Organize a Benefit Spaghetti Dinner and Auction
will need the support of neighbors and friends from a fairly large
area -- your church group, school, etc..
fed about 340 people,
sold 147 items at the auction and made $7,600 for a family with
financial needs (in addition to other money donated to their account at
Organize a preliminary planning meeting involving at least 5 or more
on the date and time and amount to charge for the dinner (we charged
$7 / plate)
on the menu -- will any food be donated?
on a place or a list of locations to check for availability to hold
a list of possible auctioneers to contact
who to get for an emcee
into getting a microphone and sound system, and stage for the
getting entertainment during the dinner portion (music, magic show,
individuals to be in charge of:
scheduled 2 hours for the dinner and auction, with a magic show to
perform during the first hour and the auction to take place during
the second hour
on 200 people, but be prepared to feed 300+ Extra food can be given
to the beneficiary family, or divided up among the kitchen and
auction help. It can also be divided up into gallon size bags as
"family meals" and sold for a minimal cost as people
a date for a followup meeting within the next week, when plans will
to that followup meeting, the food committee chairman should call a
group of volunteers to help with the food, and have a planning
meeting with them.
had six weeks between our first planning meeting and the actual
event. This gave us enough time to have good advertising, and have
our different planning meetings, plus get things donated. It could
be done in 4 weeks, perhaps, but I wouldn't recommend less time.
to your local new paper about doing a "human interest"
if there are places to advertise for free -- such as a community
calendar, online, etc..
and print posters to put around town
up a benefit fund at a local bank. Include that information
on the advertising.
a flyer to distribute door-to-door (can send with those
information printed in your church or school bulletin and
sent via email to your "group"
someone to be the emcee that night, to welcome people, thank donors,
introduce entertainment and the auction, etc..
/ Location / Sound System
and print tickets. Stamp the back with a unique stamp that
can't be easily duplicated by xeroxing
to the youth groups, scouts or other about going door-to-door
tickets placed in a few stores downtown where posters are hung
ticket person will also take money at the door the night of the
will need to bring a cash
box with some money
to make change. Get at least 2 people to man the ticket table that night.
a sign to let people know
who to make their checks out to
a large "DONATION"
jar to set near the
with local law
providing security -- you don't want to chance being robbed after
all your hard work! Our law enforcement suggested taking empty
handi-wipe containers, or something similar, in which you can
secretly move most of the money during the event ,when no one is
looking -- so that if you are robbed, all the money isn't gone.
a location --
will the rent be donated?
a sound system tech
-- will they donate their services? Give them a receipt and 2
tickets to the dinner
-- will they donate their services? Give them a receipt and tickets
for their group to the dinner (we had Batz Entertainment do a magic
show) Limit the entertainment to the first 30-45 minutes. The auction goes long.
an emcee to
introduce the entertainment, welcome people, provide transition between the
beginning and the end.
NOTE: You won't want
more than 100 items to be auctioned. It will take too long, people lose
interest and run out of money. We had 147 items and the auction went
over 2 hours -- that's too long! some of the last items were
practically given away
We had spaghetti pasta and
canned spaghetti sauce mixed with browned hamburger and sausage,
garlic bread, green salad (bagged salad), dressings, and donated
cookies and brownies. The drink was water. We charged $7 for the
meal (Our health dept required a sign posted letting people
know that the desserts had been made in individual homes). A sign up
list for the desserts was passed around our organization for several
weeks prior to the event. Any leftover cookies and brownies were
packaged onto plates, covered with plastic wrap and given out at the
end of the auction with a "suggested donation" price ($4?)
-- will they donate their services? Give them a receipt and 2
tickets to the dinner
a request for contributions with the advertising that goes out
"Certificates" which people can use to donate service-type
items (such as piano lessons, babysitting, window washing,
trenching, photo scanning, teeth whitening, etc)
a folder with a flyer
on the front
advertising the event (with a photo of the beneficiaries). Inside,
put a pocket of blank
people can take, and a list of possibilities, to spark their
imagination. Pass around at church or school for several weeks
before. This can be combined with any food donation lists being
books; give a receipt
to donors with the approximate value they feel their donation is
worth -- even if the item doesn't sell for that exact amount at auction.
a sheet of numbers
in boxes. As items are donated, tape or pin an assigned number to
each. Record the item on a list, next to its number, where you can
later record how much it sold for and to whom it sold. That way,
there is no confusion about who should be given a particular item at
a list of items you
know will be sold at the auction (as complete as is known prior to
the event), which people can read over before and during the
auction, to build interest. Hand these out as they come in to the dinner.
Cards -- borrow or
make 1/4 sheet poster cards with large numbers on. Attach a large
tongue depresser stick. Make a sign-out list for these "bidding
cards" which people can check out during the dinner/auction to
use in bidding on an item.
several people to help in taking donated items in that night, giving
out receipts, putting items on display, and taking items to the
auction stand, holding up for the audience to view, etc..
up a table the night of the benefit dinner/auction where you can
receive items. Give receipts. You'll need at least 6 people to help with giving
receipts, receiving and recording items, displaying items, taking
items to the auctioneer and holding them up, and accepting payments
small posters (8x10) for each business who donated, as a way to
acknowledge them and give thanks
- Display the auction items on a long wall of tables, which people must file past to get their meal prior
to the auction.
you only have one list of items, it gets crazy during the auction.
You'll have people trying to pay for their purchases and leave,
while you are still trying to listen and record as the auctioneer
announces new winning bids. It is important that the auctioneer
read off the number pinned to the item
(so you can find it in the list) and the number of the winning bidder
(so you can record it). It would help a lot if you could xerox the list
and give a copy to your assistants, so someone can take in money while
someone else is recording new sales. If you can't xerox the list, at
least separate the pages and divide it up so more than one set of eyes
can scan and assist with the record keeping. If you could keep
people from trying to take their purchases and leaving before the
auction is done, that would be the ideal solution.
a group of volunteers to help with the food -- so it isn't a large
burden for any one person
- Decide on the amount of food to be ordered, and place the order early
a group to come set up tables that night (we got our young
men from the church)
a group to come put plastic covering on the tables (our young women from the church took care of this and the serving).
water glasses and set out for
attendees to pick up with their meal
a group to come serve up the pasta, salad, etc.. onto
people's plates as they passed down a serving line.
a list of food needed and talk to a local grocery store about giving
you a price break. Place the food order early (2-3 weeks
ahead) so the store managers are able to purchase the food in time,
and at their best price.
had the 30 lb. hamburger donated by a local rancher, then purchased
10 lb pork sausage to mix with it.
the local health dept to get a temporary food license (about
$20 in BE county)
sure someone on your food committee has a food handler's permit
hair nets and plastic serving gloves
the accompanying list for other food assignments
accompanying list for food amounts to feed 340+ people
leftover food was packaged into large gallon-size bags and sold as a
"meal for a family" for $10 each.