The Spaghetti Dinner fundraiser is one of those youth fundraisers where you need to give money away to raise money. A spaghetti dinner fundraiser is a great way to provide a variety of skills to the youth, raise funds and works well when combined with a special event like Father’s Day, International Youth Day or World Pasta Day.
Basic Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser How To
- Decide on a date, location and time.
- Your organization or youth group purchases the pasta, sauce, garlic bread ingredients, dessert ingredients and table settings. Otherwise, you may be able to get these items donated by businesses, parents or community members.
- Consider providing vegetarian and gluten-free options for people with different dietary requirements
- If you purchased the items, include those across the cost per plate; if it was all donated, it’s pure profit for your youth work program.
- Set a price – maybe $10, £10, £10 or ¥10 per ticket.
- Create tickets and flyers and sell the tickets to members of the public, parents, friends, organizational staff, other organizational stakeholders and donors.
- The youth cook the dinner and set the tables.
- The youth dress up and serve the meal – you’ll need servers, place clearers, hosts/hostesses, possibly a photographer and any entertainment (youth step team, youth music groups or youth poetry readings) you want to include.
Skills for Youth
Young people will learn a variety of skills during the Spaghetti Dinner fundraiser including, but not limited, to:
- Planning - All the youth will learn basic planning and preparation skills, from the venue to the date and time and cost analysis when setting the price of the tickets.
- Cooking - The youth that participate in the cooking and baking can learn basic life skills (heating water and sauce, unwrapping pre-prepared garlic bread and purchasing desserts) to more advanced life skills like vegetable chopping to make homemade sauce and how to bake from scratch (you could even run a meal planning youth work session in advance)
- Presentation and Hospitality - The youth that participate in the decorating of the tables and venue will learn about aesthetics, table settings and room layout.
- Graphic Design - Youth that create the flyers and tickets will most likely be using the computer (although it isn’t essential, as they can be handmade) and can learn useful Microsoft Publisher skills in the process.
- Service - Serving others can be both a practical skill and a soft skill. Youth can learn the ins and outs of food preparation and service, but also the social skill of doing something for others and the importance of volunteering.
At the basic price of $10 per ticket, you can raise $500 by providing a spaghetti dinner for 50 people. You can increase this amount by increasing ticket prices or numbers of participants. Bear in mind the number of youth you have to ‘work’ the meal, their ages and the venue size. Consider family plans for those with more than one or two children attending.
Many church youth groups already know about the spaghetti dinner fundraiser and partner it with their Wednesday night activities or provide it after church on a Sunday afternoon.
Some youth agencies use it as a way to honor their volunteers or employees.
If you don’t know where or how you would hold a spaghetti dinner fundraiser, take the time to talk to local businesses, churches or the local government. You can create some great community partnerships with local office staff, senior centers or churches. Just because your youth programming doesn’t come from or through the church, it doesn’t mean they won’t support a fundraiser by a local youth program.
Questions: How would you use a spaghetti dinner fundraiser? Have you organized one before? Was the financial outcome worth the effort? Share your ideas and stories in the comments below.
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