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					Dinner and Dessert
Dinner and Dessert
   What is Dinner and Dessert?

   Dinner and Dessert is a fundraising event in which organizers host a dinner to raise money to support
   our troops and their families. This can be a single dinner or a series of dinners held by different members
   of a club, church/synagogue, neighborhood, etc. Money is raised through sponsorships, ticket sales,
   auctions, raffles, and other creative means.

   An organizer may consider having multiple hosts on a single night…culminating with an auction and
   desserts at one central location where all diners celebrate the money raised to support our military
   families. The dinners can be as formal or casual as the host desires.

   Checklist for Success

       o   Set specific goals: How many hosts/dinners do you want to have? How much money do you
           want to raise? How many people do you want to have come to the dinner(s)?
       o   Organize a team to help you.
       o   Develop a timeline. [see sample timeline]
       o   Develop a full list of prospective volunteers and then ask them to create a list of prospective
           sponsors, guests and auction donors. The key is to not leave anyone off. People naturally want
           to help others, and look for ways to do so.
       o   Keep it simple! Elaborate events don’t tend to raise more money; they just wear out the
           organizer. If you start to feel overwhelmed, stop. Take a breath. Ask yourself if what you are
           doing is really something critical for the success of the fundraiser. If it is, think of who can help
           you get it done. If it feels too overwhelming to get done in one step break it into multiple steps
           and cross each step off as you get it done. You’ll feel a sense of accomplishment.

   Ask Others for Help

   A great way to spread the word about Dinner and Dessert is by asking others to help you. Even if they
   cannot help themselves, they may know others who can. You will be surprised who will be willing to help
   you when you let them know what you are doing. People are more likely to volunteer to help if you are
   both clear and specific on what you would like them to do. Each of your teammates should know his or
   her role and be able to easily check tasks off their list as they are completed. This will keep them
   engaged and wanting to help again.

          Different Roles Friends Can Play
                o Hosting the dinner(s)
                o Obtaining food donations
                o Cooking the dinner/dessert/specific courses
                o Obtaining beverages
                o Selling sponsorships
                o Selling tickets
                o Getting auction/raffle items
                o ―Day of‖ logistics (set up and clean up, etc.)

          Where to find help? [see “Where to Look for Help”]

       As you begin to plan your event, answer the following questions:
Dinner and Dessert
     What do you want to accomplish with this event? Here are just a few potential answers. Note those
     that apply or write your own.

     I want to…

     …get the members of my church/club/alumni group/my family/my neighbors more engaged.

     …give back to our troops and their families for all that they do for us.

     …have fun.

     …become more involved in the community.

     …OTHER

     How much money do you want to raise to support the troops? (after any expenses)

     Suppose you want to raise $10,000. You may be able to do that at a single dinner with high priced
     tickets and sponsorship. Or, you could get five hosts who each commit to raising $2000 at their
     dinners. Whichever method you choose, set a goal and then allow yourself the resources to exceed
     it.

     How many people do you want to attend? Are you trying to engage a certain group of people?

     How many people can you comfortably host at your home? Do you have another location where you
     could host a larger dinner? Where would you have them sit? Will this be an outdoor dinner? Where
     will people park? Where will the auction be set up?

     If you want to engage a larger group of people, you may need to think of alternative locations to host
     the dinner—your church/synagogue, your community center, a ―show‖ home in a new neighborhood,
     etc. You also may want to break it up into multiple dinners held by different people.

     How many people do you think you can get to help?

