Step by Step Guide for Learning How to Plan a Fundraiser
Buckled in? Ready for this journey? We have a list that will take you from start to finish so that you know How to Plan a Fundraiser. Follow our guide and you will be in great shape! We used the term Stag & Doe throughout the guide, however these tips will apply to any Fundraiser that you are holding.
Things to Consider at the Start
You need to start by getting a committee of people together (perhaps the wedding party, family members, or close friends) to help organize the Fundraiser as it is way too much work for one or two people.
Some people are lucky and have people lining up to help, but others have a harder time. If you are the first person to get married out of your friends’ group, the others will not yet understand what is entailed and won’t really get how much work and help is needed to make it successful. They may not grasp that the bridal party is supposed to do the majority of ticket sales and other running around and planning. Sorry about this, it is very frustrating to be stuck with all the work, and many of our clients complain about this. So it is up to you to tell people what their jobs are (in a kind way of course).
Pick an appropriate method of updating your Committee Members – whether it be over email, meeting in person once per week, creating a Facebook page, etc. For your first meeting, make a list of EVERYTHING that you will need to do, and start delegating. Please take people up on their offers to help, you will need it!
Most people choose a Saturday night to hold a Fundraiser, however Friday nights can get you a better deal on some DJ’s and Halls. Midweek Fundraisers are okay, but people have commitments with kids and work so you may not get as good of a response. If this is a Wedding related Fundraiser, the wedding couple usually has their Stag and Doe between one and three months before the wedding. This allows a good lead-time to generate needed funds and does not interfere with bridal showers or preparations for the ceremony and reception.
Stay away from long weekends or too close to national holidays – you want to make sure you get the most amount of people to show up so be smart!
With that said, it seems there is a trend to have a “surprise” stag and doe at your wedding. We strongly advise against this – too much pressure and trouble to do everything all in one day!
Wow, there are many things to buy for this event, but do not worry as long as enough thinking and planning goes into it. Also, please do not depend on your wedding party to pitch in financially – they are spending enough money on your wedding with the dresses, tuxes, bachelorette/bachelor parties, bridal showers, etc. Plan on spending this money out of pocket, hope for donations, and make your money back and then some after the party is done.
CLICK HERE to print the following Budget Worksheet off so that you can get to work!budget
To come up with a number of people that you can expect to show up to your Stag & Doe, start making a list of family, friends, coworkers, neighbours, your parent’s friends, etc. Ask your wedding party to make a list of friends or family that know the couple, and who may like to come or at least buy a ticket.
Get your committee to review the list because chances are, you forgot a ton of people. Keep in mind that some people will just buy a ticket for support but do not intend on going to the event. Once you have your list, expect that 60% to 70% will show up if you are lucky. Even for people who say they will come, people cancel last minute all the time, so that is to be expected.
Legally you are not permitted to advertise your event on public webpages or newspapers, but you can promote yourself within your own friends group on Facebook by inviting people personally.
Be weary of Facebook though because people will confirm they are coming but they may not have bought a ticket from you yet, so don’t count on their “confirmation.” Other times people say “maybe” as a reply which really doesn’t help you at all. The sole purpose of the Facebook Event Page is to generate excitement, invite those who you normally would not run into or who you would phone, and keep everyone updated with any important details.
We understand that many people despite the regulations, still advertise their events through social media, and technically that is not allowed. Advertising with a Facebook group is allowed though as long as it is open for the public to see. Taken directly from the AGCO website, they said this:
Acceptable forms of notification may include social media (not available for viewing by the general public, must be a personal guest list), private invitation, etc.
They recommend to keep a list of ALL people who bought a ticket, and ALL people who said they will buy their ticket at the door. It cannot be advertised to the public and instead seen as an invite only event.
Most newspapers now know not to allow advertisements related to Fundraisers because of some legislation that went through in 2013.
Permits & Licenses
You need one of these before you can even consider holding an event that sells alcohol or has any games! Be sure to visit the AGCO Website as well as check with the hall to make sure you are following all of their rules too, as you don’t want to have any future issues due to a misunderstanding.
Here is a Tip Sheet from the AGCO dated May 2017 that should make things pretty clear for you and answer any legality questions:
You can get either a Private, Public or Industrial Permit.
