How to Plan a Great Taste of the Town Fundraiser
This is a great fundraiser not only because it involves food, but because it likely won’t be obvious that you are trying to raise money. With this fundraising idea, the fundraiser is the event, as opposed to most other fundraisers in which the fundraiser is in addition to a central event.
The Taste of the Town fundraising event is essentially a community food sampling event in which local chefs prepare their specialties and offer taste tests to Taste of the Town participants.
Ask chefs to donate their time and possibly their ingredients (bear in mind that they’ll get a lot of free advertising by manning a table that a large number of community members will see in addition to the great press coverage that this event generates). If they are not able to donate their ingredients, you can offer to subsidize ingredient costs with event revenue. Also, as this fundraiser has the potential to bring a lot of business to local restaurants, consider asking the local chamber of commerce to sponsor the event. Get other sponsors involved and consider getting a local radio personality to emcee the event for free.
Be sure to try to recruit chefs from restaurants in your town, city, etc. that are generally considered too expensive by many people. Remember, people want to sample new foods, not foods they’re used to.
Besides sponsorships (discussed above), you can raise money with this fundraiser in a number of different ways:
- You can have people buy tickets that permit them to try food samples. For example, if someone bought three tickets, they could try three food samples that they choose. Be sure to make people buy tickets at a central ticket desk and not from the food stations. Why? Simply put, you’ll raise more money; if people buy tickets directly from the food stations, they’ll only buy as many tickets as they need (essentially they’ll just be buying the item of food and a ticket wouldn’t be necessary). However, if people buy their food tickets at a central desk, they are likely to overbuy. If they inadvertently buy too few tickets, they can buy more. If they inadvertently overbuy, they can’t sell them back; they must use them, let them go to waste or give them away. Also, make sure you provide quantity discounts in order to encourage people to buy large numbers of tickets (i.e. one ticket costs $1, but five tickets cost $4).
- The second way to raise money with this fundraiser is similar to the first way except that instead of buying individual food sample tickets, you buy an entry ticket for a flat price which entitles you to a certain amount of food samples (let’s say five food samples). If you want to eat more samples than that, you can purchase extra tickets as described above. Make sure that the entry tickets cost more than the sum of the food samples they represent if the food samples were purchased a la carte. For example, if you value a food sample ticket at $1 (purchased a la carte) and you decide that an entry ticket should entitle someone to five samples, don’t price the entry tickets at $5; price them at $8. You are essentially charging for entry to the event and for the food samples, but you can describe the ticket as an “entry ticket that entitles you to five food samples.” This ensures that even those who don’t eat a lot contribute to your cause.
- With so many people in attendance, it would be wise to consider running a raffle of some sort. Not only is it a great way to raise more money from a large crowd, but stopping all tasting for “the big raffle drawing” would change the tone of the event and make it more exciting.
To see a great overview of a highly successful Taste of the Town event held by the St. Andrew Catholic School in Myrtle Beach, SC, see below:
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