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Planning a Fundraising Dinner

What is the best "meal" to serve at a fundraiser dinner held in the high school cafeteria? We need something that is good and filling, easy to prepare and serve, yet something people would come out to eat. Should it be all-you-can-eat or one-time plate?


Also, what should we charge for tickets? Should we offer discounts for kids under 10? Since this is a fundraiser we don't want to lose money, but do want to give a good value. Do any companies donate or subsidize purchases of ingredients (ie: spaghetti companies give discount on noodles, etc.)

Our thoughts so far were chili, cornbread, and salad or spaghetti, garlic bread, and salad, but we would like other ideas of meals that have worked well.

By Melody from Oak Ridge, TN

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July 29, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

We have had some very successful fish boils and pig roasts, but they can be a lot of work. I would suggest keeping it as simple as possible. Spaghetti, chili, lasagna (Italian night?) would all fit the bill. Serve the main dish, salad, two dressings to choose from, garlic bread or bread sticks, dessert (cookies or bars), and a choice of coffee, milk, or lemonade. One thing to think about- spaghetti or lasagna could be served on the same plate as a salad, but you would need bowls for chili. To keep it even more simple, have a small plate rate and a large plate rate (or three plate sizes). Have the plate sizes on display. Limit dessert to one item. If you decide to serve spaghetti or lasagna choice, perhaps you could have an option to get both on a larger plate for a higher rate.


Advertise well and good luck. Be sure to state what you are raising funds for. It never hurts to ask politely for donations from businesses or from families. You could ask families to either volunteer time or food items such as bagged salads, dressings, spaghetti noodles, lasagna noodles,hamburger meat, lemonade mix, a gallon of milk, coffee, paper plates, cups, utensils, napkins, brownies or bars, cookies, garlic bread loaves, parmesan cheese, cans of sauce.
I am a former pta vice-pres. and a current school board member.

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July 31, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

I come from a small town, so perhaps it is easier to get donations, but we have had wonderful support from local businesses for pancake breakfasts and other dinners. Credit Unions and banks donate stuff like Styrofoam cups and paper plates, or cash that you can use to buy them. Local grocery stores donate a variety of items; or if you feel that it is too much to ask of one store, perhaps you can buy all the things you need from one store, and then get a 10- 20% discount. One of our staff was very good at this -- she asked for cash donations from businesses like fertilizer dealerships (who had kids in our school!!!) and banks, and then used this cash to purchase from our locally owned store, which gave a discount on items.


Be sure to acknowledge your sponsors.

Some places will also donate a prize that you can sell tickets on at the door for additional fundraising. A smaller item can just be given as a door prize, if you like.

In our area we usually charge a flat rate for adults (all you can eat) and a discount for kids, often preschoolers are free. Sometimes there is a family rate that is a bit of a saving. The price of the food varies, depending on what is served, pancake & sausage suppers are less expensive than turkey and the trimmings. Ask around your local community to see what is being charged. Usually it is a slightly less than the equivalent meal in a restaurant, but remember, this is a fundraiser. You should actually cover the cost of the food in the price, even if you had to buy everything and rent the facility. Your big profit comes from your donations and volunteer labor. Food sales and community dinners should make hundreds of dollars for your organization; that is why you go to all the trouble.


It is nice if you tie the supper to something festive, like Irish stew for St Pat's day, but not necessary. Advance tickets can be sold, too, if you worry about turn out.

If you are using a place with dishes, use the dishes. Saves on costs and saves the environment, and is much nicer as well.You should have no shortage of dishwashers if this is a high school fundraiser.

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July 29, 20110 found this helpful

Me again.
Combo $9 or $10. One choice $8. Small plate $6. Good luck.

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