A Private Event with a “Sale Permit” is what most of our customers end up getting. In this article, the AGCO recommends that under a Private Event Special Occasions Permit (SOP) there are some rules:
– You can only have invited guests
– There can be no intention to profit from the sale of alcohol at the event
– You cannot advertise the event
– There can be no unlawful gambling
Here is a quick snapshot of the differences between 3 types of permits:
To help answer this common question, we went to directly to the source and have copied and pasted excerpts right from representatives of the AGCO (Alcohol & Gaming Commission of Ontario). That way we know we are giving you the right info!
To be quite frank here, if everyone followed the AGCO’s rules perfectly, most halls would be out of business, and we would also be out of business!! We believe you just have to be creative with how you do things. Basically they do not like to see actual cash out at each game as they do not want people winning money. So if you instead sell raffle tickets at the front door as they enter, they can use these raffle tickets to “gamble” with.
They can give a raffle ticket to the person running the Golf Putt Challenge game for example vs. actual money and get a chance at it. Just like they do when you go to a town fair – you give them money, they give you game tickets and that is how you play their games. The other way around things from what we have heard, is to not give away money as a prize, but instead an actual tangible prize. If it is donated then even better!
One other important thing to note, is that they say Games of Skill are good but Games of Chance are bad. So games like Hockey Shootout, Golf Putt, Bullseye, Blackjack – this all requires skill. Other games like the Wheels are all won by chance. With that said, the Crown & Anchor is our most popular rental, so figure that one out!
A spokesperson from the AGCO was quoted in this article saying that Games of Skill are acceptable, or she suggested having an auction or to simply just charging more for tickets. She also said this:
“If you’re not eligible for a license and you run a raffle, technically it’s an illegal raffle,” Murray said. “You can’t run a raffle yourself, so you can’t run a raffle at your private event.”
So that is why it is important to ask the hall if they have a gambling license because then you are permitted to run raffles. In this article, they are quoted saying that there are 5 ways to make money at your fundraiser:
– Ticket Sales
– Silent Auctions – get prizes donated, but no liquor bottles. You can get LCBO or Beer Store gift certificates and have people write their bids down on a piece of paper. Try to get the Bride’s side bidding against the Groom’s side to increase the bid amounts
– Live Auction (same as above except with a lively auctioneer!)
– Games of Skill – not chance (putting contests, scoring contests, nailing the log, guessing how many jelly beans in a jar etc.) and then all of the funds raised through these methods go directly to the Bride and Groom
So are things clear as mud now… right?!
Choosing the Correct Hall for you
Now that you have your date and number of guests in mind, it is time to choose a hall. Keep in mind that if you have many out-of-town guests that you expect to come, you will want to pick a location that is easily accessible from highways, and possibly close to a hotel. If you have guests scattered from Toronto to Niagara, pick an in-between location so that you can hopefully maximize your turnout.
Once you know what part of town you are looking at, start Googling for local places! Start making calls or emails, and ensure to ask these questions:
- Do they have your preferred date available
- What is the maximum number of people their hall can hold
- Do they allow gambling and 50/50 draws for a Stag and Doe, do they have a gambling license
- Are there any limitations as to what games you can have there
- Do they have catering available, and if so, is it mandatory to use their catering service, and does the hall rental come free if you purchase their food (some halls offer this)
- Can you bring your own food
- Is there a kitchen for you to prepare food
- Can you bring your own alcohol or do they run the bar (if so, how much do they charge per drink?)
- Are there any restrictions on decorations
- Are there any restrictions on music (is a DJ allowed, can I bring a home stereo, do they have hookups, etc)
- What is the time you can arrive to set up; time you have to leave by
- And of course, what is the cost, how much is the deposit, and what is included in the total price
Make sure that you get a tour of their kitchen.. You can tell a lot about the place judging by the cleanliness of the hall’s food preparation area. Everything must appear clean and organized, do not be afraid to open a fridge or two. Ask for references from previous events catered by this hall if you are using their catering services.
Also check out their bathrooms, as this speaks volumes. Is there soap and paper towels in both the men’s and women’s washrooms? Do the washrooms look and smell clean? It seems obvious, but many people forget to look for these things. You want your guests to feel welcome, have some good food, and feel like they are in a clean environment so that they will stay alllllll night and spends lottttts of money!