     Having people to help you will ensure the success of the event as well as let you keep your sanity.
     Everyone can have a lot of fun while organizing the fundraiser. Asking for help does not make you
     week…it strengthens you. [see sample organization chart]

     Budget

     Your budget includes your income as well as your anticipated expenses. These are guidelines and
     will help you in your planning. Your expenses should be no more than 10-15% of your total income.
     So if your goal is to gross $10,000 your expenses should be in the range of $1,000-$1,500. [see
     sample budgets]

        Controlling Expenses. Donors want to know that the money is going to help the troops and their
         families. Expenses should be kept between 10-15% of the total money raised. You can have a
         first class event—just get first class items donated!

             o    Getting Items Donated. Create a check list of items you need to make the event a
                  success. For a dinner, it usually is fairly simple and may include:
Dinner and Dessert
                         Appetizers
                         Salad
                         Main course
                         Desserts
                         Beverages
                         Tent, tables, chairs, dishes, glasses, linens
                         Bartender/wait staff
                         Local chef to cook
                         Centerpieces/decorations
                         Cab service/Designated Drivers if people will be drinking
                         Auction/raffle items

              o   [see sample in-kind donation letter]

   Raising the Money

         Sponsorship
             o Look at who you normally write ―checks‖ to on a regular basis (bills, expenses, regular
                 purchases, etc.) and ask them up to sponsor your dinner party.

              o   As a rule, existing relationships such as close personal or professional connections will
                  be the most fruitful. Don’t hesitate to ask. The worst they could do is say no.

              o   How to solicit a sponsorship - The best way to get someone to say yes to any type of
                  solicitation is to ask them in person. The least effective way is to send a letter. There are
                  only so many places you can personally visit. Have a few of your teammates step in to
                  help solicit sponsorships. Asking people/companies that you/your teammates do
                  business with should be top priority.

          Talk to the sponsor about what you are doing, and why you are doing it. You are not asking for
          yourself; you are asking on behalf of all of our military families. This is a specific way your
          potential sponsor can help thank the troops and their families for what they do each and every
          day for our country.

          Ask for a specific amount of money. Ask for a little more than you think that they can afford.
          People are not offended when you ask for too much money, but they will not write a check for
          more than you ask for. If they are not able to afford the first amount you ask for, negotiate to an
          amount that they feel comfortable with.

          What if they don’t say yes right away? [See “Overcoming Objections”]

         Ticket Sales
          o Create a team of ticket sales people.
          o Host a Dinner and Dessert Kick Off. Ask your volunteers to come up with their target lists.
              Use your ―Where to Look for Help‖ tool [see “Where to Look for Help”] to give them ideas.
              Get commitments for how many tickets the team will sell. Make sure that your sponsorship
              volunteers are comfortable with the sponsorship goals. If there is any hesitation, you’ll need
              to make adjustments such as selling more tickets, recruiting more volunteers, lowering
              expenses, etc. so that you can achieve your fundraising goal.
          o Challenge them to a contest to see who can sell the most tickets in a given period of time.
Dinner and Dessert
         o   Depending on the size of your dinner party, ask your volunteers to use their Facebook pages
             to let their friends know about the event and the different ways they can help. You may want
             to set up an event page on Facebook. They may also want to Tweet about it on Twitter.
         o   The best way to sell tickets or sponsorships is to have a face-to-face conversation with the
             person. Ticket and sponsorship goals won’t be met by just mailing out invitations and
             postings on Facebook.
         o   Remember, you aren’t asking for yourself—you are asking them to help support our troops
             and their families!
         o   Keep the enthusiasm high amongst your volunteers by sending out regular e-mails
             recognizing their successes—selling sponsorships, number of tickets sold by a particular
             person, getting food/chef service donated, etc. Keep them informed of how the planning is
             going—let them know if you’ve gotten a great auction item donated, etc. It will keep them
             motivated and excited!

