Planning a Non-Profit Awards Banquet?


I volunteered as an event planner for a non-profit awards banquet, their budget is very small! And I need to come up with the following: a party theme, a venue, a caterer, invitations/programs, and decorations.


The event will be in January for 150 people. I wanted to know if the ThriftyFun family could provide me with some ways to stretch a penny. Thanks and I really appreciate it!

Yvette from Virginia

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October 17, 20080 found this helpful

What kind of organization is it? Is it such that you can get the attendees involved - I did banquets in Scouting and we often had a centerpiece contest or something like that which in effect provided the decorations - we determined a theme and they brought the decorations. Depending on time of day, can you do heavy snacks instead of a full meal? Or a pot-luck, more casual affair? For another group I am with, our awards is a big chicken bbq cooked by a local service organization, so win win for everyone -and is family friendly in a pavilion.

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By Phantom Queen (Guest Post)
October 18, 20080 found this helpful

What type of guests? adults, children? It would be helpful to know. You can often go to small businesses with a letter from the organization asking for donations to be included as a door prize. Even larger companies will sometimes be able to do donations at the store level, just speak to the manager.


Party stores may be able to do a donation or a discount and make sure you get the organization's tax exempt number for when you purchase items, every little bit helps.

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October 21, 20080 found this helpful

The most expensive part of this will be the venue and catering once you have decided upon a theme. The theme will depend upon the professions of the people involved, their ages, what the awards are for, whether it is casual or formal etc. Basically decide upon lunch, dinner or buffet.

Then when you find a suitable venue try and find a venue that has catering facilities or supplies tables, chairs, cutlery crockery, waiting staff, etc. It might be cheaper to contact a local large restaurant and book them for a fixed time slot and date.


The actual ceremony could then be accompanied by a toast of something sparkling and a simple round of applause if certificates are handed out.

If however it is to be involved than that and a guest speaker is likely and a show of some description, then consider approaching schools and colleges and asking if you can book out their large assembly rooms. A lot of schools will have banqueting facilities and dining rooms, and would be glad to earn some money fro the college

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By sandy (Guest Post)
October 21, 20080 found this helpful

Yvette, I am a wedding planner/decorator. I too live in VA. Email me and maybe I could help you. sbcmaderay AT

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By Dawn (Guest Post)
October 21, 20080 found this helpful

HI. I work for a non-profit that recently held our first benefit. We spoke to the local Botanical Garden and they gave us a discounted price for the evening (actually they gave it to us for free for the night). We then spoke to new restaurants in the area and found a new chef who was willing to make the food for free for us if we advertised his business. Great so far!


We had a committee that spoke to local businesses and put together several high end gift baskets for a silent auction. This was a great idea because it was all done ahead of time and no fuss the night of. Think outside of the box and don't be afraid to ask for things at a lesser rate or free, when you are work with a non-profit it is just how things are done.

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October 21, 20080 found this helpful

Since it is a non-profit organisation I believe there will be a few volunteers like you. You may want to form a committee for this event to distribute the duties. Event venue and catering will eat up the major part of your shoe-string budget. If you can get the volunteers to solicit a free venue, that will be great or even use the organization's existing hall or open garden will help save you some money.


Next, get volunteers to do-it-yourself theme decorations or make it a contest/game.

Instead of catering, you can make it a BBQ or buffet event. Better still if you can get some donors to contribute food (make sure you do a food planning list first).

All the best!

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By Renee (Guest Post)
October 29, 20080 found this helpful

I am planning this Polish Banquet for Nov. 15th with food, music and nominee awards. Do I have to register this banquet in Trenton, New Jersey legally? That is an important question. Please answer right away. Thank you

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