Some halls have different sized rooms to choose from. The hall has to make sure that they obey all fire codes and their hall will accommodate your party size, so be honest with your number of guests you expect to come. You want your guests to feel comfortable in the room, and when a room of 100 people feels like 20, then your room is too big, and people will be less likely to go play games or dance since they will feel too self-conscious. On the other hand, when the room is filled with 20 people but it feels like 100, then the room is too small, and people will feel closed in and will not want to stay and keep spending money.
Take the hall’s advice, as they will know by experience what room may be most suitable for you. Remember, if a hall holds 200, you should be okay if your expected number of guests is 250, as many guests will only stay a couple of hours and some may not come at all.
When you choose a hall, they may have a bartender who manages their own sale of drinks, or they may allow you to bring in your own drinks and serve it. In most cases the hall runs the bar, so make sure they have a good variety of alcohol in stock. Generally, the hall rental will be much cheaper if they supply the alcohol since this will create more income for the hall.
If you control the bar there are more risks and possible headaches involved, however, you have the potential to make more money. This will include more work and more initial investment, not to mention liabilities. Make sure that you aware of your city by-laws as well. Have someone you trust serve the drinks who is Smart Served, or you can have a buddy obtain their Smart Serve Certification online for about $35+tax.
Here is a a quote from a spokesperson representing the AGCO (Alcohol & Gaming Commission of Ontario) from this article:
“If someone wants to have a party, the private event [Special Occasions Permit] allows them to serve alcohol at a location where there is no permit. …Alcohol can be sold, but not to make a profit, or it can be served at no charge. Because the event is private, it cannot be advertised. …If the facility does have a permit …the event may be advertised, and alcohol may be sold at a profit since it’s being served by trained staff.”
In this article, she was also quoted saying:
A public event with a special occasion permit, often run by a charity, not for profit organization or religious group, can advertise and profit from the sale of alcohol, with the intent of putting the proceeds back into the community for projects or programs. However, a buck and doe falls under the category of private event, where no advertising is allowed and alcohol isn’t meant to be a money maker.
In this article, they talk about having an expense sheet:
When it comes to alcohol sales, permit holders can’t make a profit. Instead, permit holders will have to come up with an expense sheet outlining how their alcohol revenue will only cover their expenses.
Admission Tickets, Raffle Tickets, Drink Tickets
This varies from town to town, and depends on the average age of the people you expect to come and what would be included in their ticket price. The majority of parties tend to charge around $10 per person or $15 per couple. This number would be higher if you were offering dinner with that. If you are in Welland, the price could be even lower per ticket, whereas in Toronto the price may be $25 per ticket. Just depends on the location!
Some people include on the ticket that by coming to the event in person, they will receive a free grand prize raffle ticket, or maybe 1 drink ticket, in which case you may bump up the price by a couple of bucks.
Another way of coming up with a price, is take the total of how much the DJ, food, and hall will cost, and divide it by how many people you expect will purchase a ticket. This will give you an idea as to how much to charge per ticket. And giving a special price for couples to come is recommended. Your admission ticket sales should cover the cost of those three big items.
Find people who are outgoing, good in the field of sales, who are popular and know lots of people, are not afraid to ask people for things to sell your admission tickets. You should get family members to sell to family members and their friends; friends to sell to their family and friends; coworkers to sell to coworkers and their friends, etc.
Do not have just one person selling the tickets as this is a lot of pressure and not fair to them. Get many people selling them, as it is a lot of work and you will sell more this way. Do not count on people showing up at the door either just because you told them when it would be – always sell tickets in advance even if you are certain they will come. Many people will buy tickets just to show support, but will have no intention of going to the event.
You may want to consider using a ticket spreadsheet to keep track of who is selling which numbered tickets. Encourage as many people as possible to pay upfront, which will help prevent you from confirming an inaccurate number of guests with the hall.
First let me apologize for the picture. It was just too cute to not post here! We certainly do not recommend you beg lol. But you are probably wondering how to get Donations, and we have some great tips.
This is a tricky task – it can be hard to ask for free stuff sometimes, but you have to do it! A party is not a party without prizes! It is imperative that you understand how to ask for Donations for Fundraisers. Think about what kind of donations would best suit your event’s needs. If this party is for a couple in their early 30’s, chances are there will be many couples there in the same age group, so choose age appropriate gifts. A gift card to Laser Tag is probably not going to excite too many people unless they have children nor will it encourage them to pay for a game as a way to win this prize.