        Auction
            o Usually you can find volunteers who have been successful with auctions for other events
                event who are willing to fill this role for your event. There are definitely volunteers who
                love to help out with auctions!
            o Live vs. Silent
                     Live Auction. A live auction is usually for larger, more valuable items. You will
                         need a volunteer who understands how to run a live auction to act as the
                         auctioneer. Live auctions can become part of the evening’s entertainment.
                         Sometimes a guest will become excited and offer up their own live auction item—
                         such as a week at their vacation home, or box seats to a sporting event, etc, that
                         could really add fun to the festivities.
                               Ideas for Live Auction Items:
                                      o Piece of nice jewelry
                                      o Box seats to a sporting event
                                      o Hotel stay (if hotel is local, see if you can get gift certificate to a
                                          fancy restaurant nearby)
                                      o Airline tickets/trip
                                      o Week stay at someone’s beach or mountain vacation home
                                      o Golf for two on an exclusive course with cart and lunch thrown in
                                          (tips from the pro might increase bidding as well!)
                                      o Spa day Gift Certificate for two at exclusive spa
                                      o Dinner cooked by local chef in your home or in his kitchen
                     Silent Auction. A silent auction is usually for smaller auction items and a great
                         option to have during a cocktail hour or dessert. Items are decoratively displayed
                         on tables with bid sheets. Volunteers will need to watch the tables and be ready
                         to answer questions and ensure that minimum bids are being met. Someone
                         may need to present feature items to get people excited and drive up the bidding.
                         Ensure that participants know how long the auction will be open. Experience
                         indicates that most bids will come in the last 15 minutes of an auction.
                               Ideas for Silent Auction Items:
                                      o Manicure/pedicure at spa
                                      o Movie tickets with popcorn thrown in
                                      o Spring yard clean up
                                      o Spring cleaning for your home
                                      o Car tune up
                                      o Gift certificate to local boutique
Dinner and Dessert
                                        o    Lunch/Dinner at a local restaurant
                                        o    Baskets of donated merchandise (consider a theme: kid’s gifts,
                                             cooking , golf, baking, scrap book items, etc.)
                                        o Note: Art is very subjective and may not sell for as much money
                                             as you expect.
                               Sit down with your auction volunteers and brainstorm ideal auction items.
                                Think of individuals who may be able to give or get a particular item for the
                                auction

         [see sample donation letter]
         [see sample bid sheet]

         Raffles/drawings
              o Know what your state laws are concerning raffles/drawings.
              o Items that make great raffle prizes include movie/sports tickets, spa treatments,
                  restaurant gift certificates, and electronics among many more.
              o Ask each invitee to bring a bottle of wine from a different region or country and hold
                  raffle/auction.
              o Conduct a ―Bag of 20’s‖. To participate, the donor write his/her name on a $20 bill that is
                  collected and put into a bag. After the $20’s are collected from all who would like to
                  participate, one $20 bill is pulled out of the bag and that person wins half the proceeds
                  with the other half going to the charity. This is a quick way to earn some extra money at
                  your event. Often the winner will choose to donate the money back or spend it on
                  auction items!
              o If you have multiple potential raffle items and don’t want to use them in an auction, you
                  could decoratively display them and put baskets or jars in front of them to collect raffle
                  tickets. Then encourage your attendees to buy multiple raffle tickets and put them in the
                  basket/jar near the item they want to win. After sales of the tickets are done, take time
                  (maybe between courses?) to pull a winner of a particular item. This is a great way to add
                  fun to your dinner!

   Event Planning

         Day of Agenda
             o [see sample agenda]
         Food and Beverage:

                Things to Think About

                o   Is each home owner going to provide their own food and beverage?
                o   Are you going to look for a beverage sponsor/someone to donate the wine for the
                    evening, etc?
                o   Ask a local restaurant to donate the dinner.
                o   Ask a local chef to donate the dinner.
                o   Ask a local caterer to donate the dinner.
                o   Do you want to feature a particular cuisine (and then theme the dinner around the
                    cuisine)?
                o   Do you want to do an outdoor barbeque?
         Fun
Dinner and Dessert
             o   Themes (around specific outside events—like The Academy Awards, the Super Bowl,
                 March Madness, Graduation, TV Shows/Movies, Holidays, etc.)
             o   Auction and/or raffle
             o   Games: Pictionary, Murder Mystery, Apples to Apples, volleyball, croquet, poker, etc.
             o   Guess the Grape: Hold a wine tasting and ask the diners to guess what kind of wine it is.
                 The guest(s) who get the most correct answers win a prize or are put in a drawing for a
                 prize (such as a bottle of wine.)
             o   Mission reminders/mission moments
             o   Background music (CD player, iPod… live music, and if so what kind?)

