, and people tend to be generous (the last tournament a Jaegermeister oversized flag went for well over $300… we bought it too, I haven’t figured out what we are going to do with it yet, but it’s Jaegermeister and it’s not on of their commercially available flags, it’s a promo only item).  This weekend we ended up buying more than planned simply to get bids on stuff.

Tonight, I crunched some numbers.  If just ten more players had shown up and played every event, we would have raised an extra $140 in player fees and who knows how much the auction would have brought in.  Not to mention the extra raffle ticket sales and the extra 50/50 ticket sales and higher pot for the 50/50.

Just something I was thinking about today.  I hate when charity events don’t meet expectations.  As vice president of our league, I feel like this is partly my fault.  I keep wondering what I could have done differently to increase participation.  I will admit I’m grateful for not having to run it this year.  We had volunteers that took over for me and I cannot tell you how much that meant to me.

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