What You Need to Know About Serving Food at Your Fundraiser

When you're fundraising for a cause you care about, there's a chance that food will be involved. There are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to the serving or selling process. You might be dealing with various crowd sizes, levels of formality and expectations, but there are still a few ideas everyone should entertain.

Plate of Cookies

Whether you're planning an outdoor festival with kids or a refined evening event, some techniques work across the board. Your fundraiser deserves the most effective and smoothest methods of serving your attendees, both for your ease and their enjoyment. Here are a few things to consider.

1. Consider Utilizing a Buffet

Buffets can be a great option for events with large crowds, even if your function is a bit more upscale. Sometimes, the food itself is what makes the event fancier. You can have a buffet with gourmet options, either through a catering company or homemade by those on your own staff. Buffets often mean less work on your part, as nobody needs to take orders or curate too specific of a menu.

2. Choose a Safe Menu

It can be beneficial to go with a food-safe menu so everyone can enjoy everything you have to offer and feel included in the event. This can mean choosing items for health and safety reasons and ensuring those with allergies and dietary restrictions know what is in their food. Having options like these means everyone can find something they can eat.

3. Create a Designated Food Space

It's important to have a designated space for food prep or serving, especially if the meal is a large part of your event. The people working your fundraiser need a place to cook, just like the attendees need a place to purchase, pick up and enjoy the food. This could mean closing off the kitchen or another room in your event space specifically for prep if your event is indoors.

If your event is outside, you can get creative by renting a trailer for a food truck area or setting up outdoor tables.

4. Use a Cash Bar

If you're having an event geared toward adults, whether it's upscale or casual, some form of a cash bar could be a great way to raise more money. There's not much of a reason to expect alcohol for free at a fundraiser, but it can be a pleasant surprise to offer a drink or two.

Selling beer and wine at an outdoor festival can provide your fundraiser with an increase in cash flow. While a sitdown dinner may not be the best setting for a cash bar, it can still be a great option for most other events.

5. Follow Health and Safety Precautions

Depending upon your local area and the laws about food service, you may need to acquire a temporary food service permit for your event. Things like bake sales and potlucks are usually exempt from these rules. However, making sure your staff washes their hands regularly, keeps their hair pulled back, sanitizes all food prep surfaces, and keeps the food at appropriate temperatures will ensure your attendees' health and safety.

Make sure you check local rules and regulations as you plan your event so everything can stay above board.

Cater to Your Event's Purpose

No matter what kind of food you serve and how delicious your offerings are, your cause is still at the heart of the event. The food is simply another tool to help people gather together and support something good in their community.

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