   Wrapping Up

        Thank You’s
             o [see sample thank you letter]
             o Send to everyone who attends and/or makes a donation
             o Send a wrap up e-mail/letter highlighting the event to those who didn’t attend or donate
                  yet, ask them to consider a donation now. Keep them engaged!
        Turning in the money in to the USO
         The following supplies may be necessary at an event at which cash and/or checks are expected
         to be collected:

                Donation lockbox
                Adding machine/calculator
                Adding machine tape
                Pens/pencils
                Donation receipts
                USO brochures
                Clipboards
                Rubber bands
                Coin rolls

         Security of Donated Funds

         A safe location (i.e. home, office, bank, or hotel) should be secured for the verification process of
         money received during the event and in order to reduce the risk of misappropriation of funds.

         All checks and cash collected during the event should immediately be placed in a donation
         lockbox. The key to this box should be in the custody of a pre-assigned individual at all times. As
         each donation is received, volunteers should issue a receipt to the donor indicating the amount of
         the donation, the donor name, address, phone number, and any additional pertinent information.
         This information should also be written on a donation log.

         At the conclusion of the event, funds should be verified and documented.

         Cash and checks should be separated. At this point, funds should be counted using the adding
         machine. Totals should be recorded for both checks and for cash on the donation log. Take the
         cash to the bank and have a cashiers check cut to be included with the other checks sent to the
         USO.
Dinner and Dessert
         After you have finalized your accounting, compile all donation forms and checks before sending in
         to the USO.

        Debrief with event committee and volunteers. Discuss what went well, and what could be
         improved upon. Recognize volunteers for their great efforts (maybe give special recognitions/
         thank you gifts to them), and share photos. Most importantly, make sure everyone knows how
         much their hard work is appreciated and that they played a major role in the success of the event.

        Donations should be sent to:

                                                      USO
                                                 Donor Services
                                        2111 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 1200
                                              Arlington, VA 22201

        Start planning your next event in support of the troops and their families!
Dinner and Dessert




           Sponsorship Packet
Dinner and Dessert
                                          Recruiting Sponsors
   Sponsorship is a great way to increase your team’s fundraising dollars!

   Brainstorm all the businesses your team would like to approach to be a sponsor. Think about all the
   establishments where your members shop, dine, frequent etc. and write out a list. Divide the businesses
   you come up with among yourselves. Try to have someone who has ―connections‖ at the business or
   visits the business often present the sponsorship proposal in person. Familiar faces tend to be more
   successful than cold calls.

   The person who submits the sponsorship proposal to the business should also follow up with a phone call
   within a few days.
   Don’t be afraid to ask!
   Ideas for Sponsors:
          Sporting goods store
          Pizza places that deliver to campus
          Salons & spas where chapter members go
          Clothing stores near campus
          The bank your team has its accounts with
          A restaurant or hotel where you have hosted functions
          Local businesses owned or managed by people you know
          Vendors you do business with
          Places where your teammates shop regularly (think of how much you spend on insurance or at
           the drycleaners each year!)

   While it is better to go in person to ask for a sponsorship, if you can’t visit the potential sponsor, then try
   to call them. The last choice is to send out a letter because it is much easier to say no or ignore a letter.
   Included is a sample sponsorship/donation letter in case you need it. Don’t count on letters to make the
   sale. You will need to do follow up calls and meet people in person!
Dinner and Dessert
                                   Sample Sponsorship Letter
   NAME of OWNER/contact you know
   COMPANY
   ADDRESS
   City, State Zip

   Dear NAME:

   On [date], we are hosting a dinner at [location] to support our troops and their families, and we would
   like your support.

