This is a quirky and engaging fundraiser that captures the imagination and interest of the local community. Members of the community are encouraged to buy a rubber duck (yes the kind children play with in the bath!), to be tipped into the local river on race day to see who’s duck is the first across the finish line. There are numerous opportunities for revenue including the selling of the ducks and other additions to event day such as raffles or selling food and drink. It is a great fundraiser as not only is it engaging but is also able to reach supporters who are no longer living locally and may wish to purchase their duck online.
When considering this event, we would encourage clubs to consider how it may also help you to achieve a number of other club goals. For example your club could sign up more members, increase Facebook followers, increase newsletter subscriptions, raise awareness, and forge relationships with the media and local council. You may even have your local mayor pull trigger to start the race!
This fundraising idea was inspired by a charity group in Frankston Victoria who sold around 1000 ducks for $10 as well as ran a successful ‘race day’ event. As you can see, this fundraiser can create significant revenue for your club.
‘Rubber Duck Racing’ can be a very low cost fundraiser for your club. Prizes can be donated by sponsors and the purchase of the ducks is relatively inexpensive. Sourcing great prizes will increase the interest in your fundraiser and encourage more people to buy more ducks. If you have trouble sourcing rubber ducks other similar toys could be used, for example rubber turtles, crocodile’s or other bath toy animals.
This kind of event can attract media attention as it’s ‘quirky and cool’. Always be on the lookout for personal interest stories within your club and fundraising events that may interest the local media. If you can notify the local media in advance, they may even report on your club’s event more than once in the lead up. For example, Support your club by buying your duck and come down on race day to have the chance to win the major prize.
This kind of event can also start out quite small but through the power of social media expand quickly. Use pictures on your advertising and social media that can be shared and build excitement. Your club may also consider radio, YouTube and television opportunities.
This fundraiser is financially beneficial if your club can sell the rubber ducks. With the quirky nature of the event, teamed with juniors asking adults to buy a rubber duck it is highly likely that community will jump on board. As there is not a large financial outlay, selling rubber ducks can result in easy revenue. The charity group in Frankston sold 1000 ducks at $10 each, this is great revenue! An additional benefit is that your club can keep all of the ducks until ‘race day’ and as there is no physical transfer of ducks they can then also be bought online. This approach minimizes the leg work for your volunteers and allows people from outside your community to also get involved and buy a duck.
This kind of fundraiser captures imagination and interest and can also attract sponsors and media attention. When there is media attention sponsors are always keen to be a part of the event. You may be able to name the event after a sponsor, for example The ‘company name’s’ duck race.
Drawing a crowd also creates other revenue opportunity for clubs. These could include raffles, hot dogs, fairy floss, jumping castles and bookies (this depends on your club’s state government and council laws). Your club may also like to consider looking to grow engagement with your club through club memberships and merchandise, signing up to your club newsletter and liking your club’s social media accounts.
Licenses & Permits
Licenses and permits are certainly a consideration but will usually only require two very simple phone calls to two people who will generally be very keen for your club to move forward. Their experience in fundraising may actually be a benefit to your organizing committee and a great support to your club. These people are your local Council and the Government body that oversees gambling in your State or Territory.
To ensure you maintain strong relationships with your council it is important to be open and honest about what you are trying to do. Promoting your club promotes health in the community so councils are usually eager to help where they can. Speaking to the Sport and Recreation Liaison is usually a great place to start. Get them on board and then approach the Government body that oversees gambling (this is the same body you would contact if you were to run a raffle). Different licenses may be required due to your club’s ‘Rubber duck race’ being a game of chance and the amount of revenue being raised.
Although licensing can sometimes seem daunting try to embrace it as it is generally two simple phone calls to people who want to support you.
On ‘race day’ there will be a number of staff required to ensure crowd safety as well make the most of the opportunities for your club. You will require staff to volunteer at membership tables, any food or drink stalls and of course to run the race and keep the course safe.
There will also need to be time put into planning the day and the promoting and selling of the ducks in the lead up. Another important consideration is staffing the pack up and clean-up of the event. This is important as it ensures your club takes care of the local area and keeps the community supportive of your club.
A great idea is to break down the components of the tasks that need to be completed and the skills needed. This then allows your club to recruit accordingly. Having the right amount of people to deliver your club’s event well helps to ensure that people attending have a great time.
This kind of event needs to be resourced properly and each stage needs to be planned. It is important to ensure you have enough people to successfully deliver the event.
You will need to collate a site map and consider amenities for the crowd, as well as the availability of parking. It is necessary to organize the logistics of getting the crowd in and out during the very busy time surrounding the race.
There are also added risks when there are any activities in or around water. Your club will need to ensure that the crowd is kept separate from the water. One way to do this may be to have club volunteers and officials lining the course to ensure the crowd’s safety or you may consider putting up temporary barriers. Electricity is another risk to consider whenever dealing with water activities and will need to be planned to ensure safety.
Factors to Consider
The audience for this fundraiser while it includes your members and local community, through the power of social media and word of mouth it can also include people connected to your members who may not live in your community. These people can purchase their ducks online and perhaps tune in to hear the live call of the race that may be broadcast on social media (For example Twitter).
Volunteers & Staffing Requirements
In terms of Volunteer requirements, time and effort is relatively low. The rubber ducks themselves can be kept at the club ready for ‘race day’ and payments can be made online or in person. Other than collecting payments and promoting the fundraiser the only other consideration is how big you would like your ‘race day’ to be. If you have the resources this could be a big day for your club including membership sign up opportunities, food and drinks, raffles and entertainment.
If choosing to sell or serve food, it is important to ensure you work with your local council to ensure you hold all necessary licenses to serve food.
This is a consideration your club will need to make a clear decision on. If your club decides they would like to serve alcohol, your club will need to work with your council to ensure you have the correct liquor licensing arrangements.
Serving non-alcoholic drinks can be a little easier to manage but still require your club to work with your council to ensure you have the have appropriate license. For example, Food handling licenses.
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, licenses, permits, spectator and participant safety.