Throwing a barbecue fundraiser is a great way to raise funds for your group and getting the whole community involved! With live music and children’s activities, your BBQ fundraiser becomes a fun way to spend the day with the whole family, while supporting a good cause at the same time. Add a competition for the best BBQ with an attractive grand prize and you will increase interest even more!
You can barbecue a wide range of foods, such as meats, fruits and vegetables, and vegetarian hamburgers and hot dogs. A Barbecue fundraiser is a great way to make those who are supporting your cause feel like you are doing something for them, while they are supporting your cause. Sometimes it can be difficult to get people to participate in a fundraising event, but a BBQ fundraiser has great potential to draw a lot of people!
Ways to make money with a BBQ fundraiser
- As with any fundraiser, getting supplies and services donated is the first step to maximizing your income. In exchange for providing free advertising, you could get food and drinks, condiments, paper plates, cups, bags, table and chair rentals, entertainment donated. Some ideas for places to ask are grocery stores, butchers, restaurants, party supply services and so on.
- Get entry fees from anyone who’d like to take part in a competition. Barbecue competitions are a popular way to draw lots of supporters and are sure to be a lot of fun!
- Sell BBQ plates, to-go meals, finger foods, baked goods, snacks, drinks, t-shirts, hats etc.
- Sell ‘Sampler’ plates that allows people to taste test several different BBQ meats or meals.
- BBQ sauces! Sauces are just as important as the BBQ itself. You could sell special artisan sauces, or even conduct a separate competition just for sauces.
- Charge small fees for games like ring toss, rubber duck race or pie in the face.
- BBQ vendors and others might rent booth space to showcase and sell their wares and donate a portion of proceeds. Make sure that your vendors include items in the lower price ranges so everyone can find something to shop for.
- Collect recyclable bottles and cans.
Other considerations to make your BBQ fundraiser a success
- Since a BBQ fundraiser is larger event, start planning at least 6 months ahead of time.
- Provide appropriate food choices, activities and seating arrangements for your expected audience and weather, such as umbrellas for heat and rain, areas to eat sitting down or standing, children’s activities, finger foods, vegetarian choices, and also consider offering lighter fare in addition to barbecued foods, like salads.
- Plan for waste removal: use plates, cups, and utensils that are either biodegradable or recyclable so you don’t create a mountain of trash to be added to your local landfill.
- Create a menu to hand out that can also serve as a flyer for the event: what are the main dishes offered, side dishes, drinks, desserts, and forms of entertainment?
- Consider musical entertainment and children’s activities.
- Where will the fundraiser be held? Do you need a permit? If you’re planning on a smaller event, will having food trucks be sufficient?
- Don’t know how much to charge? Determine pricing depending on your total cost and add in enough to make a good profit. Get help from someone with experience (restaurant or food truck owner?).
- Consider selling meal tickets ahead of time to help with planning and cash management.
- Find out if and what certifications for food handling you might need.
- Plan for dealing with lots of cash, but also consider taking credit cards with the help of a simple app for your smartphone like Square – the card reader is free.
- If you expect to take in a substantial amount in cash, schedule a cash run to the bank every couple of hours.
- Stay organized and post checklists for your supplies, booths, volunteers, grill masters and so on. Anything that needs to be tracked. Post the lists in a space that’s easy to see for everyone involved in planning and occasionally make a copy of them (or take a picture if the lists are large) for backup.
- Have designated personnel to manage and oversee supply planning, purchases and donations, marketing and advertising, posters, programs and menus, booth set-up and/or rentals, live entertainment, sign-up list for the BBQ competition, permits, etc.
Despite the additional work, consider having a competition for barbecue masters to show off their skills. This draws in barbecue vendors as well as crowds who want to sample the best barbecue that your area has to offer!
Even if you opt not to have a competition, the promise of good family fun is enough to draw a large enough crowd to make it worth your effort!