4 Tips For Setting Up An Animal Rescue Fundraising Dinner

Animal rescue fundraising dinner events are a great way to help raise funds. If you have ever tried to raise funds for an animal rescue you likely know that it’s easier said than done. While an animal fundraising dinner is no exception, it can have strong returns compared to placing donation cans at cash registers.

Fundraisers can be highly successful for many charities and non-profits. Regardless, as a cautionary disclaimer, please be advised that this article is not a guarantee that your animal rescue fundraiser will be a success in any way. Please plan your event as carefully as possible to increase your chances of success no matter how you set it up. Asking other local charities who have held similar events for tips, ideas and advice would be a great consideration too.

So with that said, let’s get into the planning…

There are several ways you can hold an animal rescue fundraiser, but here is plan for this article:

1) Only hold the fundraiser if you can get free advertising for it to a large number of people
2) Schedule it for the right date and time
3) Select the right restaurant to partner with

Now let’s review these steps in greater detail…

Tip #1 – Promote Your Animal Rescue Fundraiser For Success

There are very many ways to promote an animal fundraiser, so don’t limit yourself to those listed here. Regarless of what type of promotion you use, the promotion should be free, almost free, or no cost to you.

The primary promotions discussed in this post include:

-Event Promotion
-Media Promotion

Event Promotion

Non-expensive animal related events where attendee’s will have money leftover afterward to eat at your rescue fundraiser are great possible options to consider.

If there is a large event that sounds good that’s scheduled for your area call the event sponsor for more information. Ask if they could offer free or almost free promotion of an animal rescue fundraiser, or a free booth. If the animal rescue is a non-profit, make sure to mention it is for a non-profit to hopefully get a special break or free publicity. Ask how many people are likely to attend, what opportunities are available to promote the rescue fundraiser, and what if any costs are involved.

A free both would be a great chance for you to promote your fundraiser. Generally you need a 6′ or 8′ folding table, and a table cloth. Many people drape a black table cloth over the table. If you absolutely have to bring a chair you can, but standing looks far more engaging to people if you are able to stand for the duration of the event.

Also, a volunteer could work the event for you if possible. Especially a volunteer who is very extroverted and good at talking to people. A volunteer may even be necessary if the animal rescue fundraiser is occuring at the same time as the promotional event as the people leave.

If you get booth space, make extra sure to print up little coupons or flyers to hand out to as many people as possible who attend the event. Hand one out to everyone who walks by if possible – it can make a huge difference in the success or failure of the animal rescue fundraiser.

The flyer should include:

-The name and location of the restaurant
-The date and hours of the fundraiser
-Any meal prices or promotions
-A good phone number or website to learn more about the rescue & a donation request
-Any additional important concerns or considerations

Media Promotion

If you would like to plan an animal rescue fundraiser using media such as television, radio, or internet here are some ideas as well. Please read the section on radio marketing below as it’s possibly the easiest way to run a fundraiser.

-Television, Radio & Newspaper
If using television or radio or newspaper, ask if they have any remnant ad space they can donate as a charitable contribution to an animal rescue for a fundraiser. If the animal rescue is a non-profit make sure to mention that as well. Often, media companies have unsold ‘remnant’ advertisment space that called they need to fill with something. If they have unfilled ad space they may give some free for the animal fundraiser.

One other mention is that in this day and age it’s becoming increasingly less likely that newspaper promotion alone will be enough for a fundraiser. Seek local television and radio remnant space first and foremost, or even exclusively.

-Online Marketing-
With regard to online marketing, ask as many people that you know as possible to promote the animal rescue fundraiser on the social media accounts.

-Radio Marketing-
Radio marketing can be a powerful way to promote events – especially if they send an announcer to the event to promote it there live. As mentioned previously, you can ask for remnant ad space. Additionally, you can even consider asking the radio station if they would be willing to do live promotion of your fundraiser event in exchange for half of the donation proceeds you receive. Make sure you clarify that it would not be half of the gross sales the restaurant generates, but half of what you receive from the restaurant.

An event such as this would likely do well on a Saturday early afternoon around lunch time in a busy shoping area or near a mall. The radio station will know best about the times and locations for successful promotions. This could be a great and easy way to promote a fundraiser for cat, dog, horse and other animal rescues.

Tip #2 – Schedule Your Fundraiser For Maximum Turnout

How you are promoting the animal rescue fundraiser can affect the date and time you plan to offer it.

The date and time definitely needs to be at a date and time when families are willing and able to attend. That almost always means not conflicting your fundraiser with daytime work or school hours.

