In New York, we've done much better with a raffle than we did with 10% of food and drinks. Here's the idea: Craft beer is big now, and craft beer businesses are eager to promote themselves. Find a bar that stocks many craft beers on tap and in bottles. Request any Friday evening non-exclusively -- RtR guests will just mix in with regulars. Request from the bar a gift certificate ($10, $50, $100, whatever) donated to the raffle prize. Then, get a nearby microbrewery to donate to the raffle prize; often, they will donate a growler and free fill. Then, get a nearby craft beer store to donate a 4-pack of select craft beers. On the event night, put the raffle prize items on a central table, so everybody can see them. Circulate a list of prize items (like the attached), and a RtR brochure to everyone in the bar (not just RtR guests). Go around constantly for about two hours, selling as many $5 raffle tickets as you can. Some people will buy numerous tickets. Announce the winner after two hours. 100% of the ticket sales go to RtR, plus dozens of bar regulars get to learn about RtR.
Thanks for the super ideas! Yes, here in Tokyo we sell raffle tickets for donated prizes at 90% of our events and it is an easy way to give attendees a chance to give more than just buying food/drink from the bar. At the last B4B here we did both a raffle and a darts contest where people paid $1 to throw 3 darts and the highest score on the night won a bottle of Jameson. Some things we've found over the years are a) We try not to have too many prizes--I prefer 5 maximum. 2) Nice to have one of John's books as the "Grand Prize" at the end (I buy them out-of-pocket) and we call the value "Priceless". 3) Depending on the audience we sell tickets 1 for $5/3 for $10 to encourage people to donate $10 or more. 4) We always have the bar events open bar and everyone is welcome to join in. 5) We always have a few sample Room to Read Book Publishing books on hand so that people can see what they are drinking for. It makes it very tangible for them and they "get it" that the drink they have in one hand just funded the book they have in the other. Not sure if you can get access to sample books from the NYC Chapter leaders, but really nice to have them on hand in addition to the brochures. B4B was designed to make it fun and easy to raise a bit of money for the cause while exposing the widest possible audience to the amazing work of Room to Read. Would love to join you for an event in NY sometime! Cheers, Gary P.S. If you haven't already, have a look in the Tools section of this site for the Organizers' Manual. On page 6 there are some more ideas for additional sources of revenue for RtR at B4B events.