How to Host A Long Lunch Fundraising Event

07 May 2019

Are you a social butterfly and love to host a party?  Use your social and organisational skills and host a Long Lunch in aid of Can Too.  Hawke's Bay Marathoner, Nichola Byrne used her flair and expertise in Events Management, read her tips:

Long Lunch

I hosted a long lunch for 115 people with delicious canapés, French Champagne and entertainment at a beautiful harbour front location in Point Piper, Sydney.

The catering was supplied by Laissez Faire Catering, who provided the food at cost and threw in the chef and wait staff (labour) for free bringing the price per head down to a very reasonable amount. I just asked them if they could give their best possible price as it was for Charity.

How much should I charge for the event?

Consider the costs involved and work on a margin that is going to provide sufficient fundraising for the effort involved in putting on the event.  Nichola recommended $100 per person for her Long Lunch.  What would you pay to attend a beautiful afternoon with food, drink, entertainment in a stunning setting?  Remember people are willing to pay more when they receive a lunch with alcohol and knowing that money is going to cancer research.  Note: they will not receive a tax deductible receipt because they are receiving a product/service for their money.  

For a catered event, you will need to have accurate numbers, therefore request people pre-purchase tickets.  You can use a ticketing website such as Humanitix, this enables you to collect money and also take out costs.

Nichola raised $5,000 after costs were taken out.

By having a raffle or auction on the day, you can maximise your fundraising efforts:

  • I held a raffle selling tickets at 1 for $20 and 3 for $50. After a couple glasses of the French people were very generous. For the prizes I approached local beauty salons, restaurants, purchased a nice bottle of Champagne, Gold class movie passes etc.


Four months prior:

  • Start to plan: venue, theme, catering and prizes.  
  • You'll need help and support - you can't do it all by yourself!  Enlist the help of fellow Can Tooers if you are wanting to share the proceeds or ask for help from friends and family.
  • Start emailing friends and family to save the date
  • Make an event on facebook to invite all your friends
  • Make an event on your pod's Can Too Facebook page inviting everyone
  • Post on Instagram

4 weeks before:

  • Re-email friends and family asking them to purchase tickets
  • Ask a couple of friends or local businesses to donate prizes for your raffle

2 weeks before:

  • Email or FB again, saying “Hurry only a few seats left” giving it some urgency to encourage people to sign up

Ask a couple of friends to help you on the day:

  • You will need help at the door welcoming the guests
  • Another friend can also mingle and sell raffle tickets
  • Make sure you document the event by taking photos or why not make up a fun photo booth!
  • Arrange collection of brochures/banner/posters from Can Too

1 week before:

  •  Email/FB with “Last chance to pre-pay” with a cut-off date, dependent on catering deadlines this may need to be earlier


  • Raffle prizes & ticket books
  • Money float! Have enough change for people paying on the evening and change for raffle tickets


  • Invite everyone!  There were groups of people I first questioned if they’d be interested in attending, and they ended up being some of the biggest groups to buy tickets! You never know who has been affected by cancer and I was truly blown away by the generosity or strangers I’d not meet before who were more than happy to purchase tickets or donate if they couldn’t attend. So essentially, invite everyone!
  • A raffle always adds to the fundraising
  • Ask your friends to bring their friends to add to your numbers. 
  • Remember to thank everyone for coming to the event, letting them know how much money you raised!
  • Watch the video of the event

"A long lunch was such a wonderful idea for fundraising. People love to get something for their money, and a lunch with alcohol included makes them feel like they are getting great value for money while also giving to a great cause.  The mood of everyone there was truly electric and infectious. The spirit of giving was incredible and the dancing – some of the best I’ve seen. It also raised enough money to cover my next three programs!"

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