Posted in Celebrate, Healthy Wealthy and Wholesome, Lifelong Learning, MoneyMatters, Reason to Party, Resources

The Rewards of Dinner

With the upcoming benefit dinner a few months away, time! place! venue! and even a theme all squared away, Ama a member of the dozen member planning committee asks the question

How much are the dinner tickets going to go for?”

The room goes quiet for a quick second as they scan the budget document in front of them and just then Tonye asks

What is our biggest expense?”  

In determining the cost of tickets for any event, a helpful starting point is to identify the biggest expense.  This can serve as a base for tacking on additional expenses thereby helping to arrive at the cost of individual tickets.

Tonye’s question prompts Reuel, another chair on the committee to pass around copies of the caterer’s proposal.  This includes a cost breakdown of the menu items including the applicable state taxes and surcharge(s).

$5000 for 100 guests.

With the price per person in parentheses, the rest of the budget comprises:

Drinks – $500 ($5).

Décor – $500 ($5).

Entertainment (DJ and Dance Group) – $300 ($3).

Photographer – $200 ($2).

Liability Insurance – $1000 ($10).

Printed Programs and Recognition Awards – $500 ($5).

Swag Bag (Gifts) – $500 ($5).

Big Red Calculator
Big Red Calculator

The catering expense is the biggest expense at $50 per person ($5000 divided by 100 guests). By tacking on the cost per person for the additional items we arrive at the total cost per person.

Total expense per person = $75.

With $75 as a base cost, bearing in mind the objective is to raise funds, the committee settles on a dinner ticket of $100 per person.  The additional $25 inures to the benefit of the fundraising pot. This additional amount could also qualify as a tax deductible charitable contribution.

In addition to ticket sales, there are other ways of raising funds, one of them being through a raffle drawing.  Here are a few basic pointers for conducting a successful raffle, which unlike a door prize drawing, requires a purchase of a raffle ticket that entitles the participant to a chance to win a prize.

  1. All raffle items should be donated that way those savings on the items donated add to the pot of funds raised.
  2. Value of donated item – The amount paid to the winner should be $600 or less otherwise if it is more AND the payout is at least 300 times the price of the raffle ticket, a report needs to be filed with the internal revenue service.
  3.  Holding the raffle towards the end of event gives guests more time to view and bid on items.
  4. Create nice displays where raffle items are visible to attendees as they walk in.
  5. Have a manual drawing by a person at least 18 years of age.

Remember it is not all about number crunching,  it is also a festive occasion.  With all the arrangements in place, make sure your guests have a fun filled night with opportunities to interact, dance, drink, eat and be merry.  A memorable experience for your guests while raising money for a worthy cause is always a winner combination.



Broad based knowledge seeker; outside and beyond the box - arts and culture, travel, writing, christian faith walk, good reads and refreshing conversation - and not necessarily in that order. Storytelling by connecting the dots between the traditional and non-traditional, the obvious and not so obvious.

5 thoughts on “The Rewards of Dinner

  1. Great baseline for ideas and putting together a successful event. Another tip for saving could be if the caterer also can decorate the venue thus tacking that expense onto the catering bill which should allow for some negotiating that could possibly further drive down the bill.

    1. A package deal should give more room for negotiation.
      However, it also is a good idea to begin planning early which allows for comparison shopping for vendors to identify the best available package that meets the host(ess)’ needs.

    1. Very good point.
      Note the example is for illustrative purposes so that this is by no means an exhaustive list of expenses. Even better, if the venue is donated or provided by a sponsor, that would be one less expense and more money in the coffers.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s