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Do you have the resources to host a potluck dinner fundraiser?

How does a potluck dinner fundraiser work?

Think about a potluck dinner fundraiser as a big family meal. Everyone brings their favorite dish to contribute to the dinner. For your fundraiser, people will give a small donation to attend. Then, they’ll add their dish to the communal meal and everyone will eat each other’s food together.

All you need to host a potluck fundraiser dinner is a venue, tables, chairs, paper plates, plasticware, and serving utensils. Set aside a long table where everyone will place their dishes. Then, attendees can walk down the table, filling their plates with whatever food they want.

A huge incentive of potluck dinner fundraisers is the social aspect. It’s an opportunity for you and your supporters to get to know each other. Set up tables in a way that encourages conversation and allow people to choose or change their seats.

Tips for your potluck dinner fundraiser

Planning your potluck dinner takes a lot of work. The way you plan can affect whether or not your supporters come and how they feel when they leave. Here are some tips for making your dinner more engaging:

  • Give it a theme. A themed dinner can make the event more fun for your supporters and also remind them of your cause. For example, if you’re raising money for a local animal shelter, ask your attendees to bring their pets and some pet-friendly treats for their furry-friends.
  • Provide entertainment. Although the social aspect of a potluck can help strengthen your organization’s community, you can also liven up any event with entertainment. Consider asking a volunteer to speak at the dinner. This would be a free entertainment option and they might provide an inspiring speech that gives your community a feeling of connection to a bigger cause.
  • Make it seasonal. Certain recipes and events can be associated with specific times of the year and might be a fun way to encourage your supporters to attend. For example, during the summer months, host a luau-style potluck meal and ask attendees to wear their favorite Hawaiian shirts. This is especially easy during the holidays, such as with a Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas gathering.
  • Show your appreciation. Use the dinner as an opportunity to thank your supporters and show them the difference that they’ve made in your organization. Highlight any progress you’ve made toward your goals and your plans moving forward.

Think of ways to inspire and engage your supporters through the dinner. It’s important that you appeal to them so that they’ll be encouraged to come to the dinner and continue supporting your organization afterward.

More seasonal fundraising ideas

Spring 5k: Invite people to dress up like the easter bunny, St. Patrick, or any of their favorite spring looks and race to raise money for your organization.

Water balloon fight: Help your supporters cool off in the hot summer months with a fun event that also raises money for your cause.

Pumpkin carving contest: Encourage healthy competition with a fall-themed fundraising contest.

Gift-wrapping: Have volunteers wrap Christmas gifts for supporters for a small fee.