Fundraising

Every origination could use more money.  It is hard work for someone to raise the money your organization need to accomplish it’s goals.

The purpose of these notes is to serve as a guide to anyone planning a party as a fundraising event. There are certain points listed that might not be applicable to your event. However, we have attempted to address the typical scenarios an organizer will likely encounter.

Table of Contents
1. Goal
2. Revenues
3. Expenses

 

Generally when asked the question, “How much money would you like to raise at this event?” most hosts realize that they haven’t given it enough thought. Having a realistic goal of how much money you would like to raise is the key starting point. It should determine the price of your entrance fee and the limit of your expenses.

Decide how much money you would like to make from this event.
Draft a statement of your proposed Revenue and Expenses.

Obviously the key is to maximize your revenue and minimize your expenses. As fundamental as this concept is, most organizations disregard it when running one of these events.

2. Revenues
Revenue for a fund-raiser will typically take the form of one, some, or all of the following:

Sponsorships
Ticket sales
Table sponsorship
Drink sales
Food
Auctions
Additional script purchases

Sponsorships: Presenting Sponsor, Gold sponsor and so on.  The larger the sponsorship the more they get for their money.  Presenting sponsor might get a table for 10 and 50 (5 each) $1,000 fun money bills as well as headline advertising in all of your printed and online material.

Bottom Line: This is usually your primary source of revenue and the financial success of your event depends on meeting your goal.

Ticket Sales:
Delegate the task of ticket sales to more than one person. It is far easier for 20 people to each sell 10 tickets than it is for 1 person to sell 200 tickets. Hold each of these 20 people responsible for the sale of their allotment of tickets.

Table Sponsorship:

Find at least one table sponsor for each casino table being used and the sponsored amount should generally be at least $250. Encourage your sponsors to provide “gag” gifts that promote their business to be distributed at “their” table. For example – a blackjack table sponsored by a dentist could give away a free toothbrush (with the sponsor’s name imprinted) for each blackjack that is dealt. Or, the dealer could be dressed in the sponsor uniform. Make your sponsors feel as though they are getting value for their donation and not only are they more likely to attend the event, getting a similar sponsorship the next year will be much easier.
Bottom Line: Table sponsorship should cover at least the entire rental cost of the casino equipment and staff.

Drink Sales:
This will vary depending on the “upscaleness” of your event. Ticket prices and what people are getting for their money will generally determine whether guest’s drinks are included in the ticket price or if they need to pay for them. Typically, the more expensive the entrance fees the less likely you are to charge additional for drinks. On “drink inclusive” events a limited bar (beer, wine, soda) is suggested to curb costs. On other events entrance fee usually includes two “drinks tickets” which are typically redeemed at a rate of one ticket for a soft drink and two tickets for wine or beer. Additional drinks require the purchase of more drink tickets.
Bottom Line: Drinks can vary between being a good source of revenue to being a very large expense. Manage your bar wisely.

Food:
This follows a similar format to your drinks.
Bottom Line: Don’t leave people feeling “short changed” because of poor quality or insufficient food. However, don’t spend all your money on providing a spectacular meal because that is not the focus of this type of evening.

 Silent Auction:
These are often incorporated into a casino evening, use smaller donated items and services for the silent auction.  Use both a silent auction and a live auction.  We have some agreements with companies who offer no risk auctions items, if you sell the item for a profit, you make money, if you don’t sell it for enough, you can return it and they pay shipping both ways.  No risk to you.  One contact is http://www.casinopartyitems.com  You can also purchase any item for their asking price and use it in a raffle.
Advantages:
Opportunity to raise more money

Disadvantages:
Requires additional sponsors to donate auction items
Much more organization and coordinating involved
Guest often feel “hit-up” two or three times in one evening
Bottom Line: Silent auctions are often the backbone of revenues generated at fundraising parties. However, they do require a lot of time and effort to coordinate successfully. Delegate at least one person whose sole responsibility is to manage the silent auction of the event.

