The way to a contributor's wallet also happens to be via the stomach. Feed people for a cause and you've established the right mix of fun, camaraderie and vittles--an irresistible combination. Make sure you've plenty of napkins on hand so no barbecue sauce winds up on those checks.
Muster lots of volunteer help to stage your barbecue fundraiser. Invite the crew to a planning meeting. Ask for suggestions for accomplishing critical tasks: finding a venue that offers both outdoor access and sheltered facilities in the event of rain, set-up, the acquisition of food, equipment and supplies and a post-event cleanup schedule. Assign one volunteer to obtain the permit/license necessary for the event to be held on public property.
Print out tickets to your chicken barbecue fundraiser as soon as the date, time and venue have been nailed down. Open a bank account if none exists for your organization and set up a rudimentary accounting system (e.g., an Excel spread sheet) to track receipts and expenses. Appoint volunteers to plan games and entertainments for guests of all ages. Ask supporters to supply prizes.
Promote your chicken barbecue fundraiser aggressively. Send press releases to local media, hang flyers on church, school, supermarket and other bulletin boards, set up a ticket-selling competition between your volunteer force and encourage everyone to keep a supply of tickets with them for spur-of-the-moment sales opportunities.
Track cash totals and estimate of the number of guests you'll host at your chicken barbecue fundraiser as the date nears. Obtain bids from wholesale chicken purveyors. Reserve barbecues from local rental companies if volunteers aren't able to supply them. Shop a warehouse club for plates, utensils, napkins and other disposable serving essentials.
Order tubs of side dishes from a local resource if volunteers have not been tapped for donations of potato salad, slaw, baked beans, corn, desserts and other standard barbecue fare. Contact a beverage purveyor to place an order for soft drinks. Order kegs of beer if you've obtained a license to serve liquor when you applied for your event permit.
Ask volunteers to arrive early on the big day. Assign responsibility for picking up tables, chairs, barbecues and other large items to those with trucks. Set up a music system. Station lots of garbage bins around the venue and ask volunteers to keep things tidy by policing the area regularly. Thank contributors and volunteers for their gifts of money, goods and time that made your event a grand success.
Hold a post-event meeting to assess how the chicken barbecue fundraiser did in terms of profit and organizational effort. Plan to repeat the event down the road if everyone agrees. Don't serve chicken at your post-event meeting--hard-working volunteers would welcome pizza at this point.
Based in Chicago, Gail Cohen has been a professional writer for more than 30 years. She has authored and co-authored 14 books and penned hundreds of articles in consumer and trade publications, including the Illinois-based "Daily Herald" newspaper. Her newest book, "The Christmas Quilt," was published in December 2011.