The Pomerantz Foundation specializes in organizing events to raise funds for children in need. They have held 12 golf tournaments, a Queen Flash outdoor concert and many other events, helping raise over $5,000,000 which the Pomerantz Foundation has distributed to over 30 charities.
Based on his experiences, Terry Pomerantz offers advice on how to do a BBQ fundraiser.
How does a barbecue raise money for a good cause?
As with any fundraiser, it is the cause that you are funding that will first attract the interest and support of your guests to your barbecue fundraiser. “Causes such as underprivileged children, abused women, support for seniors and medical research will win the hearts of your target audience and when you win their hearts, you win their generosity!” says Terry Pomerantz enthusiastically.
Terry continues, “But why would all these people come when they could just write a cheque? It’s the combination of the cause you’re supporting and the originality of the fundraising event that will motivate your guests to participate and make the event a financial success.”
What do you need to do a BBQ fundraiser?
Here are the elements that Terry Pomerantz considers essential to the organization of a successful barbecue fundraiser.
- Identify the cause for which you are raising funds. To which organization will the funds be donated? The awareness and reputation of these charities is fundamental to the credibility of your BBQ fundraiser.
- Find a team of volunteers who are experienced in organizing charity events.
- Contact the non-profit organizations you want to help to get their agreement and cooperation.
- Identify your objectives:
- The amount that you will give to the charities you want to help,
- The number of participants you need to reach your financial goal,
- Your expenses – the costs of doing your barbecue fundraiser,
- The sponsors that will allow you to substantially reduce costs.
- Find a location for the event. For example, your barbecue fundraiser could be held at a vineyard, orchard, country-style restaurant or outdoor centre.
- Define the concept of your fundraiser. Your event should be original. For example, your BBQ fundraiser will be unique if you make it a competition between 4 or 5 famous chefs! If they are interested in the cause and if the profile of the participants corresponds to that of their clientele, there is a good chance that these chefs will participate free of charge and that their restaurant will even be one of the sponsors of your BBQ fundraiser.
- Recruit sponsors. What matters here is not quantity, but rather relevance. For example, if you are organizing a BBQ, the participating restaurants and their suppliers can sponsor some of the food: an importer (or the winery where the event is held) can sponsor the wine, a brewery can provide the beer, etc. The contribution of your sponsors will help offset some of the costs and maximize the profits for the benefit of the organization you support.
- Recruit a team of volunteers to take care of logistics, from welcoming the chefs and guests, to setting up the kitchen equipment as well as storing the food and keeping the place clean. The event must run smoothly. Everything must be pleasant and impeccable.
- Determine the price you will charge your guests for participating in your BBQ fundraiser. During the event, create as many fun opportunities as possible to solicit the generosity of your guests. This could include selling tickets for door prizes such as a meal for 2 at one of the guest chefs’ restaurants, an additional donation to fund a specific area of the organization’s work, or a silent auction.
- You can end the evening with a show or a dance party. Use the stage to thank sponsors, guest chefs, volunteers and participants. Also take this opportunity to give the floor to representatives of the organisation to which the proceeds of the barbecue event will go. Your guests will appreciate these testimonials.
- Another key element is to have good administrators and excellent accountants among your volunteers because yes, controlling costs and profits is just as important as the quality of the organisation of the event.
- Only after the essential elements of organising your barbecue fundraiser are covered do you issue your invitations to participate in the event!
How to communicate about your fundraiser?
Communication is one of the most important organizational elements of a successful fundraiser. Terry recommends choosing targeted communications that speak directly to your guests. He also suggests focusing your efforts on your core target audience, which is likely to be your friends, business partners, co-workers and members of the non-profits you are raising money for!
Use inexpensive and effective media. This can be a website dedicated to your barbecue fundraiser, a private group on social networks, newsletters, personalised emails and even a written letter, a medium that is not often used these days, but still has undeniable prestige.
Also be sure to promote your event within the charitable organization you’ve decided to help. Advertising your BBQ fundraiser in the restaurants whose chefs you invite may also attract several their loyal customers to your barbecue event. In all your communications, be sure to highlight sponsors and volunteers.
After the event, use the same media to announce the results and thank donors, collaborators and volunteers.
The magic of generosity
“Our desire to help underprivileged children and families alone gives the Pomerantz Foundation’s team of volunteers the imagination and energy to organise events that our donors are proud to participate in. This idea of helping others creates an infectious enthusiasm. Our regular participants bring their friends who bring others and together, at each fundraising event, we recreate the magic of generosity!”