Hosting a spaghetti dinner fundraiser is a great way to get your community together, eat a delicious meal, and raise funds for a good cause. To benefit, it’s essential to plan the event with plenty of time, promote the charity event like there’s no tomorrow, and take advantage of multiple streams of revenue.
For pro tips and easy-to-follow steps on achieving a killer spaghetti dinner fundraiser, check out our simple guidelines below.
What We’ll Cover
What is a Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser, and Who Hosts Them?
As the name suggests, a spaghetti dinner fundraiser involves a group of people paying to come together to eat spaghetti while raising money for a good cause. This type of fundraising dining event, which also includes breakfast fundraisers, is often held in a large space, indoors or outdoors, where many people can congregate. Typically spaghetti dinner fundraisers are accompanied by additional fundraising events such as silent auctions and fundraising raffles.
Spaghetti dinners are great fundraising ideas for churches, schools, and nonprofit community groups.
How to Plan a Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser
Being organized and taking the time to plan your spaghetti dinner fundraiser is a vital first step in hosting a successful charity event. Whatever type of fundraising event you are organizing, it’s essential to gather a solid team to optimize your fundraiser’s end result. Assemble a planning committee to handle various planning tasks, determine your fundraising goals together and create a roadmap to get there. Make sure to start planning at least three months in advance, as many organizations that you’ll be soliciting food and services from, plus acquiring the venue and collecting donations, may need at least two months to consider your requests.
A few tasks that your spaghetti fundraiser dinner team will need to undertake are:
- Setting your fundraising goals and fundraising budget
- Selecting and securing a good location is key. This is easy for schools and churches, as they can use the school/church cafeteria and kitchen. For this reason, a spaghetti dinner fundraiser is a great fundraiser for schools and churches. Nonprofits with interesting settings, such as zoos, libraries, or parks, could also consider hosting a spaghetti dinner fundraiser to create a unique experience
- Volunteer and chef recruitment
- Organizing transportation if necessary
- Procuring in-kind donations from local businesses
- Researching and setting the spaghetti dinner fundraiser prices. Make sure the ticket price is high enough to reach your goals but not too expensive that people can’t afford to participate
- Recruiting music or entertainment for the fundraiser
- Incorporating additional fundraising opportunities – a silent auction and/or fundraising raffle
- Event promotion and marketing – including managing your event management website for online registration and ticket sales
- Coming up with contingency plans and setting aside extra expenses for any unforeseen costs
- Closing and following up the event with thank you notes and impact reports
How to Create the Spaghetti Dinner Menu
When deciding what to serve at your spaghetti dinner fundraiser, it appears to be a no-brainer, right? Well, yes and no. Obviously, spaghetti needs to be on the menu, but here are some other important variables to think about so that you satisfy all your attendees’ needs:
- Will your spaghetti be served with a simple tomato sauce or with meat or meatballs? If you are offering a meaty sauce, make sure to provide a vegetarian (and possibly vegan) option. The idea is inclusivity to attract as many donors as possible.
- Will there be side dishes, like garlic bread, salad, or breadsticks?
- What about dessert options?
- What beverages should be included? Can you sell premium drinks, like wine or beer? Remember to look into alcohol regulations if you want to serve wine.
- If there is leftover food, will your organization consider donating it to a good cause?
Pro Tip: Remember that the more food you can get donated for your spaghetti dinner fundraiser, the less money your organization will spend and the more you’ll have to benefit your cause and reach your fundraising goals. Why not ask local restaurants to help with the catering in lieu of a donation? This will provide restaurants with valuable free advertising and the potential to gain new customers.
Setting the Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser Prices
So how do you know what to charge for your fundraiser? You’ll need to determine your menu and basic costs to start. Then, think about what kind of event theme you are striving for. Will it be a sit-down meal with waiters (extra cost) or more of a buffet-style, help yourself feel?
Determine your target audience and the number of people you can host to get an idea of how much your organization will gross on the dinner. Typically, spaghetti dinners are more casual, so you might consider ticket prices between $10 to $20 for adults with a discount for kids’ plates to make it a family-friendly event. Of course, you won’t be able to include everything (like alcoholic beverages) for $10 a plate.
Read more on pricing in-person, virtual, and hybrid events.
Utilizing a Fundraising Website to Sell Tickets Online
Fundraising software tools can help your team effectively manage the details of your spaghetti dinner fundraiser, from event registration and ticket sales, sponsorship sales and promotion, secure processing of online donations or related product sales to managing email communications. These software tools can help you cross your “t’s” and dot your “i’s” increasing your efficiency and allowing you to raise more money for your cause.
Promoting a Spaghetti Fundraising Dinner
Once you have your menu, venue, and other vital logistics in place, it’s time to get promoting your spaghetti dinner fundraiser and start selling tickets. Here are a few pro tips to get your fundraising event noticed and pull in as many donors as possible:
- Design and distribute a standout spaghetti dinner fundraiser flyer. Post it on social media channels, your personalized fundraising page and public spaces like cafes, schools and churches to create hype around the event.
- Set up a trendy hashtag challenge creating buzz around the spaghetti dinner fundraiser.
- Post updates, photos and stories on your fundraising page and social media channels giving your supporters a real insight into the face behind the fundraising event.
- Why not make your spaghetti dinner a signature fundraising event running year after year?
- Create a press release informing people in your community about how their presence at the event can help make a difference for your non-profit, organization or cause.
- Invite the media to attend. This creates a wonderful opportunity to share a story about community goodwill and also provides a great opportunity for news photos.
Day of Event Operations
Make sure to be prepared on the day of the event. It’s a good idea to arrive early and have a couple of run-throughs with the volunteers before the actual day of your spaghetti dinner fundraiser. Walkthrough registration, serving the food, set up and break down, how the guests will be greeted, how and when you will incorporate additional fundraising events, and go over all contingency plans. If you have event sponsors, be sure to put up signage where necessary and make an announcement during the event to thank attendees, donors, volunteers, and sponsors.
Pro Tip: Be sure to allow for donations after the event. This way, if someone has to miss the spaghetti dinner fundraiser or the media choose to run a story following the fundraiser, they can give people an opportunity to make an online donation.
Additional Ways to Raise Money at the Spaghetti Fundraiser
Why stop by only serving delicious food at your spaghetti dinner fundraiser? The best way to capitalize on the momentum generated by your event is by offering additional ways to raise money for your cause. Here are some top spaghetti dinner fundraising ideas to smash your fundraising goals and have fun while making a real impact on your community.
Consider adding a:
- 50/50 Raffle
- Silent or online auction
- Fund-a-Need campaign
- Store to sell spaghetti dinner-themed merchandise
A spaghetti dinner fundraiser is a great way to make an unforgettable impact in your community by bringing people together for a good cause. The options for incorporating extra fundraising events, which will optimize funds for your fundraiser, are limitless. Make sure to thank your supporters and volunteers personally after the event and show them how they personally impacted your organization’s cause. Building strong relationships is vital to ensure working together on future fundraising events.