Fundraising > Food & Beverages

Cocktail Night

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Why not put a bit of zing in your club’s social calendar with a ritzy Cocktail Night. Lads and ladies dressed to the 9’s enjoying a fancy drink, some refined finger food and maybe a boogie or two.

The emphasis is on ‘formal’ so make the night a ‘Black Tie’ or ‘Lounge Suit’ for the gents and evening dresses for the ladies. Or have a theme, maybe an era like the roaring twenties, or the Hollywood forties. The key is to make sure the cocktails are not the attraction, it is the atmosphere and the opportunity to glam up. Create the feel that this is a special event, keep it classy, and folks will be happy to pay to attend.Cocktail Night

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Financial Considerations

This event can expect to raise between $1000-$5000 depending on the size of your market and how you manage cost.

Clubs could fully outsource this event by using a non-club venue and contracting suppliers to cater and staff the cocktail night, and still make a nice amount of coin. Even if your club only charges a $10 premium on the cost base, you could make $1000 for the club if you sold 100 tickets. No cleanup, no setup, no need to beg and borrow for volunteer time.

However, the more costs that your club can cover the greater the profit to the club. If you cannot hold the function at your club then seek a community or school hall, get volunteers to decorate it and hire some tables and chairs (Cocktail Nights are not typically sit down affairs). Organise for volunteers to set up, serve and clean up. You'll most likely need to hire a catering company, DJ or band and pay for basic cutlery, cocktails and mixers, but doing it this way will significantly reduce your cost base and increase your profit.

Whatever method is used, clubs should seek to pre-sell tickets and discourage door sales. Pre-selling tickets gets money in the kitty to cover costs and ensures catering is accurate.

Bottom line: The more your club can get from its volunteers and sponsors when organising an event the greater the return but quality cannot be compromised otherwise no one will pay money to attend in following years.

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Everybody loves to get frocked up and go to classy event every once in a while A cocktail night is a chance to see everyone out of their tracksuits and tees and into suits. Promote the event as a classy evening, consider a red-carpet entrance.

An evening of this sort has a wide-appeal so promote community wide and not just club wide. Enlist the help of your local radio and newspaper to provide a community announcement promoting your glamorous affair.

Get someone at your club to produce a flyer that can be printed and copies left in community centres like shops and schools. And don't forget your to promote within the club through the club website and newsletter notices as well as promotion on club social media pages.

Revenue Opportunities

The Cocktail Night provides an opportunity to run a raffle or maybe a silent auction to top up the returns for the night. Clubs may consider an entry-fee participation mini-fashion parade or a best-dressed comp if the night is themed. However, don't take away from the night by overdoing it on the extra fundraising activities.

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Licenses and Permits

Food handling and service laws need to be considered. Liquor licencing and RSA requirements for serving the cocktails and drinks need to be adhered to. If in doubt, check with the liquor licensing and food safety authority in your state or territory. Your club should also consider security to promote legal and responsible drinking.

Event Format

It's the little quirks and perks that will set your club's cocktail night apart and stamp it as a must-attend event on the social calendar. Consider a red-carpet entry with mock paparazzi snapping photos as each couple arrives. Maybe an announcer to announce the arrival of each guest. Have an ingredient list for each of the cocktails served and bar staff who know how to mix them. Select and design the finger-food menu to complement the night, pies and sausage rolls won't cut it, and if a DJ has been hired, give clear instructions on what type of music you would like played.



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.