How to Start
- Create a list of friends, family, and co-workers who may be able to provide donations for your event – those who may own their own business or hold a management role.
- Do not be afraid to ask people, and probably the best way to do it is face to face rather than on the phone or email. It puts people on the spot a little more and they are more likely to say yes, since it is so easy to type “sorry I cannot help you out”.
- Make it a team effort and get all of your committee members to help.
- Next make a list of local businesses that you hope can provide you with gift certificates or free stuff, and that you think your guests would like to bet on.
- You can always try some free online ads begging for help on some Facebook Stag & Doe pages or through Kijiji, but you won’t get too much of a response that way.
- One of the best ways to get donations at a company where you do not have an “in” is either by asking for it in person at their place of business or by writing a professional letter.
- Any mid-sized to large company may have to clear their donations through their head office with the use of your letter anyhow, so this is probably the best avenue.
Letter Do’s and Don’ts:
- First of all, do not hand write your letter! Type it up and print in advance. Keep it in your car and when you are in the area, drop it off! Give to your committee members too if they live close to the location.
- The letter should say: who you are, the event you are planning, when the event is, why you thought of this particular company, why you love their company, your favourite product, how you anticipate people will react to their gift card/prize, etc.
- Include an actual ticket of the Fundraiser to accompany it – it just shows it is more legitimate.
- Do not make your letter sound vague (I am requesting a donation) but instead be straight to the point and clearly state what you want (I am requesting a gift certificate for $50).
- Do not make it too generic like this one (I am asking for a donation to my stag and doe and appreciate your help). Boring! Make yours stand out because they literally get these weekly if not daily, so make yours stand out from the rest, so they remember you. Make it personal with something they can relate to you about. Talk about how you and your hubby met if it is a romantic story, the kids you have, how much you love shopping there, or a memory of the first time you purchased from them, or a favourite product that you cannot live without. Add a picture of you with your spouse or kids, as it is makes it much more personal.
- Just remember you are in competition with a LOTTTTT of others, so make your letter and story special.
- Sign the letter and include your contact information
Some Other Do’s and Dont’s for Donation Requests
- Go in person wherever possible! It is too easy for people to ignore your email or voicemail, or reply with “sorry cannot help you”. Always bring a typed letter for them, that has their company name printed on it – make it look like an official request.
- Don’t waste your time going to the mall and talking to the managers of places like LuLu Lemon or the Gap which are mostly corporately owned. They won’t do squat for you! Those types of companies only deal with super large fundraisers for the United Way as an example and get inundated with tons of donation requests, so they won’t have time for your tiny Stag & Doe. Sorry, but it’s the truth!
- Stick to restaurants that stand alone and are not in a food court – such as Boston Pizza or another one that you frequent.
- You can attempt to try out some Wineries or smaller businesses that you frequent, such as your massage therapist.
- Splitsville in Hamilton, Steam Whistle in Toronto, and Hooters in Niagara Falls religiously donate without a fight, so go with them too. You can email Steam Whistle and they will mail the tickets to you!
- You can try Molson if you are selling their beer – the usually donate some paraphernalia but not 100% of the time.
- You are better off talking to businesses, that YOU do business with. Get your committee members to help as well, as they will have special businesses that they do business with and might have a relationship with. That helps!
- Get the person’s name that you left your letter with and thank them for their time.
- Then make sure to follow up within 3 days of them receiving the letter, but saying – I am just checking in to see if the request has been reviewed as I am excited to see if you can help!
Other Ways to Get Prizes
- Do not rely solely on donations!
- You may have to spend some money to make money, so look for the sales. BBQ’s, TV’s, iPads, concert tickets, sporting event tickets, gift cards, or even gift baskets are great prizes and they are things that you can usually find on sale.
- Never pay full price for prizes… there are deals everywhere.
How Many Prizes Should I Get
- Be weary of one thing – sometimes people think the more prizes, the better.
- It always looks impressive when the prize tables are absolutely loaded with loot.
- Consider that it takes time to draw a ticket for a prize, so more prizes mean more time drawing, and guests can become agitated.
