Written by African Impact volunteer Tim Ledge
G’DAY! Tim from Australia here. By the end of this blog you will not only know how to hold one top notch fundraiser with guaranteed success, you’ll also know the essentials about hosting an African themed night. Upon receiving The Happy Africa Foundations wish-list outlining information about much needed resources the projects require, I realised that by having fully funded my trip I wasn’t in the best position to purchase these items, let alone donate money.
After making contact with my sister Monique, who has previously volunteered and worked with African Impact, I discussed my options with her and expressed my desire to source donations and money to assist the projects I will be involved in. Having my ear full of ideas I decided to take bits and pieces from each idea I was given to create one unique, tasty, colourful and informative fundraiser- hosting an African-themed night.
- Typically 21st century fundraising includes the use of social media to create an event, spend too much time on the summary and shortlisting all your philanthropic friends that will donate.
- Food is important. Making African food is pretty exciting with Google being your best friend in this situation. If you can find a South African butcher that would be ideal, as they have all the tasty meats you’ll require. Cater for all, but keep it genuine and exotic. Below outlines the dishes I chose.
- Entrée – South African nibbles including Simba chips and Nik Naks. Throw some biltong in there to keep the meat eaters satisfied
- Main – Boerewors, Chakalaka & pap, Bobotie and Sosaties
- Desert – Classic Australian Vanilla Slice
- Beverages- Savannah Ciders, Castle Beers and a bottle or two of South African Pinotage
- Decorating your venue with colourful African drawings on paper plates and hanging from the roof. More stripes the better. Throw a few blow -up animals in there and you’ll be well on your way to keeping everyone entertained. More decorations the better i.e. colourful serviettes which turned out to be a hit.
- If you’re skilled enough, make a few daisy chains with colourful patterns and African inspired colours. Luckily, my very talented sister Monique made a bunch of chains whilst I was away with ‘work’. Still claim I could make one! Idea behind these little home made products is that it encourages further donations and they can already receive the benefit of their donation before I have even gone on my trip. I sold 15 at $5, adding $75 to my donation kitty.
- Pricing on the night; work out your food costs and divide it by the amount of expected guests. Depending on the food and numbers you could sell the dinner for $20-$40 per head. Keeping in mind, a break-even situation still reflects your love for trying cooking other country’s dishes for fun.
- Make it informative; steal pictures from your project’s Facebook or website and make a rolling slideshow to put on throughout the night so people can see what you’ll be involved in. This will trigger the generosity and compassion in people. Gain understanding of your project, the organisation, what you’ll be doing. Outline the impact your work will have on people in the communities you work in. Give a short presentation that’s informative, appealing and challenging towards the audience. Don’t forget to thank your guests and encourage them to look into it themselves.
In summary the night was a great success! With all the support of my friends and family, I managed to raise $600 for the Educational Support Program, after paying for all event expenses. This was an unreal outcome given I planned this event over about two weeks and spent six hours in the kitchen trying to decipher recipes off the internet. I encourage and challenge any fellow volunteers to host an African themed night; I have proven it’s not only possible but successful regardless of time spent in the kitchen!
In hindsight, having raised money and been on project, you can see firsthand what and where resources are required and this was the best idea. The impact you make is now in your hands.