10 Steps on How to do a Last Minute Happy Hour Fundraiser

Hosting a fundraiser can seem like a scary task. I know at least for me it is

From asking restaurants to use their space,  mark down prices, and provide a hostess or quizmaster…
To having people  pay a cover charge, & hoping everyone has a great time and feel they got their money’s worth. . . 

Those are only some of the things that are nerve racking to me, but I get over it each time ! 

I am the only person in any of my immediate circles that raises awareness about different issues within the community, which also adds frights to the  planning process, because I do it solo dolo

My causes of choice are: 
2. Youth- specifically those in the mental health system & special education system 
3. Kidney Awareness

I have a direct connection to all 3 of these causes. Maybe in a later post we’ll discuss my involvement in each. 

Now, let’s get to the good stuff! 

This past August I hosted a Happy Hour Fundraiser at Nelly Spillane’s Bar & Restaurant to raise money for the NYCKidneyWalk2014. I raised $650 in 2.5-3 hours. 

Here are 10 steps on

 how I went about planning Kidney Walk 2014 Happy Hour Fundraiser

Step 1 Find A Cause & An Organization That Supports it

My cause: Kidney Awareness
My Organization: The National Kidney Foundation 

People need to know where their money is going and why you need it.

Here are a few questions to think about while finding the right cause:
Is there any social issue that effects me or someone that I am close to ?
Does this issue make me smile when great strides are made toward it ? 
Does it cause ire in my heart when people, places, or things are faced with challenges because of it ? 

If you answered yes to any of these questions that just may be a great cause to start with! 

These websites should help you pick an organization/charity that you can donate your funds to.

Step 2 Type of Fundraiser

My type: I had a happy hour fundraiser which included trivia & raffles. People received pamphlets and orange rubber bracelets that were donated by the National Kidney Foundation.

Other types: Panel Discussion, happy hour, picnic, dance party, bowling, silent auctions, 50/50 raffle, etc.

While thinking about the type of fundraiser you want to host, first consider the population that you would like to invite. Then think about some of the things you would like for the attendees to get out of it.

Do you want people to gain knowledge? 
Do you want to raise awareness? 
Do you want people to network ? 
Do you want it to be an informative event ?
Do you want there to be food? Alcoholic beverages? 
Do you want it to be an intimate setting ?
Will your peers mix well with your grandparents?

Once you have an idea of the type of fundraiser you want to host I encourage you to ask the potential attendees what are some things they would enjoy. 
Your event should be geared toward the enjoyment of everyone else, yet also accurately reflect who you are.

Step 3 Find a date

My fundraiser was on August 8th, 2014 8:00pm-10:30pm

 Touch base with your friends that you KNOW will be there, whether its rain! sleet! or snow! I chose the first Friday in August because many of my friends were going on vacation the weekends after that.

I chose 8:00pm because I got off work at 6:00pm so I gave myself enough time for getting dressed, traveling, setting up, and welcoming guest who may have arrived early.

Step 4 Location

Nelly Spillane’s is a intimate Irish pub that has great food and drinks. It’s a great after work spot. People do not have to scream to hear each other, there is great seating available, and it was perfect for trivia!

Make a list of all the places you’ve gone (or of the potential places to do a fundraiser) and do process of elimination. Place stars next to the top 3. (A lot of the places on my list  I’ve gone to for Happy Hour or off a groupon… I found Nelly Spillane’s on groupon.)

When choosing a location take into consideration transportation, prices, and dress codes.
Is the place train accessible ? Is there parking ? Can you wear sneakers ? 

Step 5 Make Contact With The Location

I emailed Nelly Spillane’s through their website. Shortly after a manager responded to my email and requested that I call him so we could discuss fundraising options.

(If you’re not sure of the type of event you would like to hold, here is a perfect time to hear the options that are offered to you. )

Go online, look up the place…chose your form of communication. You can call and speak to a manager or email them and wait for a response.

For an initial contact I usually send an email and wait 24-72 hours for someone to get back to me.

This email can also include your potential date. Feel free to make this email shorter if you would like.

Step 6 Speaking with Manager

In my first conversation with Mark, the manager, we discussed the various fundraising options & I chose a happy hour, told him my potential date, and we discussed the other miscellaneous activities (trivia & raffles.) 
He provided raffle tickets, 
wristbands, & a quizmaster. The quizmaster & I connected with one another on the trivia questions & topics.

When speaking with a manager, they will tell you the different fundraising options and you can also suggest some!  
Don’t forget to ask about paperwork. It’s always good to have a document when dealing with money. If the restaurant does not have one, let them know that you would feel comfortable if there was one in place. Offer to create it yourself and tell them that you need it for your personal documents and for the organization you are raising funds for.
Ask as many questions as you need to ask in order to have a clear understanding of what the location will be able to provide.

Some important questions I had to ask Mark:
Is a deposit required?
Will I be provided with a host to collect donations?
What drinks are included in the happy hour? are appetizers included?
Will you provide raffle tickets and wristbands?
Will you be able to provide a quiz master for the trivia?
Do you take a portion of what I raise?
Will you be able to provide prizes to the raffle and trivia winners?  

Step 7 Create Flyers

Once, a date is finalized create flyers and invite people! I utilized technology to my fullest ability. I advertised via email using mail chimp, social media, text messaging, and eventbrite.

    a. Eventbrite helped me keep track of the people attending.

    b. The night before my coworker asked me to Whip up a flyer so she could             promote my event. 

    c. Mail Chimp- Everyone who RSVP’d on Eventbrite I added them to my email list and sent them reminders and updates.

Step 8 Prizes

At my fundraiser, the bar donated a $40 bar tab, 3 magnums of liquor, and I prepared 8 gift bags at home. The value of the prizes ranged from $20-$60. My job was able to donate books, movie tickets, and tickets to the wax museum. The National Kidney Foundation also donated wristbands and pamphlets.

 You should first reach out to the organization you will be donating to in order to enhance you’re relationship with them. They will be glad to support your event since you are supporting them. Also reach out to your friends and see if their jobs can donate something.

Step 9 What’s your goal?

I thought about this question all the way at the end. I was so nervous that people would not show up that I ignored it. After a while, I asked myself ” How will I know if this is a success or not?”

Think about how much you want to make, or how many people you would like to see attend… Eventbrite will help a lot when it comes to RSVP’s and giving you a rough idea of how many people will attend.

Step 10 Show up!

Now all you have to do is show up!
Finish any business you have with the manager, such as payments or paperwork and have a good time!

I coordinated my fundraiser by myself, but the day of I had a team of about 4.
1. Mom- she collected the funds
2.Sasha- she sold raffle tickets
3.Monique- she distribute wristbands & pamphlets to those who donated
4. Quiz Master/Manager- calmed me every step of the way and provided me with everything I asked for

Don’t be scared to ask for things, even if it seems like you’re OD’ing. You never know what you can get if you don’t ask ! People are way more generous than you think !

If you are interested in doing a fundraiser in midtown Manhattan, 
I highly recommend Nelly Spillane’s !
Mark was a fabulous person to work with. He was honest & stayed to his word.
The other staff were amazing and extremely supportive when it came to doing business as well. 

Tell them Tiara sent ya 😉

If you have any questions feel free to contact me 🙂

Nelly Spillane’s Bar and Restaurant
  1. 18 E 33rd St, New York, NY 10016


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