How to plan a barbecue fundraiser

Written by elizabeth balarini
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How to plan a barbecue fundraiser
Brisket is a popular main course at barbecue fundraisers. (bbq image by Colin Buckland from

Fundraisers are a method of selling goods or services for the purpose of earning money for a group or organisation. Selling plates of barbecue are one way that people can earn funds for their group. Barbecue fundraisers are mutually beneficial: the group earns their money relatively quickly, and customers get a quality fresh meal at a good price. Attention to details is important in the planning of a barbecue fundraiser, to ensure its success.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Food (your choice)
  • Paper goods
  • Location
  • Speakers and source of music (optional)
  • Seating (optional)
  • Computer
  • Printer
  • Cardstock
  • Paper

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  1. 1

    Start planning well ahead of time. recommends starting the planning process at least six months before the intended fundraiser date.

    Make a list of the phone numbers and addresses of local businesses that you can solicit for donations. Many local businesses contribute to fundraisers for non-profit organisations.

  2. 2

    Get everyone in the group food-handler certified, so that you will be in compliance with the law. Also, suggests calling the city hall to determine if your group needs any licenses or permits to conduct a barbecue fundraiser.

  3. 3

    Decide on what sort of barbecue plates you want to prepare and sell. Chicken leg quarters are less expensive than brisket, but you might sell more plates of brisket because it's a higher-quality meat.

  4. 4

    Determine what side dishes you will serve with the main dish. Examples are potato salad, beans, rice, corn on the cob, and/ or bread. Ask local businesses to contribute these items, or have members of the group each donate these things to the fundraiser.

  5. 5

    Choose where you will hold your fundraiser. Churches and schools are popular places to hold fundraisers. If your group doesn't own any property, ask your local government about using a public park for your fundraiser.

  6. 6

    Decide how you will serve the food to your customers.

    If you have tables and seating, you can serve your customers for several hours throughout the day. suggests serving a lunch crowd and dinner crowd.

    Eric Vela, of Boy Scout Troop 345 in Portland, Texas, says that his troop has a kerbside service for their annual barbecue fundraiser. Customers drive into the car park, and scouts bring out the covered plates to their cars. This saves the troop money on table and chair rental, and cuts down on the post-barbecue clean up.

  7. 7

    Determine a price for your barbecue fundraiser plates. Figure out how many people you can serve with the amount of food you plan to purchase or otherwise acquire. Keep your total costs in mind, and calculate how much each plate costs to make. Arrive at a price that seems reasonable for customers, and gives you a nice profit.

  8. 8

    Print tickets for members of the group to sell to customers. Use a coloured card stock to make the tickets more attractive.

  9. 9

    Print flyers and place them in prominent areas around your community. Windows of convenience stores, library notice boards, and laundromats are places where people will see your flyers.

  10. 10

    Ask within your group for volunteers to prepare the food. Prepare side dishes the night before, and refrigerate them. Cook the meats on site, the morning of the fundraiser.

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