Whereas it’s always been important to support charities, coming off the pandemic lockdown, it’s more crucial that society figures out ways to fund worthy organizations. We talked to Syren ProStaff member Ashley Butcher about how to host a charity shooting event. Hopefully, her advice will kickstart others to load up and head out to the shooting range to raise some cash for good causes.
Ashley started a charity fundraising sporting clays tournament in 2012 called “Clays for Heroes.” Along with the shooting event – held at the Rochester Brooks International Skeet & Trap Club in August – there are raffles and activities to supplement money raised. The money provides for hunts for Honored American Veterans Afield (HAVA). The beauty of working with a national organization is that is brings extra volunteers and staff to the event, along with expertise and equipment to provide a safe experience.
After a few years, HAVA invited Ashley and her team to some of their events so that they could see how the funds had been used. Now, her team helps HAVA to host an annual clay target shooting clinic and pheasant hunt in western New York, too. “The volunteers that help us raise the money get a chance to meet some of the veterans and share their knowledge and passion for hunting and shooting sports,” said Ashley.
Ashley is a Prostaff Member for Syren (Caesar Guerini). Caesar Guerini and Fabarm donate the guns for the event. Event sponsors make monetary and merchandise donations for various raffles. In addition, Caesar Guerini and Fabarm provide demo guns, and Fiocchi donates the ammo. Veterans get squadded with coaches from the clinic for the match. Rochester Brooks Shooting Club, along with Clays for Heroes, are the official hosts of the event.
Clays for Heroes
This year’s event will mark the 10-year anniversary. “The first year, we raised $3,000 and had 75 people shoot, but recently we had 175 shooters, and now, we’re past the $81,000 mark in contributions to HAVA,” said Ashley. A few years ago, she earned an MBA and works as an accountant, so her acumen with numbers greatly benefits this event, as well. When not working or planning for this event, Ashley shoots sporting clays and FITASC competitively, using Syren shotguns.
How to Host a Charity Shooting Event
Ashley lists these steps for getting involved with a charity shoot:
Determine the best beneficiary of funding
Work with an organization that’s in line with your club and activities. “We chose HAVA because it rehabilitates veterans to be able to get back into hunting and shooting. We have a lot of people in our group who are excited to work with these veterans.”
Note: Ashley mentioned that there also are several charities that don’t have firearms-related missions, such as the Ronald McDonald House, that appreciate shooting tournaments as fundraisers.
Determine sponsorship levels
From event sponsors to station sponsors, a sporting clays tournament imitates a golf tournament. Add sponsor names to an event flyer and tee shirt. “Adding sponsor names to flyers and event tee shirts is a great way to raise funds, as well as help promote the businesses that help with your event,” said Ashley.
Hold special raffles in advance, and raffles on the day of the event. Ashley said they offer a “green bird” raffle, where if a green clay is launched and you hit it during the tournament, you get an extra raffle ticket.
Hold side matches
Ashley also pointed out that they hold side matches, such as a the Long Bird Tournament, where 50% goes to the charity and 50% to the winner.
Publicize the event
Ashley said, “We have an Instagram and Facebook account that we use to promote the event. It’s pre-registration only, because our event is squadded, which allows us to move more people through.” As for media releases and photographs, Ashley explained, “We take photos the day of the event, but always confirm with those photographed before publishing in any promotional materials.”
Here are the various platforms she uses to publicize Clays for Heroes:
- FB: facebook.com/claysforheroes
- INSTA: @claysforheroes
- Email Blasts
- Local outdoor TV
“Remember that you might have a group of individuals show up to shoot who aren’t competition shooters,” said Ashley. “We found that having a softer course to make sure everyone has a good time is important, and we also have range safety officers on the course to answer questions. It’s helpful to have people on the course to make sure everyone has a safe and fun time.”
Ashley added, “Ten years ago, I had this idea to host this event. … I thought it would be a good way for our club to give back, and one day I was watching TV and I saw a veterans’ group and it clicked. I thought, ‘What better group to try to give back to than individuals who have sacrificed so much so that we can participate in sporting events and sleep safely at night?’ … Without the group of volunteers and people willing to step up – whether it’s selling tickets or putting flyers up, or just showing up on the day of the event – one person can’t do it all alone.”
Kudos from Syren USA
When Syren USA saw this story, they responded: “We are very proud of the charity work that Ashley has done for the veteran community and we continue to support her efforts. Ashley has a kind heart and is equally a fierce competitor on the clay’s course. We are grateful to have her on the Syren Prostaff Team.”
This article was originally posted at our “Syren Savvy” column on WomensOutdoorNews.com and co-written with WON Publisher/Editor Barbara Baird. Barbara is a freelance writer in hunting, shooting, and outdoor markets. Her bylines are found at several top hunting and shooting publications. She also is a travel writer, and you can follow her at https://www.ozarkian.com