Fundraising

Every origination could use more money.  It is hard work to raise the money your organization need to accomplish it’s goals.

The purpose of the following notes is to serve as a guide to anyone planning a party as a fundraising party or gala. There are certain points listed that might not be applicable to your event. However, we have attempted to address the typical scenarios an organizer will likely encounter.

Table of Contents
1. Goal
2. Revenues
3. Expenses

Generally when asked the question, “How much money would you like to raise at this event?” most hosts realize that they haven’t given it enough thought. Having a realistic goal of how much money you would like to raise is the key starting point. It should determine the prices and proposed expenses.  The goal should be to make a profit.  A great secondary goal is to get the word out about your mission.

Decide how much money you would like to make from this event.
Draft a statement of your proposed Revenue and Expenses.

Obviously the key is to maximize your revenue and minimize your expenses. As fundamental as this concept is, most organizations disregard it when running one of these events.

2. Revenues
Revenue for a fund-raiser will typically take the form of one, some, or all of the following:

Sponsorships
Ticket sales
Table sponsorship
Drink sales
Food
Auctions
Charity Lottery or Raffle

Sponsorships:

Presenting Sponsor, Gold sponsor and so on.  The larger the sponsorship the more they get for their money.  Presenting sponsor might get a table for 10 as well as headline advertising in all of your printed and online material promoting the event.  If you have a raffle, get a sponsor for the raffle tickets, if you have a casino night get a different sponsor for each casino game and so on.

Bottom Line: This is usually your primary source of revenue and the financial success of your event depends on meeting your goal.

Ticket Sales:
Delegate the task of ticket sales to more than one person. It is far easier for 20 people to each sell 10 tickets than it is for 1 person to sell 200 tickets. Hold each of these 20 people responsible for the sale of their allotment of tickets.

Table Sponsorship:

Sell sponsorships for each table you can; generally a table which seats 8 would sell for more than 8 individual tickets and the table sponsor would receive 8 admission tickets and something more, like maybe 6 drink tickets per guest instead of 2.  Make nice signage for the table they sponsor.  Offer them more than what the regular admission would get each guest, and promote them everywhere you promote the event. Make your sponsors feel as though they are getting value for their donation and that they are really appreciated.  Not only are they more likely to attend the event, getting a similar sponsorship the next year will be much easier.

Bottom Line: Table sponsorship should cover at least the entire rental cost of the casino equipment and staff.

Drink Sales:
This will vary depending on the “upscaleness” of your event. Ticket prices and what people are getting for their money will generally determine whether guest’s drinks are included in the ticket price or if they need to pay for them. Typically, the more expensive the entrance fees the less likely you are to charge additional for drinks. On “drink inclusive” events a limited bar (beer, wine, soda) is suggested to curb costs. On other many events entrance fee usually includes two “drinks tickets” which are typically redeemed at a rate of one ticket for a soft drink and two tickets for wine or beer. Additional drinks require the purchase of more drink tickets or paying cash at the bar. Consider selling a bottomless glass of wine or beer at a pretty good price.  Buy inexpensive clear glasses and decorate them so the bartender will know they are special bottomless glasses.

Bottom Line: Drinks can vary between being a good source of revenue to being a very large expense. Manage your bar wisely.

Food:
This follows a similar format to your drinks.

If dinner of food of some kind is included in the admission price, make sure that the guests feel like they are getting something of value.  Nice Hor D’oeuvres might be a lot better than poor quality dinner and cost about the same.
Bottom Line: Don’t leave people feeling “short changed” because of poor quality or insufficient food. However, don’t spend all your money on providing a spectacular meal because that is not the focus of this type of evening.

 Auctions:
Have both a silent and a live auction if you have a good sized event (say about 100 or more guests)

Use smaller donated items and services for the silent auction.   We suggest to try and get as many as 1 silent auction item for each 2 or 3 guests.  Items should sell for $10.00 and up, depending on your crowd and their spending ability.  There is atleast one website that will help you with a list of donors to solicit www.ultimatedonations.org  If you know of others, let me know about them.  They will  provide you with a list of possible donors to solicit at no cost, or will provide you a large list for a fee.

Save the biggest items for the live auction.  They can generate a tremendous amount of revenue.  During a live auction maintain a captive audience – shut down all other activity during this time. Shorter is better – your live auction should run no more than 30-40 minutes.  Less is more – have only a few; generally less than 10 – high ticket items for auction. Use a dynamic auctioneer.  We know one who will often donate his time and do your auction at no cost for the auctioneer.   Always include a cute little puppy, to be done right, the puppy should be there before the guests, with a cute little girl giving everyone the chance to pet the puppy, someone will have to have it.  I saw one sell recently for $8,000.00 that was donated to the organization,  the same donor gave the group a sibling to sell to the second high bidder who paid $6,500.00 for it. They usually will sell for really good prices and they do not need to be registered or fancy, just cute.  Often you can get one donated.  If you want to add one or two really unique item check out the no risk auction items at http://www.casinopartyitems.com/ they have over 10,000 items you can use in your auction and if you sell it for more than they are asking, you make money, it you don’t sell it for enough, you can return the item and they pay shipping both ways.

There are several companies who will provide you with online auctions.  You can start taking bids on both your silent auction items and live auction items before your big night.  If someone can not be at your event this gives them a way to support you without being there.  www.bidpal.com is one, but there are several others.

