Nov 10, 2009 at 04:10 PM
written by

An Army of Sponsorship Volunteers

When the PGA Tour's Heritage golf tournament lost Verizon tournament director Steve Wilmot knew he had a challenging road ahead.

While pursuing an $8 million replacement for Verizon, tournament officials are also taking a decentralized approach by enlisting a wide base of volunteers to call on local businesses - one skybox seat, booth or charity benefit table at a time - knocking on doors if necessary.

"When we made the announcement about Verizon, I wasn't sure how the community would respond, but obviously, support and encouragement have been tremendous," Wilmot said.

Organizers have identified 133 local businesses to call and have formed a sponsor-partnership club, in which volunteers from local civic organizations are soft selling local area businesses on the benefits of sponsorship at a number of levels.

"If we don't pull together to pool our resources, we're really not serving the island well," executive director of the Hilton Head Hospitality Association, Anne-Marie Adams, told the Beaufort-Gazette.

"We're off to a good start, but we still need more volunteers who are willing to devote a small amount of time to meet with local businesses," tournament sales director Bill Wagner said earlier today in a news release.

Tough times call for tough measures, but other properties, with title sponsor in tact, may want to keep an eye on the Heritage's progress. It is often said that sponsorship is a "relationship driven" purchase. If that's the case, who better to leverage those relationships than an army of community leaders?