How to Host a Fabulous Fall Fundraiser
Last week we shared a story about the upcoming renovations to the Mount Vernon Community School Playground. And last Saturday night, the MVCS PTA held an event (their annual fundraiser for special projects) to raise money for the playground improvements. Leslie and I attended the festivities, joined by more than 200 people in the community, a spectacular evening with delicious food, drinks and live music in an amazing Del Ray backyard. But aside from supporting a great cause, Leslie and I left with lots of party ideas — many that can replicated whether you’re hosting a small gathering for 10 or a large-scale event for over 200.
We entered the event at a house on Hume Ave., decked out in all its Halloween glory. But what you can’t tell from the front is that the party actually spanned across four backyards — it got better and better as we meandered through the properties.
This first house served as home base with a registration table inside the front gate. The $40 admission fee for the adult-only party included dinner, dessert and two drink tickets.
For the most part, the party was outdoors (luckily the forecast for rain didn’t pan out). Evening Star Cafe and Buzz Bakery provided the food, heated in the home’s kitchen, with a buffet set up in the family’s living room. Other event sponsors included ASAP Printing, Monarch Title, Jen Walker and West Landscaping.
Individual servings of macaroni and cheese and salad were both placed in cups, ready for the taking, keeping the lines of people moving too. There was also chili, chicken and waffles, mini corn dogs, half-smokes and pretzel rolls, all food that’s easy to eat standing up at the high boys scattered around the deck outside.
A fruit, cheese and dessert table was off to the side in a covered porch.
As we walked around the various backyards (each with gates along the sides for easy entrance), we found live music, comfortable seating, bonfires at the ready and heat lamps.
A huge tent in the third yard was home to the raffle items. In advance of the event, parent volunteers collected donations of products and services from vendors in the community — spa gift certificates, growlers, sporting equipment, grade level gift packs, etc. Guests put tickets in the bowls of the items they wanted — encouraged to buy a “wingspan” of tickets for the best bargain.
Parents also donated items such as vacation rental homes for a live auction at the end of the night; businesses chipped in too — community partner Del Ray Pizzeria donated a private dinner party.
The fourth yard featured more seating, a Living Social photo booth, games and, of course, the bar which offered beer, wine, water and soft drinks.
Given the timing between Halloween and Día de los Muertos, it was no surprise that skeletons were the decor of choice, mixed with an abundance of twinkle lights for the evening event.
And finally, to illustrate one of the main goals for the event, funding playground improvements, there was another table display with a handmade 3-D replica of the project and a video on loop.
All-in-all, a fabulous fundraiser for sure, supporting a good cause with great friends in a fun and festive outdoor fall setting.