Additionally, if will receive promotion for your animal fundraiser through an event, it will affect your date and time as well.

Scheduling When Using Event Promotion

If you are receiving promotion through a large event, that will certainly be a consideration of when to schedule things. It would be a great idea in many instances to schedule your event to immediately follow the event that will promote your animal rescue fundraiser. This would almost certainly maximize your attendance, and may ruin the response for your fundraiser if it’s set for a different time.

Even better yet, it would be great to schedule your event before a large event since people haven’t spent all of their money yet. The problem is that if the larger event is promoting your smaller fundraiser, there is no easy way to get the word out before they attend the larger event. As you can imagine, there are tons of different types of events and situations that may lend themselves to this creative possibility if it’s around a meal time. Clearly, if this isn’t easily achievable and the larger event has a sizeable crowd, holding your animal rescue event afterward will likely be best.

Scheduling When Using Media Publicity

What if your animal rescue fundraiser isn’t promoted through an event though? What if you are receiving free or super cheap publicity for your animal rescue fundariser via radio, television, internet, or print materials?

In these cases you have more flexibility as to the date, time and location. You have more control, but keep in mind that the promotion needs to attract a heavy amount of traffic to your animal fundraising event.

One important thing to check for is not overlap other large events in your area. Check any community calendars that may be available to ensure the event does not interfere with other large events.

Tip #3 – Partner With The Right Restaurant

The final step is to find the right restaurant to partner with for your animal rescue fundraiser.

When you are choosing which restaurant to partner with. Here are a few things to improve your chances of success:

– Only deal with a poplular restaurant that already enjoy eating and spending money at. It goes without saying that while many people want to suport animal rescues. Additionally, however, they also don’t want to have a negative experience by eating somewhere they don’t like. Selecting a great, popular restaurant is the key. Franchise restaurants are worth a look, but some may be difficult to deal with since many of their rules are not set by the local franchise owner.

– Make sure the prices are reasonable. Obviously if it’s super low cost it will reduce funds raised, but likewise, if the food is too expensive people may not attend.

– Choose a nearby location. If you received free promtion from a local arena event, make sure that the location is near the arena so people will attend your event. You don’t want to miss attendee’s due to inconvience of location. If your event is promoted via free advertising on radio or television, try to hold the aniaml rescue fundraiser in a centralized location with good parking.

– Diverse menu options would certainly be a plus too. There are many people who like and dislike all types of foods. Buffets offer a wide assortment or foods. Other restaurants have large menus.

– Indoor dining would be a plus for your animal rescue fundraiser due to weather concerns. If it has outdoor seating options great, but also plan for bad weather by ensuring there is a large amount of indoor seating.

– If the meals will be planned in advance, such as a pre-planned dinner, offer a few meals to select from. Work with the restaurant owner to create 3 or 4 separate meals that the patrons must chose from when sending in their RSVP.

– Request a 20% fundraising donation. After making a list of possible restaurants, ask the various restaurants if they would be willing to offer 20% of the sales proceeds to go toward the local animal rescue. In other words, if they sell $2,000 worth of food at the fundraiser, 20% would equal $400 of raised funds for the local animal rescue.

Ask if ALL sales during a certain time window (i.e. 5pm to 7:30pm) could be included for the fundraiser without people needing to bring a ticket or coupon etc. This will greatly reduce the hassel. Obviously the restaurant will likely have some regular customers during that time period but the goal is to bring in a lot of extra business. Explain to the restaurant that some of the customers may possibly be new to the restaurant. Let them know that the hope is that there will be significantly more business than usual. Remind them that that the money is for a good cause by helping the local animal rescue that is desperate for funds. Finally, mention that they will receive good publicity.

Tip #4 – Don’t Forget Other Considerations

Dress casual. Don’t dress too nicely out of fear that folks will think you are financially well to do. Setup a donations table where you can answer questions, and raise awareness for the animal rescue.

Offer a printed brochure to provide information about your animal rescue, why the funds are needed, and what they will be used for. Also on the brochure provide instructions on how to make donations via check or PayPal. For those who express interest in donating ask if they would be interested in setting up a small recurring monthly gift that they can cancel any time. The preferred way would be via PayPal since the animal rescue donation could be setup to recur automatically each month.

I hope this animal rescue fundraising article has been helpful. If it works well you could repeat the process occasionally so long as you don’t do it so often that attendance diminishes.

With kindest regards & animal warmth,

-Randy / Animal Weekly