Bottom Line: Keep the live auction short and it can be very, very sweet.  Do not have live auction so that people can get great bargains, and auction for 50 or 100 items would encourage bargain hunters, not donors.

Advantages:
Opportunity to raise a significant amount of money

Disadvantages:
Requires additional sponsors to donate auction items
Much more organization and coordinating involved
Guest often feel “hit-up” two or three times in one evening
Bottom Line: Auctions are often the backbone of revenues generated at fundraising parties. However, they do require a lot of time and effort to coordinate successfully. Delegate at least one person whose sole responsibility is to manage the auctions of the event.  Get as many people as possible soliciting items for the auctions.

Raffle or Lottery:

These can be very profitable and they are legal in most every area we serve.  One of the more popular one’s is a 50/50 raffle.  You might sell the raffle tickets for $10.00 each and $5.00 goes to the prize pool and the other $5.00 goes to your charitie.  Other items could be more profitable, if you could get one really nice prize donated, you would almost certainly make much more percentage wise then a 50/50 raffle, but you might also make more on one great item that you purchase.  Google charity raffle tickets and find a supplier who will print your raffle tickets (generally 8 to 12 cents each) that you can sell prior to your event.  Sell a sponsorship for the raffle tickets for more than the cost of having them printed.  Maybe Joe’s garage will sponsor the tickets that cost you $100.00 and pay $150.00 for the sponsorship.  He could put his company name, logo and maybe a discount on an oil change to anyone who wants to redeem it at his shop, on the half of the ticket the donor keeps.  Be sure the donor can provide you with a way to get ahold of them incase they are not able to attend you event.  If you want a copy of the Oklahoma Charitable Lottery Act, I can email you one, just ask.

 

  1. Expenses:
    Again, the fundamental rule regarding expenses is to keep them to a minimum without compromising your event.  Try to get everything donated that you can.

Typical expenses incurred hosting a casino event:
Facility costs

Decorations and props  (check out shindigz.com and Party Rental stores)
Entertainment
Beverage costs
Food costs
Insurance
Security
Clean Up
All the points addressed below carry the same caveat: “without compromising your event”

Facility Costs:
Invariably, free would be great.  Attempt to secure a facility at little or no cost to your event. There are generally several organizations that are open to making their facility available at little or no charge.  For smaller events many restaurants will provide the facility at no charge if you are buying dinner for each guest.  You or someone in you group may know or have a friend who has a facility that would be great and might donate it.  A new car dealer might donate the use of the showroom and move the cars out for your one big night.  Think outside the box.

Decorations and Props: again check out  www/Shindigz.com
Often balloons and streamers or ribbon will suffice when decorating the event facility. Always weigh up the cost of any props you are considering using. People are typically not at your event for the decorations. Solicit donations if possible however, prioritize a table sponsorship donation ahead of a prop donation almost every time.

Entertainment:
Do not let the guests feel like they are being short changed here.  We offer a large assortment of great entertainment.  We have the casino parties, Poker nights or tournaments, DJ’s, Bands, Dinner Shows, Trivia Nights, Game Shows, Tribute Artists, Bingo, comedy Hypnotists, Magicians, and much more.  Make it a fun night and it will get bigger and better each year.

Beverage Costs:
Arrange with your beverage supplier to be able to return all unopened bottles. This way you only have to pay for the beverages you have sold.  Don’t forget to have cold water available.

Insurance:
Some facilities might require a one-night insurance coverage policy for your event, especially if you are not being charged for the venue.

Security and Valet Parking:
Security and parking will vary with different locations.

Here is another idea:

I have seen this (or rather things very similar to this).  The goal is to get a jewelry store to donate the goods (both real and fake). For jewelry, make it where they have to take it into the store to see if it’s real or not.

I’ve seen clients sell 100 envelops, in 10 of the 100 envelops there are keys, and they line up at the end of event, and of course, only one of the keys will open the lock box that displays the diamond necklace, or cash, or what ever “teaser” prize you have. (There is usually something small in all the envelops so everyone gets at least something).If you want a copy of the Oklahoma Charitable Lottery Act, I can get it for you.

Do not sell anything too cheap.  Many of you guests are there to help support your organization and don’t mind the prices.  Let the bargain hunters go to flee markets and garage sales.

Other Fundraising Ideas:

It has become my passion maybe even a ministry to help deserving charities get the money they need.  I have lots of other ideas on fundraising.  A party or gala is not the right thing for every group. I read a lot about different ways charities can raise money.  Please don’t do what one group did recently, they sold beef jerky.  They told me they lost a little money, but not too bad, but they had enough beef jerky left to last a lifetime.  A raffle is hard to beat, you don’t have to have an event, you might be able to get a good prize donated and if not, you almost certainly can’t do anything but make money on a 50/50 raffle.  A lot of sports teams offer the kids a choice, sell so many raffle tickets or pay a certain amount of money for the season (or a combination of the two).  There are a lot of good ideas on www.Pinterest.com and a whole lot more websites or just google charity fundraising.  Another great website for ideas is: http://www.rewarding-fundraising-ideas.com/

You can always give me a call and I’ll give you some free advice.  I promise it will be worth at least what you pay for it.  FREE

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