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Tailgate Fundraiser: FAQs

How do tailgate fundraisers work?

Tailgaiting is a popular pastime, especially during football season, that brings large amounts of people together. This fundraising event allows your nonprofit to raise the necessary funds in a fun, community-driven environment.

The concept is simple. Your organization sells tickets for a catered tailgate taking place before a big game or occasion. Each ticket includes entrance to the tailgate, unlimited food and drinks from a liquor package (if you choose to invest in one), and the opportunity to celebrate with people who share similar interests.

Ideally, ticket prices will cover the cost of hosting the tailgate, including catering, decorating, and advertising. You can then sell other items during the tailgate, such as raffle prizes and branded merchandise, to gain a nice profit.

When should I host a tailgating fundraiser?

Nonprofits can host a tailgate before any occassion. It’s a great way for your supporters to meet other mission-driven people, contribute to a meaningful cause, and have a good time!

Tailgates are also family-friendly and high-spirited, making them an especially great fundraising idea for:

  • Major Sporting Events: Whether it’s the US Open or an NBA game, tailgates are a great way to reach large amounts of potential donors. They give fans the opportunity to eat, socialize, and support your mission before cheering on their favorite team.
  • Concerts: Before seeing their favorite acts perform, give your supporters the chance to support an important cause. Concert-goers will likely be eager to make a contribution in return for your well-planned tailgate.
  • School and university-sponsored events: Tailgates are fast-paced, lively environments and are often the driving force behind a school’s culture. Consider hosting a tailgate before a sporting event, chorus concert, or band competition. This is the perfect opportunity to garner the financial support of students, alumni, and parents.
  • Community-driven activities: Imagine there’s a marathon, little league soccer game, or annual parade going through your town. Tailgates bring the community together and inspire support for your cause.

Tailgates are a win-win situation for your nonprofit and your supporters. Your organization gains valuable support and your donors get to enjoy themselves!

What are the benefits of tailgate fundraisers?

Tailgate fundraisers basically sell themselves. With delicious food and a palpable sense of comradery, a tailgate is an easy way to reach your fundraising goals. Here are some more benefits of tailgating:

  • Cost-Effective: Ticket sales cover nearly all of your expenses, so you can focus on creating long-term relationships with your supporters and soliciting larger donations through raffles and gift baskets.
  • Family-Friendly: Tailgates are perfect for the whole family. Kids and adults alike can take part in the fun while raising money for a valuable cause.
  • Easy Setup and Cleanup: Since caterers take care of the vast majority of setup and cleanup, all you have to do is pack up when the event ends.

What You Need For The Best Tailgate

Every tailgate needs a few essential items, including:

  • Food and Beverages: Whether you’re catering or doing the grilling yourself, you should include handheld foods like hotdogs, burgers, sandwiches, chips, and fruit on your menu. You can make your tailgate even more enticing with a liquor package. Just be sure to check IDs if you’re serving alcohol!
  • Activities: A typical tailgate includes games such as cornhole, beer pong, and flag football. If you’re hosting a family-friendly tailgate, you can offer a bounce house to keep the kids entertained.
  • Music: Play music in the background while you mingle with supporters. This will set a cheerful mood!
  • Projector and Sound System: Speaking of music, you’ll need some sort of speaker or sound system so that everyone can enjoy the ambiance. If you want to watch a sporting event at your tailgate, you can also bring a projector or TV.
  • Party Favors: Consider offering gifts and goodie bags for an additional price. For instance, if tickets are $50 per person, a guest can take home a commemorative pint glass for a special $60 ticket.

5 Steps to Hosting a Successful Tailgate Fundraiser

Planning a tailgate might seem overwhelming at first, but it’s straightforward when you break down the process. Follow these steps to plan the perfect tailgate fundraiser:

  1. Pick the right event and reserve a spot. You want your tailgate to draw in crowds of potential donors, so pick a popular event. Large, open parking lots and fields work best for tailgating fundraisers, but double-check that tailgating is permitted in these areas.
  2. Promote your fundraiser. Market your event using a multichannel strategy to reach the most amount of people. Flyers, blog posts, text message campaigns, social media posts, and email newsletters are all great ways to generate interest.
  3. Decorate your venue. Parking lots and fields aren’t the most visually-pleasing locations. Spice up your venue with decorations that match the event you’re attending, and don’t forget to account for the weather with fans, shade, and maybe even a tent.
  4. Entertain your guests. Add a raffle to your list of tailgate activities. Prizes could include a signed jersey from a favorite football player, tickets to a high school soccer game, or a concert ticket. Hardcore fans will make large contributions to get a shot at these prizes. In turn, you’ll keep your guests entertained and increase your number of donations.
  5. Follow-up with supporters. Be sure to thank your attendees for their support and include information about any upcoming fundraising events!

Additional Resources

Want to learn more about hosting the perfect fundraising event? Consider these resources:

20+ Fundraising Products To Help Your Org Raise More. Selling fundraising products, like raffle tickets and gift baskets, is a fun and easy way to raise money for your organization. Check out these top fundraising products!

3 Steps to Get Started With Fundraising Data Analytics. After your event is over, analyze its success by choosing metrics, collecting data, and gathering information about donors.

How Google Ad Grants Can Help Your Fundraising. Google Ad Grants provide significant fundraising potential for your nonprofit. If you’re looking to boost fundraising efforts, learn how to use them today!