Are you thinking of planning a spaghetti dinner fundraiser? Then you have come to the right place! In this post we will be reviewing everything you need to know to both plan and make your spaghetti dinner fundraiser a success.
What Is A Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser?
A spaghetti dinner fundraiser is pretty much what it sounds like. A spaghetti dinner is made, and the attendees pay to come eat the dinner, knowing they are paying to get a meal while raising money for a good cause.
The dinner is typically held in a place where a large group of people can gather and eat their food. Besides the dinner itself, you might opt for other fundraising events to happen while people eat. Some examples include having an auction for donated items or having attendees pay to play games.
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Planning A Spaghetti Dinner
What do you need to do to plan your fundraiser? Here is a list of some things to decide on:
- Pick a location
- Pick a date
- Figure out who will plan the meal and supply the food
- Figure out where you will get tables, chairs, decorations, plates, utensils, serving trays and utensils
- Find volunteers – for passing out food, setting up, cleaning up, handling the money, etc.
- Decide how the event will be advertised and to who
Each of these steps are very important. But, the first few things you need to accomplish are deciding on a location and date the works. Once you know this, you will need to nail down who will be making the food. Hopefully you can find someone with experience feeding large amounts of people, that is willing to volunteer his or her time.
Once you know who will be in charge of the meal, you need to make sure you will have tables, chairs, and if you want, some decorations. It’s possible the location you pick already has the tables and chairs. Or, you may need to rent these.
As you are planning the above items, start recruiting volunteers to help with the fundraiser. To pull off an event like this, you will need a great team of volunteers. This will include help with setting up the space, planning the meal, cooking the dinner, passing out food, and clean up.
Other things you will want to consider for your event include, having an MC. You could also consider having a few speakers to discuss the reason everyone has come together to raise money for your great cause and also what the funds will be used for.
Additionally, you could add a little extra to the fundraiser by getting items donated for an auction or maybe having games for people to play. The games could be just for fun or they could be use as an additional way to raise money. You could also do a 50/50 raffle.
Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser Tickets
A very important item you will need to figure out will be tickets. First of all, you need physical tickets to hand out when someone purchases a ticket to the event. Tickets are also necessary to keep track of how many plates you’ll need to account for. That way, you’ll know how much spaghetti to make!
Creating tickets for your event doesn’t have to be fancy or complicated. In fact, my daughter’s school uses simple business cards as spaghetti dinner tickets for its annual Athletics Department fundraiser.
Usually, our spaghetti dinner is held in the gym, but this year, because of social distancing, it’s a drive through/curbside pickup event.
Creating DIY Tickets for Your Fundraiser
As it turns out, creating business-card style tickets is very easy and quick to do. I use a free program called Canva to create graphics and flyers for projects like this.
For this fundraiser, you can create a custom ticket design in Canva using the template below. Once you have edited the information on the ticket, you can order the business card “tickets” right inside of the program. Select the Print Business Cards button at the top right and select your quantity:
complete with spaghetti graphics to get everyone’s mouth watering. (P.S. There’s a matching flyer later in this post!)
Make sure you order enough tickets plus a little extra (our school sends home 5 per family), then, patiently await for the printed cards to arrive at your door. Voila!
Grab a copy of the editable ticket template below (P.S. There’s a matching flyer later in this post!).
I love the spaghetti graphics on the tickets. They’re sure to get everyone’s mouth watering. (P.S. There’s a matching flyer later in this post!)
If you’re looking for a more straightforward design on your tickets (like the one our school uses) you can order them in packs of 500 on Amazon.
I found this listing for a pack of 500 printed business cards for about $30 plus shipping. The turnaround time is only about a week, which I think is pretty fast for a custom product!
I customized the back of the card (named “Surface 2”) with the following text (feel free to copy and paste):
SPAGHETTI DINNER FUNDRAISER
1 TICKET GOOD FOR 1 PLATE
SUNDAY APRIL 1ST FROM 11AM-1PM
Editing the text was incredibly simple to do and took less than 5 minutes. Plus, I was able to customize the font and the color of the text.
If creating customized tickets isn’t your style or is too pricey for your budget, a simple roll of raffle style tickets is very affordable and works just as well.
Spaghetti Dinner Ticket Prices
Next, you’ll need to decide on the spaghetti dinner fundraiser ticket prices. How do you figure out an appropriate price?
