What’s better than the smell of freshly popped popcorn, a comfy spot to cuddle, and an entertaining movie? Nothing!
That’s why fundraising with a family movie night at your local church or school is an easy way to raise much needed money. Actually, it’s as easy as turning the lights down and letting the movie credits roll.
We get a lot of queries for fundraisers that could work for a wide range of ages and community groups. Well, everyone enjoys a good movie. And a movie marathon fundraiser is an inexpensive way to raise funds, a great way to get the people in your community together, and also an acceptable activity for your next school or church fundraiser.
Now, depending on your audience, you can organize a small movie night in your church recreational area, or a full-fledged movie marathon in a local theater or drive-in. In fact, most movie theaters and local drive-ins will work with groups to arrange special functions such as an overnight movie marathon or a double feature.
To make money at this sort of event, all you have to do is arrange a percentage of ticket sales and concession sales with the theater ahead of time. That way, all you have to worry about is collecting ticket fees. And of course, we fully encourage the sale of homemade or donated concessions for extra earnings.
The great thing about a movie fundraiser is that it can be as simple as slipping a flick into your community center DVD and popping some popcorn. However, if you want to add a fun theme to the evening, we’ve got some Oscar-winners in mind:
- Musicals – Grease, The Sound of Music, West Side Story, Fiddler on the Roof, and Hello Dolly! Or try some famous Elvis films on your audience.
- Alfred Hitchcock Classics – Vertigo, Rear Window, North by Northwest, Rebecca, Psycho, Notorious, The Birds, and Strangers on a Train.
- Scare-fest – Evil Dead, Night of the Living Dead, Halloween, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Friday the 13th, and The Shining.
- Cheesy 1980s – The Karate Kid, Ghostbusters, The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Three Amigos, The Princess Bride, and Farris Bueller’s Day Off.
- James Bond Spy-a-thon – The best of Connery, Moore, Lazenby, Dalton, Brosnan, and Craig…shaken, not stirred!
And some other ideas:
- At the Drive-in – You don’t have to actually be in the drive-in to recreate this kitschy 1950s feel.
- Keep it old-fashioned and simple – Creating the feel of an authentic drive-in or movie theatre by finding a local business with a smooth surface or large empty space. This will be your projection screen. You can even ask volunteers to serve snacks on roller skates to make it really authentic. For a simpler route, you can hang a large sheet in a local park or school yard, and ask audience members to bring lawn chairs or blankets along.
- Date Night – Create some romance on screen with Under the Tuscan Sun, The Notebook, and Ghost.
- Watch and Win – Buy the movie, show it, then raffle it off at the end of the evening. Each person buys a ticket for $1 or $2, and one lucky winner takes it home.
Just remember, when choosing a flick, don’t choose a movie with an age requirement if your audience is made up of mostly minors. You don’t want to exclude anyone from your movie night with an R rated movie, and if your movie fundraiser is for a school or church, you want to make sure the film is appropriate for everyone in the audience.
Final Movie Night Tips:
- Enlist volunteers from your organization to sell tickets, take tickets, sell concessions, act as ushers, technical assistance, and to clean up.
- Define what type of food you are planning to sell and then reach out for sponsors and donations.
- Discuss where the movie will be shown.
- Choose a venue, date, and time.
- No theatre, no worries – Most schools and churches have a cafeteria or multi-purpose room. Borrow a DVD player from a neighbor and you’re in business!
- Don’t forget the extras. Serve all the goodies—hot dogs, nachos, popcorn, soda, chips, and candy. You can ask parents to donate food, check with your local grocer and fast food restaurants, or buy all your supplies in bulk.
- Choose your time wisely –Schedule the flick from 6:00 – 8:00 pm. It’s early enough for working families with small children to attend and get the kids to bed at a decent time.
- Make sure you have napkins or paper towels for clean-up in addition to your custodial volunteers.
- Be sure to double check if you need a license to show movies. According to copyright laws, anytime a movie is viewed for money, a license to show it must be obtained. Please check the copyright laws in your state for more information.