Live Auction:
Live auctions can generate a tremendous amount of revenue for the event, if done correctly.  There are several key ingredients to a successful live auction.  Maintain a captive audience – shut down all other activity during this time (after the casino closes or before the casino opens for the night)  Shorter is better – your live auction should run no more than 30-40 minutes
Less is more – have only a few; generally less than 10 – high ticket items for auction. Use a dynamic auctioneer.  We know one who will often donate his time and do your auction at no cost for the auctioneer.   Always include a cute little puppy, to be done right, the puppy should be there before the guests, with a cute little girl giving everyone the chance to pet the puppy, someone will have to have it.  I saw one sell recently for $8,000.00 that was donated to the organization,  the same donor gave the group a sibling to sell to the second high bidder who paid $6,500.00 for it. They usually will sell for really good prices and they do not need to be registered or fancy, just cute.  Often you can get one donated.  If you want to add one or two really unique item check out the no risk auction items at http://www.casinopartyitems.com/ they have over 10,000 items you can use in your auction and if you sell it for more than they are asking, you make money, it you don’t sell it for enough, you can return the item and they pay shipping both ways.
Bottom Line: Keep the live auction short and it can be very, very sweet.

Additional Script:
As part of their entrance fee guests are usually given an initial “stake” of script or funny money. If they lose this initial stake they should have the option of acquiring more money for a token “donation.” This is an additional source of revenue though generally not to the extent that hosts expect it to be. Primarily because guest, for the most part, gamble conservatively.  You want to give your guests a sense of having received value for their entrance ticket so be sure to include enough script money in their package. I suggest a minimum amount of $1,000 in fun money. Anything less and guest might feel a little “short changed.” Much more than this and you greatly reduce the likelihood of many people purchasing more script. Regarding the purchase of additional script: Make the additional “donation” an amount that is a round number and covered by a single bill ($10, $20,$50 etc.).
Bottom Line: Keep the “donation” to an amount that encourages people to get more script rather than setting it too high and not having anyone buy in again.

  1. Expenses:
    Again, the fundamental rule regarding expenses is to keep them to a minimum without compromising your event.

Typical expenses incurred hosting a casino event:
Facility costs

Decorations and props  (check out shindigz.com and Party Pro Rentals here in Tulsa)
Casino equipment rental and dealers
Beverage costs
Food costs
Insurance
Security
Clean Up
All the points addressed below carry the same caveat: “without compromising your event”
Facility Costs:
Invariably, free would be great.  Attempt to secure a facility at little or no cost to your event. There are generally several organizations that are open to making their facility available at little or no charge.

Decorations and Props: again check out  www/Shindigz.com
Often balloons and streamers or ribbon will suffice when decorating the event facility. Always weigh up the cost of any props you are considering using. People are typically not at your event for the decorations. Solicit donations if possible however, prioritize a table sponsorship donation ahead of a prop donation almost every time.

Casino Equipment Rental:

Provide the casino operator with accurate head counts so the appropriate amount of equipment is supplied. Too much equipment on hand results in a bigger expense and having too few tables to accommodate your guests is one of the surest ways to spoil your event.  We at Casino Nights of Tulsa will adjust the number of tables down by 25% if you don’t need as many tables as you had planned for up to one week prior to your party (unless your party is on a Friday or Saturday night in December before Christmas).  And we can almost always increase the number of tables with a few days’ notice.  This can really be helpful.

Beverage Costs:
Arrange with your beverage supplier to be able to return all unopened bottles. This way you only have to pay for the beverages you have sold.

Insurance:
Some facilities might require a one-night insurance coverage policy for your event,especially if you are not being charged for the venue.

Security:
The same applies to security and parking. This will vary with different locations and

I have seen this (or rather things very similar to this).  The goal is to get a jewelry store to donate the goods (both real and fake). For jewelry, make it where they have to take it into the store to see if it’s real or not.

I’ve seen clients sell 100 envelops, in 10 of the 100 envelops there are keys, and they line up at the end of event, and of course, only one of the keys will open the lock box that displays the diamond necklace, or cash, or what ever “teaser” prize you have. (There is usually something small in all the envelops so everyone gets at least something).

If you are a true charity in Oklahoma, you are allowed to have a lottery, you could sell lottery chances for several weeks before the party, then at the party and have the drawing at the party.  One nice prize (donated if possible) would be nice, or several smaller prizes would work too.  If you want a copy of the Oklahoma Charitable Lottery Act, I can get it for you.

Do not sell anything too cheap.  Many of you guests are there to help support your organization and don’t mind the prices.