How to Plan a Community Spaghetti Dinner Event

by Susanne Koenig

Nothing could be easier than cooking spaghetti. It's the logical choice for a hot-plate fundraiser, as it's low cost, popular with kids and makes for easy preparation and clean up. Spaghetti can be handled by the youngest of volunteers and is a guaranteed hit with whoever is taking it home for dinner. Pricing spaghetti is easy as it doesn't have to be measured to achieve a certain profit due to its low overhead. Plan properly and you can't help but make money from organizing a spaghetti fundraiser in your community.

Check local school calendars and with high profile charities such as the Kiwanis and Rotary clubs in your area to see what their calendars look like. Especially look out for other spaghetti fundraisers in the area. Choose a date when no other groups have major fundraisers. Select a Friday night for best results, as most parents will be more willing to buy a meal at the end of a tiring week.

Estimate the amount of food that you need. Follow the general rule that 1 lb. pasta will feed to four to six people and 1 qt. sauce will cover three plates of pasta. Alternately, use an on-line calculator like the one at Cook Eat Share to estimate how much you will need for your event.

Seek donations for the meal. This may include meatballs from the local grocery store, spaghetti from the local bakery outlet and bread from a supermarket deli. You'll be surprised how many of these low-cost items are available for free when you ask. Salads are especially easy to come by if you ask a produce manager to set aside anything they think is suitable for your fund-raiser or ask to purchase all of his clearance items on the day of the event. Also seek materials such as tablecloths, napkins and dining ware.

Choose a location for the event and build your timeline around your anticipated headcount. Your local school may allow you to use its facilities or you may need to rent facilities, such as at the local YWCA. Include as many tables as possible to accommodate families that would like to stay and eat instead of take food out.

Set a price for the event. Use donations or a set amount. Charge more if you offer meatballs, salad and bread sticks. Include pricing for those who want to buy a pan of spaghetti to take home to a large family.

Use the event to conduct more than one fundraiser at a time. For example, a bake sale or an exciting cake auction pairs nicely and will raise additional funds. Or, host a silent auction of items donated by local businesses.

Advertise your fundraiser about three weeks in advance. Also email everyone who may be interested. Organize pre-orders for those who want large take-out orders.

Photo Credits