   Due to the multiple and extended deployments our troops face, they and their families need our support
   as much now as ever before. Many of our troops have left behind children who have only seen their
   parent in pictures. Others serving in forward operating bases in Afghanistan are looking for a piece of
   home.

   This is why I’ve decided to join the USO in supporting our brave men and women in uniform. But we
   cannot do it alone. If you could donate [specific dollar amount or item] to our event we would greatly
   appreciate it and it would significantly impact the success of the USO Challenge.

   Enclosed is more information about our dinner and the USO. They have been taking care of our troops
   and their families for 70 years, and operates where no other organization can go to ensure that our
   service men and women receive a little bit of home regardless of where they are serving. You can feel
   good that your donation will be well spent. The USO spends nearly 90 percent of its resources on
   programs supporting the troops and their families. So you can rest assured that the money that we
   are raising will be spent wisely and efficiently. To learn more about the USO visit www.uso.org.

   As long as we have troops deployed around the world there will be a need to remind them that they are
   not forgotten. Together we will make sure that our service members are always in our hearts and on our
   minds. For more information, please visit www.teamuso.org/2010/nameofmypage.

   We appreciate your help in this great effort. Thank you for helping to shrink the distance between the
   home front and the front lines!



   Sincerely,

   Name
   Contact info
Dinner and Dessert

                                            Sponsorship Form

   Name                                                         Title

   Company

   Address

   City                                                        State           Zip

   Phone                                               Fax

   Email


   Our company will sponsor the Dinner and Dessert at the following level:


   _____ Event Sponsor                                         $1,000

             Sponsor-provided banner hung at event
             Opportunity for table display at event
             Inclusion in information given to guests announcing your sponsorship
             Corporate recognition in all thank you notes
             Opportunity to donate a give away to guests or donate an item to the Live Auction
             Four tickets to the dinner

   _____ ―Always in Our Hearts‖ Sponsor                        $500

             Inclusion in information given to event participants announcing your sponsorship
             Opportunity to donate a give away to guests or donate an item to the Live Auction
             Two tickets to the dinner


   _____ Supporter of the troops                               $250

             Sponsor name listed in information given to event participants
Dinner and Dessert
                                            Dinner and Dessert


   Date:

   Time:

   Location:




   What is Dinner and Dessert?

   Dinner and Dessert is our way to raise money to support our troops and their families. With the
   extended and multiple deployments, our military families need our support more than ever. Many of our
   service members are leaving behind children who have only seen them in pictures. Others serving in
   forward operating bases in Afghanistan are looking for any bit of normal life or piece of home. We are
   hosting a dinner to support these brave families and to ensure that they will forever be in our hearts.
   There will be dinner, auction, [list the fun stuff here: restaurant/chef/catering/theme/whatever will be
   exciting for someone to know]

   What’s the dress for this event?

   [list the dress code here]

   How can I get involved?

   There are many ways you can get involved. You can:

          Become a sponsor
          Commit to selling eight tickets to fill a table
          Donate a live or silent auction item
          Join our organizing committee
          Volunteer the day of
          Make a donation




                                            For more information contact:
                                                       Name
                                                Contact information
Dinner and Dessert




   Since before the United States entered World War II, the USO (United Service Organizations) has been
   the bridge between the American public and the U.S. military. The USO is a private, nonprofit
   organization that relies on the generosity of individuals and corporations to support its activities. Today,
   the USO delivers its programs and services at more than 160 locations around the world. In recent years,
   the USO opened centers in Kuwait, Qatar, Iraq and Afghanistan to support service members participating
   in Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom.

   Why should I support the USO?

   The USO is able to get programs to those serving at the most forward operating bases in Afghanistan.
   The Troops depend on the USO to deliver millions of services annually. The USO is constantly assessing
   the needs of the troops and their families and always looking for ways to better support our brave service
   members and their families and make your donation more impactful.

   How is the money spent?

   The USO spends nearly 90 percent of its resources on programs supporting the troops and their
   families. You can feel good that the money that the money raised will be spent wisely and efficiently.

