Plan a Race Night - I need to run a charity race night!!!!
Each of the areas covered in this brief overview could take whole books and we will be producing more in-depth guides over the coming months but this will help you get started
So you are the one the committee has decided is the best equipped to run the annual fundraiser and it’s been agreed that a charity racenight is the best idea as it’s not been done for a while. The last person who did it left the committee 5 years ago but you have the folder with a few scrappy notes all of which are out of date!. So how do you plan a race night?
Well don’t worry help is at hand in this short article. Race nights are a great fundraising idea and with a little bit of preplanning you can make your organisation a significant amount of money. The trick to making your event a success is planning and preparation.
So where do you start! First thing think about when you are going to run the event. Friday and Saturdays are the usual day that most of these events are planned, so think about a date when your venue is available and there are no other significant other events happening like cup finals, children in need or other spectaculars that are likely to stop you audiences attending your event.
So we have our date now the venue. You need to keep your cost to a minimum so do you have a club house you can use or perhaps a community centre. Think about the number of likely attendees and plan you venue accordingly. Does the venue have a projector or plasma screens you can use. All of these issues will help in keeping your cost down and ensuring your event runs well. Does the venue have a bar. You maybe able to persuade the owner to let you have the venue for free if you can get 100 extra customers in!
So the date is planned and we have a venue. Next book the racenight package you want, I might sound silly but loads of people leave booking their packages until the last minute and panic to sort out the package they require. Far better to have it all booked and it’s one thing less to worry about!
OK package done, venue done, date sorted, now we need to get some punters along to the event. You should be trying to get as many people to your event as possible to the limits of your venue. The reason most people give for the cancellation of a racenight is the lack of support. So plan early, get the date into everyone diary at least two months in advance and start to sell your admission tickets as soon as you have booked the date and venue. If someone says ‘maybe’ then that is a ‘no’ unless you can get them to part with some money. I used to run these events for scouts and it was like getting blood out of a stone getting a commitment to attend so you need someone who is hard nosed and will persuade you prospective punters to part with their admission fee. Sell the benefits of your evening, the great event you have planned to super supper that Gordon Ramsey did not cook! The free beer on offer for the first 30 minutes or what every will appeal to your prospective clientele make sure you get a commitment and sell the tickets. Suggest friends bring their mates and why note book a table, extend the invitations as wide as you can to fill the room with warm bodies all of whom will be spending their evening helping you raise funds for your cause.
So Punters- check, Racenight package – Check, Venue – Check, Date – Check
What else do you need? - Staff to help on the night and before…..but who!
Sales people – to sell the horses and get sponsors for the races. This is the single largest money spinner for your whole event and will be the subject of a separate help sheet.
Marketing person – the person to print the posters and get them put up around. Also to send out the invites to all of your members and generate some publicity around your event. There is a book to be written on this but we will be producing a help sheet on this.
Door people – to ensure that only valid ticket holders are admitted and to take money from door entries.
Bar Staff – To help sell the drinks to your thirsty punters
Set-up staff – people to help arrange the tables, layout the silver wear if you are organising dining at your event.
A technical manager – to ensure that the projector, video/dvd player, amplifier and microphone all work perfectly on the night.
Tote staff – people to take the betting on the night. The number depends upon how many punters and how long you want between races, as a rule of thumb 2 people should easily be able to handle 60 punters in 15 minutes.
A Compere – this will be the character in your club. Every club has one and he has the job of announcing when the races are about to run when the bar is open, when the food is being served and getting everyone to put their hand deep into their pockets to help the club.
Cleaning staff – At the end of the night clearing up is a drag especially if you have been doing everything else. So get commitment from people early to help with the cleaning at the end of the night.
Well that’s the basics of a racenight there is a load more information available at www.racenight.me.uk
This article was written by Dave Hitchman. Dave has run many racenights over the last 30 years and been involved in fundraising for much of that time. He is a partner in www.racenight.me.uk one of the leading suppliers of racenight supplies across the world. The racenight.me.uk website offers extensive help to all fundraisers across the world.