Q. I’ve heard about Charity Race Nights but I don’t know anything about horseracing.
A. Don’t worry you don’t have to book the local racecourse! The races are on a DVD which you project onto a large screen at your venue. There are lots of companies who can supply you with absolutely everything you need ( and offer you a lot you don’t! ) to run a successful charity race night.
Q. What else will we need?
A. Race nights work well around a simple charity dinner or buffet. If appropriate a bar also helps to create the party mood. The more swish and professional you can make your evening the better it will run and the more money you will make so try to make a real evening of it.
This is one of those fundraisers that really needs a great Master of Ceremonies. This is not a role for Shrinking Violets! Finding the right person (someone with a bit of blarney, who knows how to fundraise) for this role can really help your evening along and bring in extra cash.
You can also dress up the rest of your volunteers as racegoers, jockeys, bookmakers etc. Anything that adds to the fun of the evening.
Q. How will we make money?
A. Advertise your race night well in advance and sell tickets. Try to cover your costs on the tickets but don’t forget that you will also be making money during the evening.
The companies supplying you should be able to give you a reasonable estimate on takings so do your maths.
A good fun night out with friends and a meal is worth paying a bit for.
The individual races and horses can also be sponsored in advance by local companies or attendees. So for example, you could have “The Greedy Greg Handicap” – Sponsored by our local bakers Greedy Greg’s Pie Shop. Alternatively how about The Janie Jones (you dont look a day over 21) Birthday Celebration Derby! Sponsored by all your friends in the office.
Sponsors can provide gifts or cash as prizes for the winning owners or for you to add to your evening’s takings..
Q. Won’t there need to be betting? I don’t know the first thing about being a bookmaker.
A. You don’t need to. Although you are betting on real races (ones that were run and filmed long ago) no-one knows anything about the horses or their likely chances.
To keep things simple and legal most race nights use a simple totaliser system for the betting. The company you use will explain it to you but it involves no real odds just a simple sum whereby winning bets receive an agreed share (usually 50%) of the total take which is then split between all those people who backed the winner. This also guarantees that you cannot lose.
Q. Sounds complicated?
A. It really isn’t. here is an example:
Selling tickets @ £1.00 each, a total of 90 tickets for a race have been sold = £80.00
Divide this amount in two:- 50% payout = £40 and 50% to your charity =£40
If a horse called Charity Girl wins and 10 tickets for that horse have been sold, The £40 winner’s pot is divided by 10 =£4.00 for each winning ticket.
If a horse called Good Cause Maddie wins and 4 tickets for that horse have been sold, £40 divided by 4 = £10 for each winning ticket.
Some organisations prefer to sell fake money or counters for the betting side of things with teams competing for the honour of coming out on top at the end of evening.
Q. Anything else?
A. Knowing how to fundraise properly is all about thinking outside the box. Charity race nights can have all sorts of other ideas tacked on to them that will add to the success of the evening and could bring in some extra cash. Best dressed race-goer or couple is a good or selling strawberries and cream. Also don’t forget to have all your other usual fundraisers on the go such as raffles and tombolas. The fundraiser’s motto should always be – “if you see a crowd – sell them something!”
So give a charity race night a go. They are good fun and always a really popular fundraising idea.