Raise money '50s style with a '50s-themed dinner-dance party. With careful preparation, it is easy to make this experience one that everyone, old and young, will find worth the price. Profits originate from admission prices, diner-food purchases, vendor purchases and donations.
An overall admission charge will give participants access to the various activities and will be the largest source of revenue for the evening. A dance should take place in the largest, most central location in the venue. A professional DJ can be hired, but is not required. A simple play list can be established on a computer that will keep music playing throughout the event. Include music from popular '50s artists such as Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis. If available, volunteers familiar with '50s-style dancing could provide dance instruction for donations. If additional space is available, consider showing movies or having a carnival-style attraction. To simulate the outdoor, drive-in movie experience, consider using a projector to display movies on a large screen outdoors. For a carnival, have volunteers operate attractions like a dunk tank, bean bag toss, fortune telling and others.
In one area, establish a diner. Serve popular '50s foods such as hamburgers, hot dogs, grilled-cheese sandwiches, onion rings and fries. Serve root-beer floats, milkshakes and Coca-Cola. If movies are being shown, it may also be beneficial to establish concession stands and sell popcorn and candy. To lend added authenticity to the event, these foods could be priced at their actual '50s prices with a request for additional donations. Make certain that many donation jars are spread throughout the event to receive additional funds. Volunteers in '50s attire should take orders and deliver food to customers on roller skates. Other decorations should include food being served in red plastic baskets with red and white checkered liners, as well as checkered tablecloths. Serve beverages in red plastic cups for easier cleanup.
Inviting vendors to participate in the event will increase profitability. Many businesses may be willing to set up a vendor booth and sell items. Be sure to establish, in writing, the percentage of profits that will be given to the fund raising organization from each sale. Consider inviting costume shops to sell period clothing. Music and movie retailers may have popular '50s items in stock that they can sell. A toy store can provide popular '50s toys, such as Mr. Potato Head, hula hoops, Frisbees and ant farms.