   What will my money help do?

   Here are just a few program highlights that your support will help make happen in 2010:

          Getting the USO to those who are deployed in regions where we are not able to have centers is a
           high priority. As of March 31, 2010, we have been able to send out ten USO2Go kits. In addition,
           have delivered four USO in a Box shipments to bases in Afghanistan and Djibouti. USO in a Box
           looks like an expandable trailer that can be trucked or heloed into austere operating environments
           and feature wireless internet access, laptops, flat screen displays, a DVD player and other
           electronic gaming equipment.

          Our United Through Reading Military Program allows a deployed service member to video
           themselves reading a children’s book. This video and the book are then shipped home to their
           child so their child can see, hear and read a story with their deployed parent. We often hear from
           families who tell us that their child watches that video 6-10 times a day for weeks after receiving
           it—it’s their way of keeping connected to their parent serving afar. More than 100,000 children
           will have received recordings from their parent to date.

          Operation USO Care Package distributes care packages to troops deploying overseas and to
           those returning from overseas locations for rest and recuperation. In just the first three months of
           2010, we have shipped over 53,000 care packages.
Dinner and Dessert




             Fundraising Tools
                     Team Captain Name
                       Phone Number
                       Email Address
Dinner and Dessert
                                  Sample Auction Donation Letter


   Date



   Name
   Company
   Address
   City, State Zip

   Dear NAME,

   On [date], we are hosting a dinner at [location] to support our troops and their families and would like
   your support.

   With the extended and multiple deployments, our military families need our support more than ever.
   Many of our service members are leaving behind children who have only seen them in pictures. Others
   serving in forward operating bases in Afghanistan are looking for a piece of home.

   That’s why we’ve decided to join the USO in supporting our brave men in women in uniform. We cannot
   do it alone however, and I’m hoping you will be willing to assist us with our auction by donating [specific
   item or type of item or value—like a $100 restaurant certificate]

   Enclosed is more information about our dinner and the USO. They have been taking care of our troops
   and their families for close to 70 years, and operate where no other organization can go to ensure that
   our service men and women receive a little bit of home regardless of where they are serving. You can feel
   good that your donation will be well spent. The USO spends nearly 90 percent of their resources on
   programs supporting the troops and their families. You can rest assured that the money that we are
   raising will be spent wisely and efficiently.

   As long as we have troops deployed around the world there will be a need to remind them that they are
   not forgotten. Together we will make sure that our troops are always in our hearts and on our minds.

   We appreciate your help in this great effort. Thank you for helping to shrink the distance between the
   home front and the front lines!



   Sincerely,

   Name

   Contact Info
Dinner and Dessert
                             Sample In Kind Donation Letter

       Mr. Potential Donor
       Company
       Address
       City, State Zip

       Dear Mr. Donor,

                On [date], we are holding a Dinner and Dessert dinner to support our troops and their
       families and would like your support.

       With the extended and multiple deployments, our military families need our support more than
       ever. Many of our service members are leaving behind children who have only seen them in
       pictures. Others serving in forward operating bases in Afghanistan are looking for a piece of
       home.

       That’s why I’ve decided to join the USO in supporting our brave men in women in uniform. I
       cannot do it alone. I’m hoping you will be willing to donate to the event with a generous
       contribution of [specific item(s)]

       Enclosed is a description of Dinner and Dessert as well as information about the USO.
       They have been taking care of our troops and their families for close to 70 years, and
       operate where no other organization can to ensure that our service men and women
       receive a little bit of home regardless of where they are serving.

       Thank you very much for your help in this great effort. Together we will make sure that
       our service members are always in our hearts and on our minds.



       Sincerely,

       Name
       Contact info
Dinner and Dessert


                  Sample Thank You Letter to Guests/Sponsors/Donors


   Dear [Name of Donor],



   Thank you so much for [participating/donating-list what was donated] in our Dinner and Dessert on
   [date]. You helped us raise [amount event raised] to support our troops!

