Selecting the Right Location for a Fundraiser
Choosing the best location is a very important decision, one that you don’t want to overlook. We have a few tips to help you choose the best venue for your event. Click on the questions below that interest you which will reveal our answer.
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.