Do-It-Yourself Fundraiser Ideas: Host a Special Dinner

Fundraising Dinner

A Special Dinner Event, such as an awards dinner, or a Valentines Day Date Night, is a classic do it yourself fundraiser idea. This article presents some hints and cautions when planning this type of event, plus ideas from visitors to our site, below. Click here to jump directly to the contributed ideas.

This do-it-yourself fundraiser is one of the best ways to raise extra money around any holiday, especially Valentine's Day, since couples are already looking to go out for a special evening. If you can offer childcare, your event may be a blessing to stressed-out parents of young children who otherwise wouldn't spend a romantic evening together.

To Raise the Maximum Amount - Control Costs

The cost of this do-it-yourself fundraiser can be low, if your group prepares the meals; higher if you must hire a catering service, higher still if you can't hold the event on Church property and have to hire space. Don't forget about entertainment if you're hosting a romantic evening. The amount you will be able to raise depends on how many tickets you can sell times the ticket price, less expenses. If you provide a higher level of service, with live music and professional catering, for instance, you can charge a higher ticket price. However, keep in mind that your expenses will also be higher. You might actually raise more money by holding a less ambitious event.

If you prepare the meal yourselves, and hold the event in your Church hall, your principal cost will be food, service items (plates, tableware, table cloths, serving trays), decorations, such as flowers and streamers, etc. and the cost of entertainment. Make sure that you have calculated your costs in advance and negotiate! Be meticulous about small costs; they can add up quickly.

Leverage Relationships

Don't forget to consult experienced event sponsors within your congregation. They can provide a wealth of advice to help you be successful the first time out. For instance, there may be established relationships with local merchants who donate items for free, or at a discount. In my case, a parish a member's brother owns a signage business. Given enough lead-time, he is happy to donate the large banners that we display near the street, in front of the Church. And the florist that provides our Altar flowers gives us table bouquets at a steep discount. Neglect to ask, and you may end up feeling foolish, but what's worse, you'll have raised less money than you could have.

You may still need to approach merchants where your Church doesn't have a relationship. When you contact these businesses, be sure to mention that you are purchasing the product or service for a fundraiser. Even if it's a national chain store, talk to the manager. They may be willing to give you a discount, especially if you can provide a mention in the event program.

Planning and Teamwork

Many do-it-yourself fundraisers are less successful, most often due to poor planning. Once you have determined that you can sell enough tickets at a price that will provide a decent profit to justify the effort, get busy! Assemble your volunteers and form teams. Select team leaders who are organized, enthusiastic, and most importantly, reliable. You'll want teams to manage entertainment, decorations, food preparation, publicity, the program (if you have one), and be sure to have a team in charge of clean-up! Check in with your team leaders frequently to ensure that problems are identified and resolved early. And have fun with it. Remember, it's for a good cause!

DIY Fundraising Ideas - Special Dinners

Do you have advice or stories about fundraising for your ministry with a special dinner event? We'd love to hear about how you succeeded, or even failed. Sharing your story will help anyone planning a similar idea.

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Contributed DIY Special Dinner Fundraising Stories or Ideas

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

The Food Taste Fundraiser Not rated yet
The Food Taste Fundraiser is one of my most favourite fundraisers. And if you have kids you can have a lot fun with it.

First of all you will need a …

Tips For Belarus 
This was an Awesome! experience, not just a fundraiser, for our Junior and Senior Youth on Missions group. Our church sponsored missionaries to Belarus …

Dinner and a Movie Not rated yet
Very fun and inexpensive night out with my wife, and a great do it yourself fundraiser for our Church.

I attend Plainview Baptist Church located on …

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