Pie night

Events, functions and fundraising activities

Pie night/Food-themed nights

Food-themed nights such as Pie or Pizza nights are a famous Aussie sports club tradition. Pie nights have been around for years and with good reason, they are a proven way to raise funds as well as a great way to bring club members together and to have fun.

These days there are many variations on the Pie night (Pizza, Taco, Pasta, Sushi), to cater for all tastes and the more health conscious club environment but the underlying principle remains the same. This is that members gather together to enjoy food and the club reaps the benefits via bar sales, raffles, eating contests and maybe a modest entry fee.

Why a Food Themed Night?
A Pie or Food Themed night is a very easy event to run and could be held multiple times during the year. It is also a great opportunity to build your club’s culture and allow members to socialise. It is low cost to run and there is very little risk in terms of losing money for your club.
It is important to be aware that this fundraiser does call on your club community to donate and doesn’t give an opportunity for fundraising dollars to be made from external sources. You may like to invite friends and family to the event depending on the format and goals of the night.

When should I hold this fundraiser?
A Pie or Food Themed night can be held at anytime during the year and could be written in the calendar as a regular social night. It is a great idea to make it after a training night or game day to help encourage attendance.

Key Activities
These are the tasks you will need to consider assign to volunteers at our club:

Before the Day

  • Decide a date for the pie or food themed night.
  • Promote the fundraiser.
  • Take bookings/order forms and money for the food (if your club is charging for food).
  • Order the food
  • Organise the venue, tables and chairs.
  • Organise volunteers to help on the night.
  • Organise any other food and beverages that will be for sale.
  • Organise any raffles, activities, competitions or auctions that might run at the same time.

On the Day

  • Ensure the room, tables and chairs are set up and ready to go.
  • Ensure food and beverages are ready to sell or serve on time.
  • Run any additional raffles, activities, competitions or auctions that you have planned.
  • Brief Volunteers of their roles.
  • Enjoy the night!
  • Monitor the event.
  • Take lots of photos.

After the day

  • Publicly thank everyone involved
  • Announce the amount of money raised in club newsletters, on social media, website and around the club.

Who can help?
It is important to engage your members to help in the running of your fundraiser.
For a pie or food themed night you could approach them to help:

  • Promote the event
  • Collect order forms and money (if charging for the food)
  • Help source prizes for any additional activities you may be running like a raffle or auction
  • Help logistically on the day – Club volunteers will need to be on hand to help prepare/order food as well as run the raffles and games.

You could also approach current club Sponsors for any prizes you plan to use.

Recruiting your people
It is important to create a culture of volunteering at your club to help not only with fundraising but also across the day to day running of your club. For more on how to create this at your club, click here.

Using technology to making it easier

You may like to consider using technology to reduce the workload on your volunteers and increase your fundraising dollars. For an event like this, you may like to sell tickets using a platform like TryBooking.

TryBooking lets you sell tickets, take payments and donations for events online.

This takes care of a great deal of the work that is usually left to volunteers and automates the ticket selling process.

You can set up and customise your own event page and a unique URL in minutes. This lets you easily share the event online and engage members and supporters. Your club may also like to use social media, email newsletters and your club website to promote the event.

Financial Considerations
This is very low risk event with very little outlay as most clubs will run this event on a training night and make attendance compulsory, which alleviates any risks.
Revenue opportunities from this type of fundraising event can centre around the raffles, competitions and entry fee (if charged). Clubs should not seek to make a premium on the food offered as a $10 pie takes away motivation to attend. With this type of fundraiser, clubs can expect to raise anywhere from $200-$2000.

Food will be the main upfront cost. You will need to budget for these costs and figure out how much you will charge for entry to cover your orders. If you plan not to have an entry free you will need to ensure you have other ways to make significant fundraising dollars to cover the cost of the food.

Although most clubs will hold this event at their club rooms, costs may also include the hire of a suitable venue if your club venue is not big enough. Tables and chairs may need to be hired as well as some minor decorations to brighten the venue.

Prizes for any raffles as well as auction items need to be considered. It is a great idea to try to source these from sponsors and ask members to help source the from businesses in the community. These donations are often in exchange for signage and promotion on the night. The key is not to leave this to the last minute and try to organise prizes early to avoid added pressure.

Promotion is important to ensure great attendance numbers. Utilise existing club resources and social media to promote your club’s food themed night. Club resources can include; newsletters, the club website, social media and noticeboards. The more members that are attracted to the event and participate, the better the atmosphere and financial return to the club.
Depending on your club’s plan for the night you may like to encourage your club community to bring their friends for a fun night! The more people that attend the greater the opportunity to raise even more fundraising dollars for your club.

Communication considerations
As a food themed night may also double as a social event at your club, you can use social media to build excitement. You can use social media to sell tickets and countdown to the day. You can also live stream parts of the event on the day so that those in your community that can’t attend can still be part of the event.

Social, Moral and Ethical Considerations
Supply of Alcohol
As this event may include alcohol it is important to consider whether there will be limits or restrictions set in advance. Clubs need to consider how they will manage the risks of binge drinking as well as the Responsible Service of Alcohol.

What can go wrong? (Risk Management)
Low attendance numbers
To ensure high attendance numbers your club might like to make attendance to the night compulsory after training or a game day. Also choosing a food that the majority of your club will enjoy is a good idea.
Financial Risks
There are obvious financial risks if enough tickets aren’t sold or fundraising dollars made to cover the cost of the food and the setup of the night.
Participant Safety
The health and wellbeing of those who attend your event should be a focus at all times. It is important that your club takes time to consider all possible risks and how to minimise these.
When catering food ensure you cater for those with allergies and these are clearly labeled. You will need to ask those attending if they have any allergies that need to be taken into consideration. Allergies can be life threatening and need to be considered seriously.

Licenses and Permits
If alcohol is to be served then a liquor license will be required. Depending on the formats of the raffles and games, you may require a gambling license. Check with your state regulatory body.
In Australia, the food law places many responsibilities on the proprietor of a food business.
If you are the organiser of an event or an official of a charity or community organisation that is selling food, you need to be aware of these responsibilities. See our Food Safety for Clubs page for further information
It is also important to contact your insurance company to ensure your public liability insurance policies cover the event.

Additional Factors to consider
Food choices
It may be a good idea for your club to consider different options including vegetarian, vegan, gluten free or dairy free depending on those who are attending your night.
Motivational talkers or keynote speakers that can engage your audience can be a valuable addition to this type of evening.

Additional Revenue Opportunities
Revenue can be made from not only ticket sales but also activities held on the night such as auctions and raffles, as well as merchandise sales. Clubs with bar facilities can also look to make significant revenue from sales.

This links to other pages that have fundraising ideas that can run simultaneously, should the club like to.

Any specific suppliers or links for this particular fundraiser. Could be used for 3rd party advertising in the future.

This procedure should be treated as a guide only. Your club should seek advice specific to the needs of your club and event. Seek further details from authorities and service providers; especially in regards to insurance, licences, permits, spectator and participant safety.