Charity dinners with gift basket raffles or silent auctions are among the common ways that smaller non-profit agencies and campaigns in Monroe County, Mich., try to raise money.

It’s also a common tactic for those who are trying to raise funds on behalf of a family in need for medical or funeral expenses.

The frustrating detail is how much time, effort and promotions needs to go into to organizing and promoting such an event so that it is a success. There are so many charity appeals in any given month that to get one particular one to stand out takes a lot of effort.

I rarely hear back as to how much money some of these fundraisers earn, but one example recently crossed my desk:

A spaghetti dinner held a couple of weeks ago with 164 tickets sold, in addition to a raffle, resulted in $1,388 earned for the non-profit. The committee members seemed pleased with that. Given the fact that a similar event I knew of from a couple years ago raised about $800, I think the praise was well earned.

That’s often a paltry sum in comparison to financial need, but consider this:

The publicity and buzz about the issue or cause is valuable in itself. You can leverage the success of such an event when recruiting additional funds or sponsors, especially when explaining what family and friends are doing to try to help.

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