A shrimp boil fundraiser is a creative way to raise needed money for your group. If you're looking for an original way to raise funds, consider breaking away from selling candy and magazine subscriptions and presenting a special event that is truly unique and worthwhile.
What Is a Shrimp Boil Fundraiser?
Shrimp boil fundraisers have Southern roots, due to the region's warm climate and ready availability of fresh seafood. Shrimp boils are usually held during the summer months, so the food can be cooked and eaten outdoors. The main items needed for this type of event are a large pot, shrimp, kielbasa or smoked sausage, potatoes, and corn on the cob. You can also add in other items that taste great with boiled shrimp (such as crawfish or mushroom caps) if you wish to deviate from a basic traditional Southern menu. To raise money for your group or a charitable cause, you'll need to sell tickets to the shrimp boil.
How to Organize a Shrimp Boil
The first step to take when organizing a fundraiser is to have a collaborative meeting with your group. Divide the volunteers into teams, such as publicity, ticket sales, supplies, set-up, cooking/serving, and clean-up. Everyone should have a specific job to do so the event is well organized and everyone knows what is expected of them. It's important for all committee members to feel like they positively contributed to the event's success. After jobs are delegated, each team should brainstorm for specific ideas and develop concrete plans.
You'll only make money from your shrimp boil if people attend and purchase plates. They'll only do that if they know about the event far enough in advance to make plans to attend. That's why publicity is the key to any successful fundraiser! Recruit a committee to promote the event. The publicity team can raise awareness and generate interest by sending out press releases, talking up the event on local radio or TV shows, posting on social media, displaying posters around town, and otherwise spreading the word about the shrimp boil and the cause that will benefit from the proceeds.
Ticket Sales Team
It's important to have a good idea of the number of people to expect before the event, so you know how many people you'll need to be prepared to serve. Otherwise, you may prepare too much or too little food. In both scenarios, this will limit your ability to raise money for your organization or cause. That's why it's important to sell tickets ahead of time. If you have a team of volunteers responsible for selling tickets and you require attendees to buy tickets in advance, you'll know exactly how much food to buy. Additionally, rather than having to use the group's operating funds or borrow money from volunteers to purchase the food, you'll be able to use money from ticket sales to do so.
Make a supplies list of everything that you'll need for the shrimp boil. Keep things simple so you can serve a large group of people without having to spend a lot of money, so as much money as possible can be donated. Keep things casual and frugal, while also creating an event that people will enjoy. Ask for donations for some ingredients and make arrangements to borrow the equipment you need, then shop around for the best deals on what you have to buy. Ingredients required for a traditional Southern shrimp boil include:
- Liquid shrimp/crab boil
- Kielbasa sausage
- Corn on the cob
- Dessert (such as peach slices paired with ice cream or fresh fruit pie)
- Boiling pot
- Gas burner
- Disposable plates or containers
The set-up team should be in charge of organizing the cooking station, order pick-up station, and dining area. If you don't have access to a facility where such an event can be held, you may need to rent a location or try to get one donated. Don't spend a lot of money on decorations, as that will cut into the proceeds. Keep it simple, such as creating a Southern-style picnic theme with red and white checkered tablecloths, baskets for the bread, and pitchers of lemonade or iced tea at each table. Don't hide the cooking area, as watching the cooks at work is part of the fun. A shrimp boil should feel like the kind of open-air luncheon you'd find after a church service in the South. Your patrons are likely to love the festive and friendly ambiance.
Enlist your cooks well ahead of time so you can ensure you have someone skilled and ready for the task of cooking large quantities of boiled food. Inform them in advance that they will be boiling shrimp in with veggies and starch. Make sure they've done their homework before cooking for your guests. The last thing you need is a paying supporter who is dissatisfied with a raw or overcooked meal. Make sure your cooks and servers portion everything properly so that the guests are happy but you're still raising money. You can make it a buffet, but then you risk having people take too much or too little. It may be better to have volunteers dole out the dishes to make sure everyone has plenty and there is enough to go around.
Shrimp boils are always messy; that's part of the fun. Your clean-up crew is one of the most important volunteer teams. After the event, especially if you have rented or borrowed a venue for your boil, you will need to make sure that everything is spotless and exactly as you found it. Go over expected tasks with the clean-up crew, perhaps even taking photos to show them a "before" shot of the facility, so they know how things should look when they are finished. If most of the clean-up volunteers are teens, be sure to have responsible adults on hand to make sure everything is taken care of properly and safely.
Making Money With a Shrimp Boil Fundraiser
This type of fundraiser can be loads of fun and can help you raise a significant sum of money for a worthwhile cause. You could actually combine this type of event with a few other fundraisers to maximize earnings. For example, you could put together some shrimp-themed baskets to raffle off during the event or hold a bake sale rather than providing dessert with the shrimp dinner. Whatever you do, be sure to promote your fundraiser to supporters and members of the public at least six weeks in advance to ensure optimal attendance and enjoyment.