Before setting prices, you will want to have an idea on the budget for your event. What will be the cost for the setup, food, decorations, etc. The more of these things you are able to get donated or at a discounted price the better.
A good price point for spaghetti dinner fundraiser tickets is between $8-$10. So, once you know your budget, you’ll be able to get an idea of how many tickets you will need to sell, to make some money for your cause.
If $8-$10 is just not cutting it, you could always increase the price to $12 or $15, but you might not get as many people to buy at this price.
Lastly, will the tickets need to be purchased ahead of time or will you also sell them at the door? This will be an important factor to consider when planning how much food you need to buy. Something else to consider is preselling tickets at a cheaper price, but charging more at the door.
NOTE: My daughter’s school actually requires tickets to be purchased upfront. This helps the fundraiser coordinators make sure there is enough food for the attendees. I’ve added this note in the flyer template below, but it can be changed if you won’t require pre-purchases.
How To Plan For Food
As far as preparing the dinner, you will need to plan out what the meal and also figure out how much food is needed for your spaghetti dinner fundraiser.
Here is an example spaghetti dinner fundraiser menu:
- Garden salad with dressing
- Rolls, garlic bread or toast
- Choice or vegetarian or meat sauce (optional)
- Drinks (optional)
- Cookies and brownies for dessert (optional)
Our school only includes a side salad, spaghetti, and a roll inside of a take-out plate for convenience. Here’s what our school includes in their spaghetti dinner to-go plate:
Once you have settled on a menu, you need to figure how much food you will need of each item. In addition, you will need to make sure you have enough plates, utensils, cups, and napkins.
The key to buying the right amount of food, will be estimating the number of people attending your event. If tickets must be purchased ahead of time (recommended), you will likely have an easier time estimating how many people will attend. This will help you determine how much food to have.
Our school’s spaghetti dinner is a huge fundraiser for the athletic department. This year, the coordinators sold almost 1000 tickets! Here’s the sauce pot our volunteers use.
If this is the first year your school is hosting a spaghetti dinner, you most likely won’t need this kind of volume!
Plan for 1 pound of pasta for every four people, and one jar of sauce (16 oz) is needed for every pound of pasta. You will need 1 cup of salad for each person, and 1 to 2 pieces of bread per person. For drinks, assume each person will drink two 16 oz beverages.
Feeding The Attendees
How will you make sure everyone is fed? The best way is to setup long tables and have the food be buffet style. If you’re sending out the meals in take-out plates like our school, you can have them assembled along the buffet line.
For a traditional buffet, it’s best to have volunteers stationed at each food item. This way people will walk through the line and specify which food they want and the volunteers will put the food on plates for people going through the food line.
This controls the amount of food being eaten and helps keep the food line moving more quickly. Of course, if your attendees want more food, they can come up for seconds and thirds.
Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser Flyer
Now that you have decided to host a spaghetti dinner fundraiser, you need to figure out who you are raising money for and who you will target to invite.
If this is a PTO spaghetti dinner, then you would be getting the word out to parents and students at your school. Or, maybe this is a fundraiser for a family in need. In this case, you would target family and friends, along with the local community.
There are a few ways you can promote your fundraiser. One way is to make a flyer to post around town or school. Another great way to advertise, is to make a Facebook group or Facebook page for your event.
Use this free editable template to create a custom spaghetti dinner fundraiser flyer to distribute on paper or digitally. Create a free Canva account and start customizing the flyer for your event!
Once you’d added your event information to the template, download the image as a PDF to be printed and again as a JPG or PNG file to be shared in email or social media.
Spaghetti Dinner Donation Letter
To go along with the dinner itself, you could also consider creating a letter or email asking for donations. The donations could be for an auction, a monetary donation, or maybe you are looking for someone to donate a portion of the food. Those are just some examples.
The general outline of a spaghetti dinner donation letter will start by describing who you are, who you are raising money for, what the money raised will be used for, and what you are asking to be donated. Next, you can express your appreciation for a potential donation and if applicable, explain how their donation would be recognized publicly.
Finally, you can finish the letter with your contact information in case there are any questions and thanking them for their consideration of a donation.
That sums up the things you need to know to host a successful spaghetti dinner fundraiser. It will be a lot of work, but will also be a very rewarding experience where you raise a lot of money for a good cause!
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