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How to Host a Dinner Fundraiser

By Edited Apr 8, 2014 1 1

Of the many good fundraising ideas that could be planned and executed in order to help best further the mission and goals of a non profit organization, hosting a dinner fundraiser can be a great way to facilitate a very generous and heart warming atmosphere. Even though there can be many demands placed on a host of such an event, fundraising for charity can be an extremely beneficial endeavor for the non profit organization that you are involved with. Whether you work for the particular organization that you will be fundraising for, or you have decided to altruistically hold a dinner, with the permission of the focal non profit organization, this Info Barrel article will help get your started in your charity dinner fundraising endeavors.

Things You Will Need

  • Connections within the Non Profit Organization
  • A suitable venue
  • Entertainment
  • Food
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Step 1

Regardless of your relation to the particular non profit organization, it is important that you first begin this process of planning and executing a charitable dinner fundraiser by forming relationships with people who work closely with the cause or charity. If you actually work for the non profit organization this will be much easier than had you decided to host a charitable dinner fundraiser without any real internal connections. It will be these very people that best understand the mission and goals of the non profit organization, and they can provide for you support throughout the planning and executing phases of you charitable dinner event. Once you begin to know these people personally, be sure that you keep record of their names so that they can ultimately be invited to your dinner.

Step 2

Many issues may or may not affect your decision of where to actually host your charitable dinner fundraiser. If pricing is an issue, which it very well may be, you may have to explore connections that you have established already who may be able to link you up with someone who can offer a particular venue for free. Of consideration for viable and suitable venues are churches, school gymnasiums, or perhaps even a local fire hall, which could be accessed free of charge simply by working your way through your own connections. While you may need to be prepared for a few phone calls, having a suitable venue will be critical before you can move on to setting a date and time for your dinner fundraiser.

Step 3

As much as you would probably love to maintain complete control and oversight over your planning dinner fundraiser, there is no way you can realistically do this unless you have an army of workers who are willing to fight for the cause in the trenches. The success of your fundraising dinner will ultimately hinge on how energetic and reliable your volunteers are. Just as much as they will rely on your for the coordination, oversight, and general planning on this charitable fundraising dinner event, you will rely on them to execute the tasks that you deem essential to a successful dinner. These tasks may consist of doing things like greeting and seating guest, or setting up chairs and tables, and tearing them down at the conclusion of the event.

Many people love to volunteer, especially when they know that their effort will be instrumental in helping to further the mission and goals of a worthy endeavor. Young and old alike can be recruited simply by collaborating with churches and schools to include a short written statement, or advertisement, in their bulletins or newsletters. If the non profit organization, itself, has any means of securing volunteers this would certainly be a viable option to help gain the involvement or local people who want to become involved but don't know how.

Step 4

As if learning how to organize a fundraiser dinner wasn't enough of a task, you will really have to get into the trenches by seeking the involvement of local businesses. In this step, you will have to determine if you will want to approach this step on your own, or if you would like to involve your volunteers. If they deem the cause worthy, most businesses would love to donate items that can be given away or auctioned off to dinner attendees. When speaking to these businesses, it may be beneficial, and present a compelling case for their involvement, to tell them exactly how being involved with ultimately benefit them. Regardless of how worthy your dinner and cause may be, businesses are businesses and should, at the very least, be offered some degree of free advertising in return for their generosity. Be creative in how you wish to execute this by considering all the resources you have available to you that could serve a duel function of marketing and advertising benefit to the businesses for their generous involvement: offering free advertisement on tables or within the fundraiser dinner program.

Step 5

Advertising your charitable fundraiser dinner is essential and can take many forms. While many will swear by offline methods, such as having it included in church bulletins or school newsletters, online methods of advertising can be really quite effective, as well. Where millions of people worldwide congregate and interact on Facebook, you can easily create an event for your fundraiser dinner, invite your Facebook friends, and then encourage them to do the same. With this method, word of your dinner can really spread quite expeditiously, and you can also use Facebook itself to help you gain a rough estimate of those who will be attending. Of course, your ultimate way of gauging how many people will be in attendance will be by sending out RSVP mailouts that will be necessary to be mailed back (to you) by a specified time and date.

Step 6

Fundraising dinner activities should essentially be structured around providing a welcoming and inviting atmosphere that will prove the worthiness of the event, and encourage people to part with their money. By involving items and products of value, that have been donated by local businesses, you can hold a raffle for these items in order to help raise more funds. Oftentimes, the lure of at least one high priced item will cause some to purchase many tickets just to increase their likelihood of winning that prize. If you have any means or resources to include hot electronic gifts, such as a video game system, or an iPod, that would certainly be ideal and could definitely encourage people to purchase more tickets.

While dinner is being served and consumed, be sure to plan activities that flow right through in order to best maximize the funds received from your fundraising efforts.

Step 7

With your fundraiser dinner activities planned, your volunteers you enlisted early can help you with the decorations. A degree of common sense should be applied when decorating, as it relates to your scheduled events. If you feel that you cannot do all your decorating on the day of the event, you may have to coordinate sufficiently enough to have it completed the day or night prior. A nicely decorate venue can certainly create a warm and inviting atmosphere that will make attendees more inclined to part with their money for a worthy cause.

Holding a charitable dinner fundraiser can be a great way to help raise money for a worthy cause. Along with these notions of positive sentiment, however, come the planning and logistics behind the execution which could vary from miniscule to really quite grand in scale.

Tips & Warnings

When reserving a suitable venue, be sure that you have a rough estimate of the amount of people that will be in attendance. You should certainly consider choosing a venue that will hold a greater capacity of people, rather than be surprised on the day of your fundraising dinner only to find that you won't have even room to seat all your invited guests in attendance. Generally speaking, you should definitely have a rough estimate of the people that will be attending prior to actually reserving a venue for your event.

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Comments

Sep 5, 2010 11:43pm
Deborah-Diane
I have been the chairwoman for several fundraiser dinners, and this article gives excellent information to anyone who may find themselves chairing a similar event. The organizations I have been involved with always pass a notebook on to the next chairperson, so that they don't have to "reinvent the wheel" every year.
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