How does an evening of “gambling”, dancing, finger foods, and great entertainment for only $50 sound? On top of that, knowing that the amount goes to charity?
Inviting, no? Imagine being able to get around 500 people gathered and raise a little over $29 000 with such an event!
Well, Mr. Bernier did just that for Kids Help Phone. We conducted an interview with him and will share some of his tips with you in order to help put together a successful Casino Night Fundraiser.
In order to have a successful event that everyone will enjoy you need to start planning this event about 1 year ahead of time. You need a great committee, good contacts and to get all your fixed costs paid by sponsors.
How do you get your volunteers? Most non-profits have a database of volunteers. Contact them and see if they are interested to commit to a one year project. What’s in it for them? Recognition, a chance to build their network and free food 🙂
What fixed costs are incurred? The renting of a hall for the event, finger foods, tickets, play money, game tables, decorations, and more. For an event of this size you need around 55 tables. Suggested games to play: Blackjack, Craps, Baccarat, Wheel of Fortune, Texas Hold’em Poker, Roulette and Horseracing. You can not get local casino personel to volunteer as it’s in their work contract that they are not allowed to do so.
How do you get companies to sponsor your fixed costs? Prepare a PowerPoint presentation all about what’s in it for them! For example, they get free publicity on a website, printing on tickets, publicity in magazines, their logos posted at the event and mentioned throughout the evening. If companies had to pay for all of this advertising it would cost them a lot of money!
It’s not that easy getting sponsors, but remember that Kernel Sanders got over 1000 no’s to his recipe before someone finally said yes. As soon as you hear a no, don’t get discouraged just move on to the next person on your list.
Impressions & Credibility
A lot of tickets are sold when people have a good impression of the event. How do you create a good impression and credibility?
Build a good website that people can refer to so they know exactly what the event consists of.
Approach your local radio station a few months before the event. Make it sound like it will be THE event in town that evening, so they will have no choice but to show up. Ideally if you can get them to talk about your event one month prior, 3x a day, this will help add credibility to your event.
Get local newspapers to promote your event. You’ll take any free advertising space available any day of the week. Again, the more people hear about your event, the more credibility it adds.
Raise Money throughout the Evening
Charging $50 a ticket is just part of the way you raise funds you need to raise more throughout the evening.
How? Get as money prizes as you can. Ask all your friends and acquaintances to see what you can come up with. Free dinners at restaurants, free massages, free training, complimentary night in a hotel, etc. When people go to a casino night they are expecting to win something. So the more prizes you have the more chances people have of winning something. With all these prizes, create a raffle and get people to purchase raffle tickets.
My personal favorite is “sending people to jail”. Create a section of the room as a prison cell. Then for just $5 you can send anyone “to jail”. The “convict” has to stay there for 5 minutes and everyone gets a good laugh and a lot of pictures out of it, not to mention additional funds!
Another great way is by “selling” money. The $50 entrance ticket automatically entitles you to $10 000 of play money. Should you spend all your money, you could buy more: $5 for $5000 and $20 for $25 000.
Once you’ve conducted your successful Casino Night Fundraiser, don’t forget to thank everyone. You are only as successful as your team. Have a pizza and beer party for all your volunteers and reward them with a certificate signed by the President of your non-profit organization. It will make them happy; feel appreciated, and will motivate them to help you out at your next event.
Happy Casino Night Fundraising 🙂
p.s. Don’t forget to check with the government authorities in your area before planning a Casino Night Fundraiser, as their might be some restrictions.