   Since World War II, the USO has been the bridge between the American public and the U.S. military. In
   times of peace and war, the USO has consistently delivered its special brand of comfort, morale and
   recreational services to the military. By participating in/donating to the USO Challenge you have
   become a part of this mission. We appreciate your support of our military families.

   Again, we would like to express our sincere thanks. Because of you we can continue our support for
   those men and women who sacrifice daily for our country and we will do so…Until Everyone Comes
   Home.



   Sincerely,

   Name

   Contact info
Dinner and Dessert
   Overcoming Objections
   What to do if they don’t say “Yes” right away…

          The main rule of thumb is to keep the conversation going. Try to figure out why they aren’t
          jumping on the opportunity. Get to know their needs and goals. If your donor doesn’t seem to
          know much about the USO, provide them with more information. Discuss the event you are
          holding and your goals, and match them to the needs and goals of the person or company you
          are addressing. Show them how they will benefit while at the same time supporting the troops
          and their families.

   Common Objections:

          “Money is a little tight right now” – If you are asking for a specific sponsorship level, see if they
          would be more comfortable donating at a lower level. If this doesn’t work, see if they would be
          willing to purchase two tickets to Dinner and Dessert or even donate an in-kind item that would
          help your efforts. Ask if they would recruit three to four more people to donate or purchase tickets
          to Dinner and Dessert.

          “We’ve been participating in a lot of charity events lately” – Explain that you understand all
          of the different events that take place and appreciate what they are doing to support the
          community. Delve into specific USO programs that might spark an emotional connection with
          your potential donor. Children’s programs are often great ways to engage individuals who are on
          the fence. Do your research on the individual you are asking and tailor your request to suit his or
          her needs or issues they care about most.

          “We’re out of town that day” – Although it would be great if they could participate, ask if they’d
          be willing to make a donation anyway or provide an item for the auction. Tell them that you’ll
          gladly display their name or their company’s name during your event as a way of recognizing their
          contribution.
Dinner and Dessert
          Sample Timeline
   5-6 weeks out

         Set fundraising goal
         Develop budget
         Recruit volunteers to help plan event and raise money
         Hold a Kickoff meeting/happy hour for your volunteers
         Have volunteer develop their prospect lists
         Make sure all volunteer helpers have the information and tools they need to be successful. For
          example, those selling sponsorships should have a sponsorship packet, those selling ―tickets‖
          should have information on the event,and logistics volunteers should have a list of items you want
          to get donated, etc.
         Volunteers should begin selling sponsorships, tickets, getting items donated
         Locate and reserve venue if necessary
         Determine food and beverage. Who will cook, will you recruit a caterer, get restaurant to donate,
          etc.?
         Decide on a them if applicable
         Notify your local USO of your event

   3-4 weeks out

         Check in with your volunteers to see how sponsorship and ticket sales are going
         Send out emails to all your volunteers letting them know how things are going and recognize
          those who already have had some success. Update them with any event information that could
          get them more excited (i.e. the chef from a really cool restaurant has agreed to come and cook
          the dinner for us! XYZ beverage company is donating all of the wine! Sally got a trip for two to
          San Diego for the auction!)
         Agree on basic menu
         Necessary supplies/items should be confirmed. If they aren’t you will need to start thinking
          creatively on what you really need and if it is necessary. What price are you going to have to
          pay? You may need to find someone to underwrite the expense so you can still make your
          fundraising goal
         Continue seeking out in-kind donations and sponsorships
         Create a day-of-event checklist and agenda
         Brainstorm potential ways to raise additional money at the event

   2-3 weeks out

         Assess your fundraising. Where do you think it really is? If some volunteers are struggling, you
          may need to pair them with ones that are doing well or ask successful helpers if they can stretch.
          Keep your team up to date on where the income is. Focus on the successes. You don’t want
          anyone to feel bad about their results
         Send out another email to all helpers giving them an update on progress and keeping the
          momentum going. List any areas where you need additional help and ask for the help. Don’t be
          afraid to call individuals to see if they can help in another area if you need it!
         Finalize menu
         Finalize shopping list
         Send out informational emails to confirmed guests/prospects

