Professional Jeweler Archive: Fun with a Purpose

February 2000


Fun with a Purpose

Volunteer time can be its own reward

Bill Sustachek was fed up with charity golf tournaments. The president of Rasmussen Diamonds in Racine, WA, and golf buddy Tom Kellogg played in several such events and often found the tournaments were poorly organized and didn’t tell the story of the charity well enough to be worthwhile.

“We knew we could do better ourselves,” Sustachek says. Kellogg approached his employer, the Modern Woodmen life insurance company, and secured a cosponsorship for a new golf event. The Modern Woodmen-Rasmussen Diamonds Golf Outing was born.

Sustachek and Kellogg originally intended to split the proceeds between two groups annually, beginning in 1997 with Special Olympics and the American Heart Association. After the first year, they decided it was more meaningful to provide more money to a single organization. The golf outing raised $7,500 for the American Cancer Society in 1998 and $7,500 for research into Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in 1999.

Based on their original frustrations with charity events, Sustachek and Kellogg provide consistent organization. They set aside time, at a meal, for participants to tell the story of the chosen charity and introduce its representatives. To lower costs, the organizers sell tickets and obtain two hole sponsorships at $100 per hole. They also sell raffle tickets to help benefit the selected cause.

In addition, players can try their hands at two hole-in-one contests, one for a $10,000 diamond, the other for a car. (Modern Woodmen arranges a policy to cover the car’s cost if an ace golfer makes the shot.)

The main cost for Rasmussen Diamonds is Sustachek’s time. That time is rewarding, though, because making a meaningful contribution energizes him. One of his employees also volunteers to help each year, and Rasmussen picks up certain sponsorship costs and donates the diamond for the hole-in-one contest.

The tournament has become so popular people have to register early to get a spot. While it’s possible the additional attention has had a positive business impact on Rasmussen Diamonds, Sustachek says the true reward is “the chance to participate in a well-run golf outing where beneficiaries are acknowledged and the story of the charity is told. It is personally fulfilling to be involved.”

– by Charlotte Preston

Charlotte Preston of Charlotte Preston Catalysts Inc., White Bear Lake, MN, develops and coordinates education programs for major industry events.

Golfers head out at the Modern Woodmen-Rasmussen Diamonds Golf Outing in 1998. Sponsored by a jewelry store and an insurance company, the tournament is now so popular players compete to get a spot in the event.
Rasmussen Diamonds gets a great deal of exposure from its cosponsorship of the charity event, but president Bill Sustachek feels the real benefit is having fun while helping his community and the world.

Copyright © 2001 by Bond Communications