So something I get asked a tone about is running a movie night fundraiser. In the last two years I helped run and organise several successful movie nights, raising money for PANDA. And with their awareness week coming up again at the end of the year I thought what a better time to share my top tips for running the perfect night!
Some of these tips are great to apply to not just movie nights but any event or fundraiser if you have anything coming up!
Approach Your Cinema
First you will need to find somewhere suitable to host the movie. Cinemas at shopping centres are great because they have tones of parking and transport. Speak to them about their fundraising rate as this is usually a little bit cheaper. If your organising a fundraiser across multiple locations then try negotiate an even cheaper ticket price. Usually these rates will be available on their website.
Also work out how many people you expect to attend and book a cinema size accordingly. If you book it privately you will have t pay for each and every seat. The other option is to just book as many as you sell in a public booking but you won’t be able to do anything before and after the movie.
Work Out Costs
Obviously, the main purpose of the night is to raise money for your chosen cause. Negotiating the lowest ticket price you can. Most places have a set fundraiser package/cost. From that then work out what you will charge and what’s included in the price. Will you have a food and beverage package? We never took this option as it ate into the money raised and mums are pretty thrifty already – a few sandwich bags of popcorn and water bottles with vodka lemonade were seen 😉
Calculate based on your margin x number of tickets to sell – what you’ll make. Then, of course, any additional costs like a liquor license, alcohol, cups, entertainment etc.
Keeping Track of Planning
If your running the event with a few people it can be hard to keep track of who is doing what and when. We used an app called Asana, which allows you to create events and teams, track tasks and who is responsible for them and when.
We used an online ticketing system so that there was no handling cash and following up money. TryBooking is my top pick as it’s easy to use and the fees are low (around 30 cents per ticket), whereas sites like EventBrite have a little more functionality (you don’t even need them for a movie night), their fees are quite high and you don’t want to waste fundraising money.
We sold two ticket options, a standard and VIP which included gift bags and seating priority.
It’s a great way to allocate exactly how many tickets you have to sell, track sales and numbers already sold, and transfer the money raised as one lump sum.
Advertising Your Event
The best and cheapest way is to create a Facebook event and invite people to and to share the event. You can add the ticketing link so people can buy directly from the event page. You can spend a little money to boost the event to the local area as well as share in local community pages.
Another great way is to contact your local media like newspaper and radio. They may run your event as a charitable entry (little to no cost).
If you have physical event posters then you can also stick them up in local shops like cafes and clothing stores.
Running A Raffle
Depending on the size of your event, how much manpower you have helping you and what you’ve promised with tickets then I’d think long and hard before running a raffle. They seem great in theory but they take a lot of time and effort to gather items and run it, but if you think you can pull it off then go for it!
Make sure you’re actually selling tickets to enter though, otherwise it’s a waste of time really.
Don’t just ask any man and his dog, because businesses get asked all the time for this stuff. Be meaningful about who you ask, why they would give to your cause over anything else. Make it worth their while, and explain what their donation gets them.
Keep a spreadsheet of the business you plan to/have contacted. Create a form for them to fill out with their details, names, phone numbers, description of the item they’re donating, pick up/drop off details. This way when you’re promoting the raffle you have all the details on hand and also it actually makes it to the winner 🙂
Some Fun Ideas
If you don’t want to do a raffle or you wanna really make it a night to remember then some little low-cost ideas can have a big effect.
We had a dedicated SnapChat filter for the night. It cost around $20 and we selected an area to cover most of our town (you do this via their website).
Another great option is a giant Facebook frame for photos. You can have this personally designed and printed on thick card at a local printer. Kmart also has heaps of party props you can use for photos.
If you’re running a movie night aimed at mums then I’d say it’s pretty likely you want to serve a cheeky glass of champagne right? But just make sure you check the licensing of the venue as you may have to purchase it through them (costly and maybe not worth it) or you might need a temporary licence.
We had to apply for one for our cinema as they didn’t have a liquor licence. We could provide the champagne but not sell it obviously. We also had to serve it within the doors of the cinema as it was a ‘private function’.
Just make sure you do your research and not waste your time and money.
On The Night
As cinemas don’t have a big gap of time between their sessions you need to move pretty quick. You won’t be able to do anything within the cinema, but you might have a little pre-session set up if there is an area available.
I wouldn’t waste too much time or money on decorations or set up’s, people won’t get to utilise it. We’ve been there and done that and it’s not worth it really.
You could potentially speak to a local venue about hosting an after party. Discuss a private area, a drink special or free entry in exchange for a large number of people coming to their venue after the movie if you want to carry on the fun afterwards 😉
If your working with a charity like PANDA, also make sure you get in touch about using their resources and arranging a fundraising kit to help the night along. Most charities will have many resources for you to use on the night!
Hope these tips and tricks helped and if you happen to run your own event, I’d love to hear about it!