Fundraising banquets can provide a relatively easy yet elegant way to raise needed money for your cause. Since many people regularly go out for a nice dinner, advertise your banquet date early to increase the number of people that will attend. To make your banquet even more spectacular, plan some fundraising opportunities with silent auctions, special guests and media events that will make your banquet profitable and memorable.
To make the most of your fundraising banquet, arrange for some high-profile guests to come and say a few words. Any well-known politician, sports figure or local celebrity will add interest to your banquet and will entice people to pay a bit more for tickets. Invite your special guests early and coordinate the date of your banquet with their busy schedule. Let them know in advance that you want them to speak and be open to negotiating their responsibilities at your banquet. On your advertisements, let people know they will get a chance to meet and talk to your special guests. Verify the number of people your venue will comfortably seat, so you can sell the right amount of tickets to raise the funds you need.
To raise additional funds, contact local businesses to ask for donations of services or items you can auction off at your banquet. Clearly state the purpose of your fundraiser and the good publicity they will receive by participating at your banquet. Ideas for services or items for your silent auction could include golf passes to a nearby resort, salon or spa services, a television set, gift baskets or gift cards. On advertisements for your fundraising banquets, give special notice to the businesses who donated items for the silent auction. Invite people from these businesses to your banquet, and introduce each one to your crowd. Give everyone time before and after the main course to browse and bid on the services and items offered. After dessert, announce the winners and thank everyone for their support.
To create a special moment for your guests to connect with the reason for your fundraising banquet, prepare a media presentation about your cause and tell your guests how they can personally help. A well-made video can help show the need for and benefits of raising money for this cause. For instance, if you are raising money for a children's home, show a video of children from that particular home, so your guests can see first-hand the difference they can make. If using your banquet to raise funds for a building project, show your guests the proposed project and how it will make life better. Video some sincere testimonies from people your fundraiser will affect. At the end of your banquet, pass out pledge cards to your guests for them to make a one-time gift, a monthly donation, or a personal gift of their time for your cause. Follow up by sending personal thank-you notes to everyone who made a pledge at your fundraising banquet.
Rebecca Bagwell is an educator with a bachelor's degree in secondary education from Trinity Baptist College. She has taught in China and the United States. While overseas she started writing articles in 2006 for bilingual trade journals. Now, she lives in the South where she homeschools and writes freelance articles encouraging creative approaches to education.