OUTLINE FOR SUCCESSFUL SPORTSMEN BANQUETS
The outline below contains the chain of events necessary to create and promote a successful Sportsmen Banquet.
Each category will have a separate detail of what is recommended.
8. Food Preparation
9. Day of Event
10. Post Event Follow-Up
OUR GOAL AT SPORTSMENMINISTRY.COM
Our goal, which will culminate after many months of hard work, preparation, and prayer is quite simply “The Great Commission.” Rather than a general approach, however, we are targeting a specific group of lost souls, particularly those who are difficult to reach - The Outdoor Sportsman.
Prayer, especially to church organizations, is a must. Prayer will evoke the Holy Spirit to move in the lives of individuals; convincing them of their need for our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Prayers should be offered from the pulpit.
The Pastor needs to have everyone get involved by inviting someone to the event. You don’t have to be a sportsman to know someone who is. This is a very key element to success. Even if you are not a sportsman, you should attend to lend support to your church. You will have great fellowship, a meal, and you might learn something. The congregation who rallies around their Pastor’s leadership and brings unsaved loved ones, neighbors, or anyone to the banquet always has a successful event.
A well thought-out plan is fundamental to ensure the event has a successful outcome. One person cannot do it all. There should be teams set up of individuals skilled in the portion of the banquet that they are working in.
God gives everyone certain talents which are useful. You would not have someone cook the meal if they cannot cook. Likewise, someone working on promotions will need salesmen like skills. You should have teams for all the headings in the outline. One person should be chairman over all the teams.
The theme team should pick a theme, something relevant to the main seminar, (turkey, whitetails, fishing, etc.). Have fun with it and be creative! This team will be responsible for decorating the auditorium area, set up of displays of wildlife, pictures, etc.
Local businesses that come and set up exhibits to support the event will need to be organized by this team. You can decorate the walls, floors, tables, entry ways, etc., (Have fun with it). Encourage church members who are avid sportsmen to bring in their mounts for display - this will add to the décor.
Seasonal timing creates excitement. You will want your event your banquet to coincide with the seasons. Offer turkey seminars in the spring and whitetail in the fall before the season opens or after it closes. The summer months are less desirable for hosting a sportsmen banquet because of family vacations schedules, summer leagues, etc. November and December are not good because of the holidays and hunting seasons that are taking place.
Most sportsmen banquets are scheduled 6-12 months in advance, so you will have to set the date early for promotional reasons and of course, pending scheduling with SportsmenMinistry.com, if steve is to be the main guest speaker.
The program team is responsible for developing an agenda and lining up the participation for the event..
You will want to contact your State Environmental Conservation to participate in your event. They will generally send one or more officers and many times will have a display to bring along. You have to contact them in advance in time to plan for the event.
You may want to have game calling demonstrations or a contest and plan something for the children. Remember, do not take up too much time with your demonstration or contest. Just keep them brief and have some quick fun with them.
This is a big one. If properly promoted, your Sportsmen banquet will be a huge success. Promotion starts in the pulpit. The Pastor who solicits the involvement of his congregation will undoubtedly experience success. The Pastor must encourage the members to invite people they know who enjoys the outdoors, even if they themselves are not avid sportsmen. This allows everyone to participate in a meaningful way.
The name of your event is important! Do not invite wrath from the community by calling the event a Men’s and Boy’s Event and unknowingly eliminate women, which is not your intent! Simply call it "Sportsmen Something Event".
Another part of promotions is getting the word out to the community. Most local media, if approached properly, are happy to assist in promoting a community event. They will advertise for you, possibly free, several weeks prior to the event. Direct mailing is also worthwhile.
Contact local businesses for sponsorship. Many of them will look at your event as an opportunity for exposure. Some will want to participate by giving items for the door prizes. Some may even want to set up a booth the day of the event. You may want to set up a fund, to which businesses can contribute, for the purchase of a Grand Prize.
Remember to keep a careful log of who gives and what is given so you can offer proper recognition when the door prizes are given out. You should also give those who participate a receipt for tax purposes. (If a business gives, say $100.00 towards the grand prize, they should receive a receipt. They can in turn use this for a tax deduction.)
Other types of promotion would be word of mouth, the local penny saver, swap radio, etc. You also should approach large stores such as Wal-Mart, K-Mart, etc. well in advance, as their request will have to be processed through the head office.
Our goal is to put both SportsmenMinistry.com and the host church in a “win-win” situation, financially.
A charge for admission at the door will cover all or most of the cost.
Regarding tickets, the price should be in the form of a suggested donation. This will satisfy any Sate Health Department Regulations concerning serving wild game.
Try to sell the tickets in advance about 60 days prior to the event. This will give you a good idea as to how many to prepare for. You can also sell tickets at the door, as some, about 10%, will not have pre-purchased.
Selling the tickets in advance will also give you the finances you need to fund the event.
Most sportsmen ministries include a banquet in the program. Find people who are talented in large quantities of food preparation and who can devote ample time to this rather than delegating the meal to a caterer. If the banquet is to be catered, your ticket sales will assist you in the number of meals to order.
Outdoor cooking is very attractive for a sportsmen's banquet. Make sure you have seating for all the people and reserved seating for guests. You should have meat other than wild game for those who won‘t eat it.
DAY OF EVENT
There are some basic items you want to adhere to, on the day of the event.
1. Start the event on time. Have a specific timeline and adhere to it as close as possible. Move the event along, do not spend a lot of time on incidentals prior to the main event.
2. Have the host church pastor involved, in returning “thanks” prior to the meal.
A note to the wise - do not offend non-Christians by announcing your evangelical intentions in your prayer. Let Steve Rockey, or your main speaker, lead into the gospel later in the program.
We recommend you use the “Sportsmen Dinner Survey” form that is included on this website. SportsmenMinistry.com has had great success with this survey form.
We recommend the survey form be required to be filled out in order to be eligible for the grand prize drawing. Believe it or not, some of the men have come simply to have a chance at winning the grand prize.
Make sure that someone takes charge of the survey forms to collect them and maintain the privacy of those who fill them out. You will need them for your follow up. SportsmenMinistry.com recommends a bible give away concept that you may want to incorporate. Those who receive Christ are offered an Outdoorsman’s Bible.
POST EVENT FOLLOW-UP
As soon as possible, the host teams should get together to discuss the event’s effectiveness. You might want to solicit volunteers for next years event.
You will want to compile a database for the purpose of mailing invitations for the future events.
Thank you letters should be mailed to the sponsors and any who were instrumental to the success of the banquet.
Hopefully you will have taken our advice and used the survey form. Now you have the names and addresses of those who received Christ and can contact them.
Call them to setup a convenient time to visit. This is where you give them, if they commit to a bible study, the free Outdoorsman’s Bible.
If someone indicateed they received Christ but do not want a visit, respect that and let the Holy Spirit do His work.
If you participate in the bible give away program, it would be best if you anticipated God’s blessing and purchased a number of The Outdoorsman’s Bible in advance. That way you can present them to any new converts on your first visit with them.
Contact us for sportsmen ministry outreach and other information.