- If you have a lot of smaller prizes, consider consolidating them into “Prize Packs” or letting the DJ give some away for spot dances – a great way to get your guests up dancing and enjoying themselves.
- A good problem to have, is that you have TOO many prizes to give away.
- If this is your case, then use these prizes for games, rather than giving away money.
- Plan to have 1 huge Grand Prize, 2-3 smaller but still big prizes, and then a Raffle Table of about 20 -30 prizes. You can consolidate some of them into baskets as we mentioned before. Too many, and it will take too long to coordinate. Too little, and nobody will want to buy tickets!
Carrie (owner of Jack of all Spades) just had her own Stag & Doe in June 2018, and 99.9% of her prizes were donated. All. Of. Them. She bought an LCBO gift card for the toonie toss, but besides that, she was not out of pocket for anything. She worked hard, and worked for months getting prizes, she got a quadrillion “NO’s”, but her persistence paid off. Definitely get help though, as its a huge undertaking. Good luck with requesting Donations for Fundraisers!
We hate to say it but if you must know how to sell the most Raffle Tickets at your event… but we are just going to say it. Specifically choose some good looking men and women to sell these tickets. Terrible isn’t it? So shallow! But it works. Ev..ery..time.
Make sure they charm, smile, and hustle for best results. It is good to have a few different colours of Raffle Tickets too, because one girl can have the red tickets, and one girl can have the blue tickets. When the red ticket girl sells tickets to a group of people, the blue ticket girl can come around and ask them to buy tickets from her. When your guests say that they already have some, the blue ticket girl can say, “but you do not have my colour,” with a pouty look on her – works every time!
Typical pricing would be three tickets for $5 or an arms length for $10. Another good option is to also offer $15 for a hug, which means that a pretty girl will hold the tickets in her hands and will hug your guest. When her hands meet around their waist, then that is how many tickets they get. Guys are a sucker for this!
So we recognize how awful these tips are when trying to decide how to sell the most raffle tickets, but just trust us when we say it works.
Need some help with how to run the Raffle Draws? Plan to shut down the games no later than midnight, as you will need time to run the raffle draws. When your guests purchased Raffle Tickets throughout the night, they would walk along the long line of prizes on the Prize Table, and choose which prize(s) they wanted the most. Then they would tear half of their ticket and put it into a Raffle Container that corresponded with that Prize.
One big mistake people make when they have lots of raffle prizes, is that they use a microphone to draw the raffle prizes all at once which stops your party dead. It also drags on and on and on, and it can be annoying. Especially if you are one of those parties that have 100 prizes.
It is a good idea to draw a couple of prizes publicly and either have the DJ announce the other winners in between songs or rent our Dry Erase Boards to post the winning numbers silently. This is a good way to keep the sale of Raffle Tickets going, as your guests will be constantly reminded about the prizes people keep winning. As the night goes on, the prizes get more expensive and more appealing, thus encouraging people to stay longer and spend more money.
Another idea is to have people write their names on the Raffle Tickets before they put them in a Raffle Container. This way, the announcer does not have to read the numbers eight times before people hear him correctly, they will understand a person’s name much easier and it will go faster. Also, if they are not there anymore, you can get them the prize another day. So people don’t have to stick around…. however you kind of want them too! The longer they are there for, the more they will spend on drinks and games, so you choose what is best.
Your drink charges for your guests generally range from $2.50 a drink to $3.50, but this may vary depending on the crowd you are inviting, the kind of drinks you are serving, and the area in which they are from. Jell-O shooters are very popular and generally sell for $1 to $2 a piece and can be sold to people at their tables, rather than waiting for them to come to the bar to buy them. We suggest that you have 3-4 types of beer, 3-4 types of liquor, 3 types of pop, and consider the possibility of coffee, tea, bottled water, and milk as other options for your guests.
On average, each person that shows up may drink 2 to 4 drinks, so you can use this number to judge how many drinks to buy. You have charge more for premium beers if you wish, and you can do this by offering a different coloured Beer Ticket to keep it simple.
If you buy too much, the LCBO and Beer Store will allow returns under some conditions. The AGCO Website says:
When returning unopened alcohol purchased from a government store, you must produce the permit and a copy of your payment records (e.g. receipts and/or invoices). Check with the retailer at which you purchased the alcohol for further details.
