Guide to Planning a Corporate Fundraiser on Long Island

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Corporate fundraisers are a great way to solicit extra funding for special work projects, or even for corporate sponsored humanitarian causes. They can be black tie formal, or down to earth informal. Long Island hosts a variety of great locations that are perfect for your next fundraiser. To find out which one best suits your needs, follow the guide below:

  • Is there a specific geographic area you would like to restrict your search to?
  • Knowing what region you do or don't want your fundraiser to be located in can easily help rule out several hundred catering halls. Of course the more specific your desired geographic area, the fewer options you have to work with. This fact may be very welcome to some overwhelmed party planners, but may seem frustrating to others who look forward to being given a variety of catering hall options. A good compromise is to first limit your geographic area to a very specific area. If you are not pleased with the choices of catering halls in that region, then slowly expand your search to the surrounding areas until you are happy with the number of choices being offered, as well as with the distance. Perhaps your decision has already been made for you if you would like to keep the corporate fundraiser in the same neighborhood as your company's headquarters. Another good idea is to host your fundraiser at or near the cause for which you are fundraising for. For example, if your fundraiser is ocean related, it might be a heartwarming idea to host your event at an oceanfront location.

  • Is there a specific type of catering hall (i.e. hotel, vineyard, restaurant, etc.) you would like to restrict your search to?
  • Limiting your catering hall search to the type of catering hall is another way to quickly narrow down your top choices. Knowing exactly the type of catering hall you would like to use can help organize your event quickly and efficiently. However, being flexible with the type of catering hall you choose can often result in a unique event that impresses all of your guests, including yourself! Of course the type of hall you end up choosing will rely largely in part to how formal or informal you would like your event to be and the overall corporate climate of your workplace. It will also depend on how large your guest list will be. Black tie formal fundraisers would do well in hotel ballrooms or mansions. Informal fundraisers could work very well in outdoor locations (depending on the weather), restaurants or lounges.

  • What is the date of your corporate fundraiser?
  • This may be an obvious "to do", but it is nevertheless an important factor in selecting the perfect catering hall for your fundraiser. Just like selecting airline tickets, the more flexible you are the more likely it is to get better rates, options and availability. Your job as the planner is to ensure that the maximum number - if not all - of potential donors are able to attend the fundraiser. Planning well in advance in order to set your fundraiser date in stone is of utmost importance. It might also be a good idea to plan your fundraiser at a time when most people seem to be more generous with their money (i.e. perhaps during the gift-giving seasons, and away from tax season!).

  • How formal an affair do you want your fundraiser function to be?
  • As mentioned before, the level of formality of your fundraiser can help you to select an appropriate type of hall if given the choice. It doesn't necessarily equate to the level of pricing of the catering hall. If you were hoping for a more laid back affair, then perhaps a formal hotel ballroom isn't the perfect catering hall for you, despite the large number of people it can hold. An outdoor location may be ideal for your fundraiser function, depending on the weather.

  • Is there a specific theme you would like to portray?
  • Selecting a theme for your fundraiser function could really enhance the overall experience for the potential donors - which could result in increased fundraising! For example, perhaps you are arranging a fundraiser for needy children. It might be a sweet idea to host the fundraiser at a museum that features the works of art by children.

  • How many people will you be hosting at the fundraiser?
  • The number of anticipated guests will undoubtedly help limit your catering hall choices, especially if it's a large number. This is true in terms amount of space and the pricing per plate of food. Depending on your budget, this could be the determining factor of where your event should be located at.

  • Will you be requiring onsite food catering?
  • Most of the catering halls we showcase on our website include food catering. However, some do not and will require additional cost and planning in order to provide quality food for your guests. Additionally, if the catering hall of your wishes allows onsite food catering, but not the type of food that you wish to feature, then you may be able to work out a deal with the catering hall's management in order to bring in the type of food you would like to feature.

  • How much do you expect to spend per plate?
  • As mentioned earlier, where your fundraiser is located will largely - if not completely - depend upon how much you are able and/or willing to spend per plate. If you are especially interested in a specific catering hall, but the cost per plate is higher than you were expecting, you may need to rethink that catering hall, especially since your goal is to solicit funding. The worst thing that could happen is to offer expensive meals for a limited number of potential donors, and end up with a deficit rather than a surplus of funding. Another cost effective option may be to simply offer drinks and appetizers rather than a sit down meal.

  • Will you be requiring a Kosher, Vegetarian or Vegan menus?
  • Many catering halls do offer Kosher, Vegetarian or Vegan menus. If this is a requirement for your event, make sure your catering hall choice has this option.

  • Will you be requiring a full service bar or food stations/carving stations for a cocktail hour?
  • Most catering halls (especially hotels and large halls) will offer this service in a customized party package. If the catering hall of your choice does not offer this service in a package be sure to inquire about the additional costs and how it may or may not affect the overall scheduling of your event. It may be more cost effective to simply offer beer and wine service, or offer no alcoholic beverages at all - depending on the nature of your fundraiser.

  • Would you prefer a location with attached or nearby accommodations for out of town guests?
  • If your answer to this question is yes, then you should highly consider hotels as your choice of catering hall. However, pay special attention to non hotel catering halls that are in close proximity to other hotel accommodations. Most halls should have this information ready at hand.

  • Will you be requiring a party planner?
  • If you book your organizational/association fundraiser at a catering hall, chances are you will be provided with an in-house party planner that can help ensure that your event goes smoothly. If you are not provided with one, but you are still interested in having a party planner, keep in mind that Long Island party planners have a wide range of rates, involvement and expertise. The catering hall of your choice could also assist you in finding a party planner who has been involved with past events at that location.

  • Would simultaneous events at your location be acceptable?
  • This is an important, yet often overlooked, factor to keep in mind when booking your corporate fundraiser. This holds especially true for fundraisers that are held on weekend evenings. Neighboring events could distract from a calm and civil fundraiser or could compete with a high energy one. On the other hand, catering halls that offer simultaneous events could help keep your costs low. In any case, as the party planner, you should be aware as to what types of events may be going on simultaneously to ensure that your fundraiser guests are comfortable.0

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