By Avail Marketing
In just a few weeks, Richmond will celebrate the five-year anniversary of Soul Bowl at AMF Shrader Lanes. The inaugural Soul Bowl event took place on February 24, 2007 with a sellout crowd. While events often come and go in the capital city, Soul Bowl has stood the test of time and consistently offers quality adult entertainment while offering a unique fundraising opportunity for community organizations. “It doesn’t seem like long ago since we were at Shrader Lanes for a youth bowling event for Big Ben”, said Johnathan Mayo, President and co-founder of Avail Marketing. Their company organized a youth bowling event to give NBA star Ben Wallace a chance to hang out with the kids who attended his free summer basketball camp. At the time, AMF Shrader Lanes had recently undergone a major renovation and featured a first class bowling center with bowling, billiards, plush seating, and an upscale environment. “At the youth event, we were like wow, this is a nice bowling alley!” said Mayo. With encouragement from long-time friend and fellow marketer, JR Walthour, Mayo went to the drawing board. “After the youth bowling event with Ben, I kept hearing JR’s voice in my head saying, we need to do a bowling event for adults! I never imagined that five years later we would have hosted over sixty bowling events and raised over $80,000 for charity”, said Mayo.
Avail Marketing defines Soul Bowl as a brand and social movement that combines bowling with urban elements of music, soul food, card games, billiards, and social networking! The event targets adults who are tired of the nightclub scene and are seeking alternative forms of entertainment. The primary objective and benefit of Soul Bowl is its turn-key fundraising program for local non-profits and community organizations. The charitable element of Soul Bowl Lounge has proven to be a win-win for non-profit organizations that benefit from the ZERO risk, low maintenance nature of the fundraiser. With over ten years of experience working with non-profit organizations, Avail recognized the need to provide a turn-key fundraising solution for organizations who lacked the human and financial resources to develop their individual fundraising events. “With the current state of the economy and decline in charitable contributions, it is important that we all embrace concepts such as Soul Bowl that facilitate collaboration and efficiency in fundraising. The thing I am most proud of with Soul Bowl is the fact that we have assisted organizations in raising over $80,000 for local community organizations”, says Mayo.
In addition to raising money for charity, the event has filled a social void in the community. Adults who are tired of the nightclub scene see it as a fun alternative. A long time supporter of the event, Monica Streat says, “I have attended Soul Bowl for the past 5 years and it a great event to enjoy with my family, friends, and co-workers. I love the safe & fun atmosphere, networking with other professionals, outstanding staff of Soul Bowl who make me feel like family, and most importantly the fundraising opportunities for non-profit organizations that Soul Bowl provides. I view it as a party with a charitable purpose.”
Consequently, Soul Bowl also benefits from the grassroots marketing that the non-profit organizations provide for the event. “Based on our commitment to serving non-profit organizations, the fundraising program was a key element to the original concept for the event”, said Johnathan Mayo, President of Avail Marketing. He went on to say “The relationships with local non-profit organizations have been a tremendous contributor to the success of Soul Bowl, and I truly believe we would not have experienced the same level of success without their involvement.” Ronald Abernathy, fundraising chair for the Upsilon Nu Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., said “Each year we try to give out at least $10,000 in scholarships to area students. Soul Bowl events have been the most successful fundraisers that help us reach our goal.” Upsilon Nu has been a consistent charity partner of Soul Bowl and is one of sixteen community organizations raising money at the five-year celebration of Soul Bowl on February 25. Avail will also host additional Soul Bowl events throughout this year to take place on April 28, June 30, September 29, and November 17. The company welcomes all types of organizations that are making a positive impact in the community.
In addition to hosting Soul Bowl events for five years, Avail Marketing has created additional bowling concepts such as Teen Strike Out, Spirit Bowl, and Boot Scoot Bowl. While none have been as successful as Soul Bowl, Avail has plans to re-invent some of the spin-off concepts and add additional concepts. They have also been asked to create and manage private bowling events for schools, businesses, and other organizations in the area. I never thought five years ago that bowling events would be such a large part of our business.
The relationship with AMF Bowling has been mutually beneficial and they have been great business partners. Since AMF is headquartered in the Richmond area, Mayo has the opportunity to work with the company’s Vice President of Marketing, Merrell Wreden and Vice President of Operations, Larry Ross. “This was a concept that was easy to like: positive, community-oriented and innovative,” said Wreden. “Avail has done a great job planning and running the events, and the attendees really seem to enjoy themselves. We’re proud to be a part of Soul Bowl and hope we can successfully introduce the concept to markets across the country.”
Avail Marketing specializes in providing marketing, event management, and foundation management services to non-profit organizations and corporations. As former college roommates and student-athletes at the Virginia Military Institute, Johnathan Mayo and Lester Johnson founded Avail Marketing to create a business that focused on the community and offered assistance to non-profit organizations that struggle with fundraising and marketing for their community programs.
For additional information on Soul Bowl events or the fundraising opportunity, please contact Johnathan Mayo at (804) 677-3694 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Details can also be found at www.soulbowl.com.