May 2019 will see another federal election and that means one thing – election day fundraisers at schools, churches and public buildings across Australia.
While a sausage sizzle and cake stall is standard at most school-based polling stations, there are a number of other fundraising options you can explore.
Remember your audience
Polling always takes place between 8am and 6pm on a Saturday, but many people like to go early to get it out of the way. Therefore you will find your biggest crowds in the morning. And unlike other school events, your typical election day crowd will be primarily adults. Sure, you will get your parents dragging along reluctant kids on the way to Saturday morning sport or ballet, but you also need to take into account the teenagers and students, couples who are pre-kids, empty nesters and retirees. An effective election day fundraiser will take this into account.
Food and drink
Setting up an all-day BBQ is a good option, as you can cater for people throughout the day. Bacon and egg rolls for the breakfast crowd, before switching to hot dogs or burgers at lunch time. Here are some tips for running a sausage sizzle.
A cake stall is always popular. Remember to provide a mix of whole cakes for people to take home, as well as individual cupcakes or pieces of slice. Savoury muffins are a good item for the breakfast crowd (such as spinach, feta and sundried tomato) and kids always love perennial favourites honey joys and lolly bags. Homemade jams and chutneys are always popular, and easy to make in advance.
Unless you happen to have a barista handy, hiring a Coffee Van is always a good idea, especially for early morning voters. You might be able to charge them a fee for setting up at your polling booth, or they may offer you a percentage of sales made on the day.
Slushies are another good option, maybe not at 8am, but they will be very popular with the kids from mid-morning onwards.
If you’re reading this at the last minute or you don’t have many volunteers who will be able to help on the day, you can still cater to your local community and make a small profit by inviting food trucks on site, or an icecream van who may share profits or pay a flat fee.
Lastly, if your community refuses to do any more baking, outsource to Krispy Kreme and raise funds by selling boxes of donuts, or walk up and down the queues selling individual donuts to people waiting to enter the polling station. Please note they require a minimum of 2 weeks notice, and on weekends you would need to collect your order from your local store. Find out more here.
While you can easily make a raffle hamper or two and sell tickets on the day, keep in mind the winner will need to come back to your school/church/hall later that day or the following week to collect their prize. If you think your community would support it, consider a large scale raffle such as those run by Australian Fundraising where the prizes are Australian or international holidays valued at thousands of dollars.
Another option would be a second-hand book stall. Avoid doing a full white elephant stall unless you advertise widely in advance, as people won’t be expecting it, and may not be able to carry large toys or household items home with them. However, most people will be happy to carry a couple of books home. Keep prices low and simple, and provide bags and boxes where possible.
You can also approach your local community and see if there are any small businesses or artisans who would like to set up a market stall for a set fee. Keep in mind that unless you advertise widely in advance, many people won’t expect the extra stalls and may not come prepared with cash. If you have market stalls, try and insist they have EFTPOS facilities unless you are located near to an ATM. Also keep in mind that when you have external providers, your insurance requirements might change, and it’s worth checking with your local P&C/P&F group about what is entailed.
While adults will form the bulk of your customers on election day, there will still be plenty of kids. Keeping them amused while parents wait in line to vote will be appreciated by all.
– bouncy castle
– face painter
– simple DIY sideshow alley games
– decorating gingerbreads or cupcakes
– petting zoo
– craft area (eg sand art or making slime)
– lucky dip bags or tombola
It’s important that costs are kept low and simple – say $2 for each activity.
Ask around at the school and the local community for an idea of when the numbers coming to poll traditionally drop off. There’s no point running a BBQ til 6pm if only a few dozen people come after 3pm. Likewise there’s nothing worse than packing up at 1pm if there is still a huge queue of people arriving to vote.
What is your favourite election day fundraiser?