Firing up Your Barbecue Fundraising

Young friends having barbecue party, outdoorsWhen it comes to barbecue fundraisers, it's all about the food! But you can also incorporate a variety of other money-making activities into your barbecue in order to attract a crowd, and keep them entertained and eating/buying your grilled goods throughout the entire day.

Hosting a barbecue fundraiser is a great way for school sports teams, charities, and youth groups to make money to support their costs and operating expenses.

Getting the grub

In order to get an array of grilled goods for your barbecue, look to local businesses in your community. Approach local butchers, grocery stores, markets, farmers, and restaurants, and ask them to donate grillable goods, condiments, and hamburger and hotdog buns in exchange for your posting their advertising, fliers, or posters at your barbecue.

You can also make up aprons for your chefs that contain all of the sponsors' logos. For sizable cash donations, let sponsors display company banners, and display ads for sponsors that provide the food and beverages, grills and fuel, tables and chairs, tents, or any other major necessities.

Add extra money-making ventures to your barbecue – Create some easy games for the kids, such as:

  • Ball and bucket toss
  • Floating duck pond for prizes
  • Turtle race
  • Whack-a-mole
  • Haunted house

Make extra money by charging small fees for these games.

You can also make extra money by providing activities for the adults, such as:

  • Invite local indie bands to play, and ask them to play for free in exchange for the chance to promote their shows and sell CDs and T-shirts.
  • Feature door prizes. Get sponsors to donate bicycles, bottles of wine, and gift certificates.
  • Host a 50/50 draw. Your group takes half of the money raised, and the winner takes the rest.
  • Host a silent auction

Tips for barbecue charity fundraiser success:

  • Make your barbecue an all-day event by offering lunch from about 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and grilling up dinner from 5p.m. to 7 p.m. If you include the activities above, you might even keep guests around for both.
  • Get a master griller to teach a workshop on marinating, smoking meat, or on how to roast a pig. Charge a small fee.
  • Do a special group order form, and offer food delivery for local businesses that can't make it to the event.
  • Offer your guests an array of grilled items. Set up a section of barbecue grills, all preparing different items such as beef, pulled pork, chicken, Cajun catfish, spicy foods, fruit and veggies, country cooking, and more!
  • Incorporate a market into your fundraising barbecue by letting vendors pay a flat fee to rent a table to sell their wares, crafts, and commercial items.

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