Many groups and churches use meals to raise money. There are special considerations that come into play when this happens:
Donations: Someone should be in charge of soliciting donated food for the event. There must be a deadline for this to be done, in order that a reasonable estimate can be prepared of the items that must be purchased.
Delivering: One person is needed to coordinate this, in order to ensure that all the volunteers receive the food they have agreed to cook in their own kitchens.
Volunteer list: One person is needed to coordinate the volunteers.
Volunteers: For really big gigs, there should also be a coordinator for each of the following: Setup, Cooking, Serving, Cleaning, Pickup of Cooked items, Cleanup after dinner is served. and transportation of Volunteers if necessary.
Setting a Budget
Fundraising activities can be a growth opportunity that can allow members of a group to become closer. But, at the end of the day, the whole point of fundraising is to raise a bit of money for a group or a cause. This can only be done by setting a realistic budget and monitoring costs. At the risk of stating the obvious, a fundraiser is only a success if it raises funds. Sheesh!
How to set a basic food budget:
A. Plan an achievable menu
B. Make a practice shopping list.
C. Take the list and a calculator and go to the local stores.
Add up the totals. If you don’t do this professionally for a living, add on 33% of the total. This should cover the things you forgot to include on the list (seasoning, packaging, cleaning supplies, etc.)
D. Set a realistic goal for how many meals you should sell
E. Set a price for the meals.
It is a fundraiser if the amount you anticipate recovering for the meals is more than the total you expect to pay for the food and materials. If not, try revising the menu and the ticket prices.
Tried and true fundraiser tactics:
You need to have “start up” money in your club budget to pay for the food before the meal.
Make a seasonal menu. Food is cheaper in season.
Go to your local wholesalers and ask if you can purchase any items from them. Even big businesses like to keep community goodwill.
Use every connection. If someone on your committee coaches the local hockey team or is a guide leader, odds are to even some of the parents can be good contacts.
Sell tickets in advance if possible. Have a cut off date and get the money before the event.
Send thank you letters to business that cut you a deal. That will pave the road for next year.
Don’t book events for long weekends. The people who don’t go away will be going to weddings.
Keep the menu simple and the ticket prices reasonable. People go to church and community suppers because they are a good buy, not for the fine dining experience.