   1-2 weeks out

         Continue selling tickets. Do an estimate of income and expenses so you have a good idea of
          where the event stands. Let your volunteers know the progress!
         Estimate the number of attendees so the correct amount of food and beverage is ordered
Dinner and Dessert
         Begin packaging of auction items—see ideas under ―Auction‖ earlier in the toolkit
         Look for quick auction donation opportunities—there may be people who are coming to the dinner
          who own a vacation home and would be willing to donate it, or perhaps the owner of a particular
          store would be willing to donate an item or two…
         Send out another round of informational emails to confirmed guests/prospects
         Finalize week of event food/beverage orders/shopping

   2-3 days before event

         Ask helpers to pick up donations of all remaining items
         Send final invitation/event reminders
         Review ―day of‖ agenda with set up volunteers so they know what needs to happen
         Make sure you have helpers for clean up after dinner
         Confirm venue and any rental supplies
         Ask helpers to pick up any rental supplies
         Determine process for accepting donations obtain all necessary supplies (laptop, cash box,
          receipts, pens, pencils, donation forms etc.)
         Make sure you have a final list of attendees and sponsors and confirm with all of your helpers
         Ask helpers to pick up all remaining prizes/auction items etc.

   Post Event

         Send out thank you letters to guests, sponsors, auction donors, anyone who donated
          supplies/food, and volunteers
         Set up time for wrap-up meeting/happy hour/lunch with volunteer helpers
         Submit all checks to USO within two weeks of the event
Dinner and Dessert
                                                         Sample Agenda
   Note: The size of the dinner and the logistics involved determines when you start setting up. These are just some suggestions—
   tailor this to meet your specific event needs

   Noon-4:00:

              Set-up volunteers arrive on site
              Review plans for set up
              Make sure everyone has specific assignment for set up

   Tips:
               - If conducting a silent auction, make sure to give your auction set up team plenty of time so they can make the auction
               items look appealing and attractive!
               - Have snacks available for volunteers—happy set up volunteers are the key!

   4:00 p.m.

              Review all set up
                    - Place settings
                    - Will there be table assignments. How will people know what table to go to?
                    - Are you having drinks and silent auction first—is there enough space for guests to view auction items comfortably?
                    - If it’s cold/rainy—where will people put their coats/umbrellas
                    - Food service, is food in proper proximity to guests (server accessible/buffet accessible?)
                    - Are there pens by all the silent auction sheets?
                    - Do you have enough ice?
                    - Is there anything else about your event that you need to double check?
              Final preparation time before guests arrive

   6:00 p.m.

              Post greeters for any early guests
              Beverages set out
              Background music ready/playing

   6:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m.

              Cocktail hour and Silent Auction officially begin
              Listed time for event to begin
              Welcome guests, take coats, point them to the activities
               - Have silent auction/games/activities ready for guests as they arrive
              Serve appetizers
              Encourage bidding on silent auction items
               - As you approach the end of the silent auction let everyone know when there is 15 minutes left to the silent auction; 5
               minutes left; 1 minute left. As the auction closes, make sure that helpers circle the top bidder and pick up each sheet.
              Auction volunteers prepare for auction check out
              Move guests to the area where dinner will take place

   7:30 p.m. (after guests are seated)

              Thank guests for coming
              Brief mission moment—remind them what the evening is about
               - “Great to have all these friends here supporting our troops and their families…” Consider a toat, moment of silence etc.
              Begin dinner
              Hold raffle drawings during dinner

   9:00-10pm:

              Hold live auction
Dinner and Dessert
        Announce fundraising results and celebrate
        Thank guests and invite them for a final cordial or coffee
        Guests depart. Ensure that all have a safe ride home. Provide taxis/rides if necessary
        Begin clean up/take down of venue

				
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