Your non-profit organization has decided to host or is considering hosting a wine tasting fundraiser and you’ve been asked to help plan it. Here we’ve provided some basic guidelines for you to consider as your organization starts organizing and planning your wine tasting event. This information will help keep your planning process on track, and make you look like a pro the day of your fundraising event.
We cover the following topics:
Wine tasting events are very popular social and Valentine’s Day Fundraising events. After all, most people love tasting wines! This makes finding participants for the event pretty easy. If event promotion is done well, you are very likely to attract people outside of your donor base, purely on the popularity and appeal of wine tasting events.
The first step in organizing a wine tasting event is establishing fundraising goals. Determine how much money you need to raise and estimate costs as these will certainly influence your planning, Create a fundraising event budget and project plan that spells out your financial goals and outlines roles and responsibilities.
Decide on an initial format for your wine tasting event. Will it be part of a larger charity gala event or is it a stand-alone fundraiser? Will the wine tasting be an educational event, a blind tasting or a judged show? Will you have a theme and specialize in red wines for Valentine's Day, summer white wines or champaigns? How will participating vineyards or wine shops have an opportunity to promote their products?
Contact your local Chamber of Commerce to find out if other charity events are taking place in your area on your proposed dates. Over saturation of too many fundraisers could lead to low attendance and unattainable financial goals. You’ll want to avoid competing against another wine tasting events or large community charity events if at all possible.
Successful fundraising events hinge on the recruitment and action of a strong leadership team. Ideally your team should be comprised of individuals with diverse skills and talents that share a common interest in the organization’s success. It is also highly suggested that you get knowledgeable donors and board members involved on your event planning committee. They may not know about fundraising, but they’ve been to other wine tasting events to know what works and what doesn’t.
Working smart at this stage of the game requires delegation. Consider assigning a person (or team of people) to the following project areas:
A critical step in the planning process of wine tasting events and charity galas is the location selection. Your organization will want to find a desirable, perhaps private location (such as a country club or vineyard). Offering a private wine tasting in a venue such as this will allow you to charge more for your event registration. If you are hosting a gala in conjunction with the wine tasting, you will obviously need have sufficient room for seating. If the wine tasting is less formal, it can happen in a tasting room where participants roam around and go to wine tasting tables.
Be sure to include food with your wine tasting. You certainly don’t want people leaving after tasting all of your wines, without eating anything. Wine and cheese are classic, and by adding fruit, crackers and artisan bread, your hors d'oeuvres are pretty well covered. Many wine tastings also pair olive oil tastings or wood-fired pizza and even chocolates. Be sure that your venue has a kitchen and can assist with your food preparation needs or will allow you to bring your own hors d'oeuvres perhaps catered from local participating restaurants.
Forging a strong partnership with a winery or vineyard can help you establish a strong foundation for successful wine tasting events. Once you’ve identified the location meets your needs, you’ll want to iron out the details with the staff and proprietors. Putting everything into writing and signing an agreement can alleviate confusion on the day of the wine tasting. Here are some things you’ll want to include in your contract:
In summary, make sure you are prepared with a list of questions before you start negotiations with a preferred wine tasting or charity gala location or vineyard. You may want to compare costs and services between a few different locations to ensure you are getting a fair deal, and put everything in writing to protect your organization. But most important, make sure you feel comfortable with the terms and the staff at the vineyard or event location, as you want to make sure they’ll treat your guests to a great day of hospitality.
You will certainly want to promote your fundraiser and sell tickets in advance online. DoJiggy is one of the industry leading fundraising websites for managing the full event life cycle of wine tasting fundraising events including functions to:
One of the most important considerations in your event planning will be to look at ways to bring in additional revenue. Below are some fundraising ideas to consider:
See our blog on the San Jose Sharks successful wine tasting event. To get more wine tasting party ideas for your organization.
We offer more unique fundraising ideas to help your organization earn more money before, at the wine tasting and after your charity gala event.
DoJiggy provides event planners with a complete set of fundraising resources to help make your charity gala wine tasting a success. Visit our free resources for additional information and sample documents which can easily be modified for your fundraising needs including: checklists, budgets, sample fundraising letters and more.