Chefs and caterers are fabulous with food. However, many are uninitiated in the unique requirements for a sizzling fundraising auction. Different than weddings, parties and corporate functions where fundraising is not the norm, successful benefit auctions demand a crescendo of momentum, precise timing and tight teamwork.
Avoid the loss of precious auction dollars due to catering misunderstandings and timing blunders. When your auction guests become distracted or leave… so does their wallet or purse. You can never make up that loss of revenue.
First and foremost, YOU must communicate your expectations with your catering professional. Invite them to be a part of your fundraising team, teach them about your cause and their impact on raising funds that night.
Here are vital recipes to insure a scrumptious and successful auction fundraiser.
- Detail your event timeline minute-to-minute. Work closely with the caterer for the exact food service timing. Explain how course or food station fits in with your program and auction timing.
- Write it! Meet with the caterer, review your needs, get a written proposal and final contract and final timeline.
- Hold service at key moments. Explain there will be a few critical times that you need to hold all service, such as during your inspiring testimonials and your all important Fund a Need.
- Plan to stay on time. Appoint a key leader to communicate with the banquet captain in the kitchen on auction night. Meet with caterer and key staff several hours prior for final details.
- Serve dessert when is does not distract fundraising. Really. Assign a trusted volunteer to stand by the kitchen door and let servers know when it’s OK to bring dessert.
- Invite the servers to be part of your event. Announce the courses and thank the chef. Make it fun.
- Ban buffets. Consider a sit-down dinner OR food stations interspersed with silent auction tables instead. This way you can still raise money with silent auction and other interactive profit making activities while guests enjoy strolling, noshing and bidding.
- Avoid heavy pasta stations and turkey carving stations. (Hint: think what happens after Thanksgiving dinner zzz…)
- Thank your caterers, hospitality staff, servers and chefs. Their kind support makes all the difference to your fundraising success.
Copyright 2010 ©, Kathy Kingston. All Rights Reserved.