How to Plan a Fundraiser
You got your venue, you got your date, but now… you need to Plan a Fundraiser! Not sure what to do next? Follow the tips on this page which will guide you towards your next steps.
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!