Typically, The Beer Store will allow up to 20% of the beer you purchased to be returned, as long as it is a perforated case (not glued), you have your Special Occasions Permit with you, the seals of the case are not broken, and it is a full case that is unopened. The LCBO will allow returns as long as you have your receipt and it can be a saleable item again (not used).
Also one quick note, is we recommend to have a table near the bar off to the side, which has plastic cups and a jug of water. That way the bartender won’t be overwhelmed with orders like this, when people can just do this themselves! Shortens the line a bit and gives them a break. All you have to do is put someone on water duty to ensure it is always full!
Devising a Plan for the Event
This is a hard question, because it depends on:
- The crowd
- Think about who is coming, and what they would enjoy. Also think about how much they will be willing to spend, as games like Blackjack, Roulette and Poker require some more cash than a game like Bullseye. Some people are all about gambling at Casino Tables others just like the easy games that do not require much skill. Have a good mix.
- The logistics of the night
- Think about when you are serving food, and what other surprises you have planned for your guests and try to make the evening flow nicely. Make sure to create a schedule.
- How long your event should last
- We suggest that you continually bring out new games throughout the night to raise excitement and anticipation. Calculate how many hours you expect people to stay, how often you want to bring out more games, and you have got your number.
- The number of guests
- This is purely for illustration purposes and it is just a suggestion, but here are some good guidelines:
- 50-100 people: 3-4 games
- 100-200 people: 4-5 games
- 200-300 people: 5-6 games
- 300 or more: 6+ games
- Note that the number of games suggested above, can include toonie toss and other smaller games, so by no means are we suggesting that you rent 6 games off of us, Most people tend to rent 3-4 from us.
- This is purely for illustration purposes and it is just a suggestion, but here are some good guidelines:
Obviously we are a bit biased when we suggest that you have games, but the games serve a dual purpose as it provides entertainment but it also generates money for you too. We put together a few packages for you – one is called the Customize my Stag & Doe Package and the other is the Supreme Stag & Doe Package. Even though they have the word “Stag & Doe” in them, they would be great for any Fundraiser.
When you are choosing your games, keep in mind that you may want to introduce different games throughout the night to keep it interesting, rather than doing them all at the same time all night. As an example, when guests arrive they may do one round of each game and then sit at a table for the night. But if you keep bringing out new games and get people excited about new tournaments or prizes to win, they will be more likely to keep getting back off their comfortable chair!
Pick enough games that will keep your guests entertained all night, not just for half an hour. This is hard to remember because the idea of making lots of money may keep getting in the way, but the real purpose of the night is to entertain your guests and celebrate the whole reason you are throwing a Fundraiser. If you remember this and provide your guests with great entertainment all night long, the profits will just come.
Music relaxes people and it encourages them to stay longer and spend more money. A home stereo or I-Pod will work if you are under a tight budget, but that can be a lot of work to prepare the songs in advance or have a buddy look after the music selection throughout the night. If you hire a professional DJ, they can help keep your guests happy as well as keep them at the hall longer, which is key. DJ’s are trained to entertain their guests, and they can actually help you earn more money by making announcements throughout the night informing your guests of a new raffle or game that is about to start. They can also get people to participate in games, or they can announce the Door Prize winner’s name. But… they do come with a price.
If you have chosen a DJ, he/she should have a very large selection of music that will work for all age groups. Look at the possibility of hiring the DJ for the wedding as well, as there may be a combo discount. Decide whether you want dancing at this event or if you want your guests to concentrate on games only. If the hall is small and congested with a lot of games and activities going on, there is a good chance that less dancing will take place. However, a good selection of background music to please the guests creates an exciting ambiance. Hire the D.J. from 9pm to 1am – any earlier and you are wasting your money. The majority of guests tend to show up between 9pm and 10pm anyway. For a good D.J. you should pay between $350 and $500 for four hours. We highly recommend checking out Spirit of Sound.
You can bring your own food to the hall, use the caterer at the hall, or find your own caterer. Nobody expects you to make everything, so do not be afraid to ask people to help prepare the food and have a sort of pot luck. Lots of people may offer you help but not know how to help. Ask them to bring an appetizer or even better – give them a few options to choose from.
