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Managing a Fundraiser
by Kimberly Reynolds
Looking for a fun fundraising event to raise money for your nonprofit, church, or favorite cause? A Mardi Gras Fundraiser could be just the thing.
The basic premise is fairly simple - a fun night where adults can enjoy good music and great food while letting their hair down with some outrageous costumes and the requisite major bead necklaces.
You'll need a large meeting hall with room for live music or at least a DJ booth. Use a local party rental shops for tables and chairs, etc. and book everything you need well ahead of time.
Contact a local restaurant with New Orleans style food with a partnership offering - they provide the food at a reasonable cost and get some great exposure to potential patrons. You might also want to look into conducting a live Cajun cooking demonstration if local regulations permit it.
Arrange for music with a Mardi Gras flavor and if you can find a live act, feature them in your promotional activities.
There are lots of ways to raise money at your Mardi Gras Fundraiser. Price your admission tickets to cover all your expenses. Consider offering two different price levels - with dinner and without.
You can add a wine tasting to your event where guests pay extra to sample wines with a New Orleans link. Include a cash bar provided local regulations permit one.
Approach local business for items to auction. For the more expensive items, conduct a live auction with a professional auctioneer. Use silent auctions for other items by placing them on tables with bid sheets. Encourage everyone to bid early and often!
You can sell raffle tickets for a grand prize drawing at the end of the night. You can also offer multiple prizes which allows you to price the raffle tickets higher and raise more money.
Raffle tickets can also be sold before the event with winners not being required to attend. This works particularly well if you have a worthy prize such as trip to New Orleans.
Put together a press release announcing your event and get it to all the local newspaper, radio, and television stations. Highlight your them, promote your cause, prominently feature your restaurant partner, and play up your live band.
Be sure to provide full contact information as well as the who, what, when, where, why, and how of the event. If you're doing pre-event raffle ticket sales, mention that as well.
Follow up your press release distribution with a phone call to the top media outlets. Ask for the person who screens them, such as an associate producer at a radio station. Try for some on air coverage with a unique newsworthy angle.
A Mardi Gras night makes a fantastic fundraising event where a good time is guaranteed for all attendees. This theme allows lots of additional fundraising activities such as auctions, wine tasting, gourmet food, and raffles.
A good location, excellent food, and a live band will make your Mardi Gras Fundraiser a night to remember!
About the Author:
Kimberly Reynolds writes for national publications about school fundraisers, having a Mardi Gras fundraiser and fundraising events. Find more school fundraising how-to's on her website, FundraiserHelp.com
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