Here's the MeatThe Assabet Valley Booster Club in Marlborough, Mass., recently held its first meat raffle, which raised $1,300 to support the student-athletes at Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School.
Deciding what to fix for dinner got a bit easier for community members in the Marlborough, Mass., area on Feb. 11. That's when the Assabet Valley Booster Club held its inaugural meat raffle.
"A lot of people who came didn't know what a meat raffle is," says booster club treasurer Shelly Brigham. "But they can be very successful fundraisers. We got the idea from the local Lions Club, which holds one nearly every month. It's just what it sounds like--we raffled off meat."
The event was held at the Assabet Valley Technical High School cafeteria, and lasted three hours. Attendees bought tickets in the same way other raffle tickets are sold--10 tickets cost $5--and they could purchase them that night. What sets this type of raffle apart from others is that there are several winners over the course of the event.
"When it's time for the meat to come out, all of it goes on the tables," Brigham explains. "Then when a number is drawn, the person who has that ticket comes up and makes their selection. Then the next ticket is drawn, and that person comes and chooses from what's left, and so on.
"After everything on that table's gone, we start the second table and repeat the process," she continues. "We do that until all of the meat is gone. Sometimes, clubs just set up the tables and that's how it's raffled off--the whole table at once. But for ours, we let people come and pick what they wanted."
Along with the meat raffle, the club operated a concession stand with snack food and pastries. It also raffled off gift baskets put together by club and community members.
The club arranged to get the meat from a local market that has experience with fulfilling orders for other organizations' meat raffles. "I don't know exactly how many pounds of meat we had," Brigham says. "But we decided we wanted $1,100 worth of meat and ordered it about a month before the raffle. We had a variety of things, including hamburger, steaks, pork roasts, hot dogs, marinated kabobs, and even whole turkeys and chickens. It was a little bit of everything."
Brigham found the effort definitely worth it. "I would tell other clubs to absolutely look into this type of fundraiser," she says. "We made about $1,300 and it was very easy. Plus it's fun, and a good way to get people together in the community."
Brigham's first piece of advice is to deal with the logistics. Along with picking a date and making arrangements with the meat supplier, it's important to find a suitable venue. "You need to have a place that has plenty of room, because you never know how many people are going to come," she says. "We had it in the school's main cafeteria, which is huge. You also have to have a refrigerator, so the meat stays cold until it is raffled off."
Next, the club should cover the smaller basics. "You need a spinner for the raffle tickets, or some other way to pick the winning numbers," Brigham says. "And be sure to get a lot of volunteers lined up. We had people at the concession stand, manning the raffles, handling the meat, and selling the tickets."
The raffle should also be publicized well in advance. "I think it should be advertised at least two months before the event," Brigham says. The Assabet booster club used the following ideas to get the word out:
- Flyers posted in several towns, as well as at the school.
- The booster club Web site.
- The area's newspapers.
- Sandwich boards were set up for drivers to see when they came off the major highways, and by the school.
- The school's phone calling system, so every Assabet student was called and told that the booster club was having a meat raffle.
- Save-the-date cards were given away. If they were brought to the event, the person would get five raffle tickets for free, as an incentive to come.