Some great party food suggestions are: pizza, cracker and cheese trays, deli sandwiches (although these can be a lot of work and money), vegetable trays, fruit trays, potato salad, etc. Try to get foods that you can prepare before hand; do not have to be heated up when you get there; and that are easy for cleanup too. Use disposable containers or foil pans as you have zero clean up when done!
Whatever you do, do not appear “chintzy.” The days of chips, cheesies, and pop won’t cut it on their own! Buy several different munchies that you can put around on the tables, as you may not serve dinner for a couple of hours, and you want to keep your guests happy while they are there.
Designate 1-2 people to be in charge of clearing the used plates and cutlery throughout the night to cut down on the time needed at the end of the night for cleanup.
You definitely cannot do this alone so you need to recruit lots of help! Delegate as much as you can. We find that people want to help, they just don’t know how. So if you can assign certain jobs for people, they will feel helpful and confident that they know what to do.
You will need helpers to:
- Pick up the games from us
- Set up the games
- Organize seating & tables
- Get munchies on all the tables and refill during the night
- Run the games + relief workers for the games
- Sell the drinks (if needed)
- Sell raffle tickets & jello shooters (walking around the room selling)
- Collect admission tickets and money for draws
- Do some food prep
- Serve the food on the buffet table
- Clear the plates
- People to set up your music and take care of that (if you did not hire a DJ)
- Look after the cash that will begin to pile up!
These volunteers should be people you can trust (probably family, coworkers, or close friends), as they will be handling a lot of cash. You should give them free entrance to the event and a couple of free drinks. Ask them not to indulge in alcohol until they are off the clock especially if they are handling money. We offer Dealers to run the games for you – just ask us for a quote.
Most importantly, you need to create a schedule! It will state when your helpers will arrive, when certain games are going to begin and finish, who is running them, who is the backup, when the food will be served, when last call is, who is taking the games home, who is packing up the food, etc.
You may want to post this schedule the night of the event for the volunteers so that everyone can stick to it. Keep in mind that these volunteers will want to have fun as well so give them some free time to enjoy the party.
Figuring out how to set up your hall can be tricky but we have some great tips. Make sure that when you are setting up the tables, they are not all in straight lines like you would see at a bingo hall. Be creative and funky and change it up a bit. Maybe even draw out a layout ahead of time. From experience, we have found that you should have zones for everything: food, games, dance floor, seating area, bar, etc. This makes it easier for your guests to navigate and not miss anything. It also spreads the guests throughout the hall more evenly which will prevent people from feeling closed in and congested. You want people to mingle and walk around rather than stay in one area the whole night.
You should put games like Blackjack, Poker, Roulette and Craps up against the wall so that your guests cannot go beside or behind the dealer and cheat. It is fun to place games like the Jail & Bail in the middle of the room, since it is free standing and will make people notice it. Don’t throw this game in a dark corner – be strategic and place it where people will notice it! A huge dance floor is not needed; you want the attention to be on the games, which is where you make your money. As games start to close at the end of the night around midnight, that is when the dancing may really take off, but probably not before.
First of all, let’s simplify things. Do not allow bets of nickels or dimes or quarters at games. This will eliminate having to have a separate float at each game, and to keep rolls of coins at each game . Instead just deal in loonies and toonies and bills. Keep it simple man!
At the front door when people enter, you will need a large float there to break people’s twenties because that is what most people will start with. Consider renting our Deluxe Cash Box as it separates all the change and bills effectively. You may have 10 people show up at once so you need to make it a smooth transition into the hall and take their money fast!
If you make the admission ticket price $12 for example, you will probably have to keep breaking people’s twenties over and over so plan to have a ton of change. If instead you made the admission price an even number like $10 or $15 or $20, this is more efficient and you will be less likely to make a calculation error.
As far as how much change to prepare for, we really cannot answer that as it depends on how many people you have coming, how much you are charging for games and drinks, etc. Money is money, so if you have too much “change” it is not as though it will go to waste. You just trade it back in for bigger bills when you are done. Just ensure that the front door has a ton of change, and each person manning a game or selling raffle tickets or jello shooters will wear a money apron, so they too will need a small float. Throughout the night they can get more change if they run out from the front door people who carry a larger float. You will want them to empty out the money collected thus far too, to minimize the amount of cash being carried around and possibly lost!
If you are playing a Toonie Toss game, you CAN reuse the toonies, so don’t go crazy on having TONS of toonie change. People never think of this!