Holding an event like a pancake fundraising breakfast is a tried-and-tested method for raising funds for any worthy cause. It’s an easy to organize event for any school, church, or non-profit organizations to gather donations for a beneficiary. People will be willing to do a good deed if it comes with a delicious pancake.
When starting up a pancake fundraising breakfast, it is important to take care of the different aspects of the event first. Here are the things you need to do in order to successfully organize one:
1. Get a permit
A pancake breakfast fundraising event is going to need a license or a permit before it can operate since you will be gathering a lot of people. Logistics first – gather the permit to use the area you choose from its owners and license to prepare large amounts of food. You’ll also need a non-profit license for fundraising. Prepare your requirements and obtain approval from your local government officials. You also need to talk to a local health inspector to check the area and the quality of your food.
2. Choose a location
Assess how many people you want to participate in your pancake breakfast fundraiser. Aim for at least a couple hundred to be able to raise significant funds. Once you have decided on a maximum number of attendees, research on the possible places where you can hold the event. The best place is somewhere with a large indoor space and a kitchen area. You may rent an event center, but it may cost you more money. It’s better to find a space that can be used for free, such as a community center or a donation from a local company to use their facilities. It can also be held inside your church hall or in school cafeterias or gymnasiums. Book your location in advance (4 to 6 weeks before your event) so you can have time to advertise the event.
3. Set a schedule
Pick a date and time that will work for most people. Check school schedules and event calendars to make sure it won’t conflict with the locals’ busy days. Sunday is often the best day to choose for a pancake fundraising breakfast, as most people don’t have to go to work. Hold it before or after a local church service. Also, check it with your local government officials to make sure it won’t conflict with another local event.
4. Recruit volunteers
Gather a fundraising team that will help you before, during and after your event. If your fundraising event is for your school, church or organization, it would be easy to find volunteers – just ask people from your circle. But if you’re raising for a cause outside your circle, ask your family, friends, and people from your church or workplace if they have time to spare. You can solicit high school students to help. Set up a committee of your trusted volunteers to oversee the aspects of the event and its operation as a whole. Your staff should include volunteer workers for these jobs:
- Set-up team who will put up the tables, buffet lines and other equipment needed for the event
- Decoration team who will decorate the venue and the buffet tables to suit the theme
- Buyers who will purchase your needed materials, especially the ingredients for your menu and other props
- Cooks who will prepare the food
- Ticket sellers who will sell tickets, and will even man the gates to sell in case there are leftovers on the day of the event
- Security team who will secure the venue and make sure nothing bad will happen
- Photographers who will take photos of the event
- Buffet team who will man the food stations
- Clean-up team who will make sure the area is clean before and after the event, and will also clean up cooking equipment and utensils
5. Plan your menu
Decide if you will serve simple pancakes or if you’d also serve flavored ones. Of course, you’d need a lot of pancake mixes. Also plan what you would serve as toppings, such as syrup, cream, eggs, sausages or bacon. Since it’s a breakfast, plan if you would serve orange juice, apple juice, and coffee. If you’re thinking of serving other food besides pancakes, you’d have to solicit more donations and spend more money.
6. Ask for donations
You may talk to your local supermarket, butchers, bakers and other local businesses for donations of food and drink items, as most stores are willing to donate to causes like fundraising events as a way of showing goodwill to the community. Acknowledge your donors with free advertising on fliers and brochures as a thank you for their generosity. Also remember to ask for donations for tables and chairs, cutlery, table cloths, centerpieces, and disposable dining tools like paper plates and cups as well. During the event, place a money jug or bucket next to the cash register and place a visible label for donations.
7. Sell tickets
Decide on your ticket prices, making sure that you’d have a bigger revenue than your costs. The number of tickets you sell would also affect your food buying and preparation decisions. As much as possible, sell all your tickets before the day of the breakfast. If there are some more tickets left, you can sell them on the day of the event. Make sure enough food and drinks are prepared, and it must be 5% above the number of tickets you’ve already sold, so you can accommodate extra people who will buy tickets on the same day.
8. Advertise the event
Work on the publicity angle to attract as many participants into your fundraising event. Put up posters at local businesses, churches, and public places. Ask the local newspapers if they offer free advertising space for non-profit causes. Call your local radio station and ask for a public service announcement regarding your fundraising event. Also, use social media to attract more participants in your event.
9. Provide entertainment
Don’t forget to provide entertainment and activities for your event. If you happen to know a local band, ask them to play for free for a cause. Integrate fun games and activities for kids and adults. Raffle events and races are usually added as an activity.
10. Prepare the venue and the food
Before the day of the event, set up your tables, chairs and other non-food items like decorations. Arrive three hours before the scheduled start time and brew some coffee as soon as you arrive, as large coffee urns take a long time to heat. Prepare your meat items like sausages or bacon ahead of time, and keep it warm throughout the event. Start cooking pancakes two hours before the start of the event and continue cooking throughout the morning. Keep them fresh and warm inside rice cookers or crock pots. Set up your tables with toppings ahead of time. Make sure your buffet team will be able to fill up food items as necessary.
11. Thank your volunteers
After the event, make sure to feed your volunteers and individually thank them for their efforts and contribution. If possible, try to give them something small for participation, like a gift card. Let them feel appreciated so they would gladly help out again with your next pancake breakfast fundraiser.