Try it the easy way...Every year we deal with thousands of fundraising requests. And it really is very simple to run a murder mystery for fundraising, especially when we're just a phone call away and can help with both game selection, and support you in the run up to the event.
First... a few FAQs to get you started...
1) Should I hire in an acting team to run a fundraising event?You can, and we regularly DO get hired in to provide murder mysteries for fundraising evenings, but we don’t recommend it unless you have a very wealthy audience! Which is why we spend a lot of time explaining our DIY kits.
Event managed murder mystery evenings cost anything between $700 and $2000 per evening, and while it guarantees everyone a quality night’s entertainment, that figure puts a significant dent into the amount you can raise as the upfront costs are so high. Once you’ve factored in food, venue hire and the marketing, you need to raise an awful lot of money to make any great donation to your chosen cause. By comparison a downloadable murder mystery script is just $200.00. So already you’ve raised $500.00 by doing it yourself!
That isn’t to say you can’t hire us in, and we’ve helped at numerous black tie murder mystery fundraisers over the years, but if you’re a small group, with limited funds, we never recommend hiring in a group in the first instance, purely because of costs. Rather we’d suggest looking at our DIY options where the prices are cheaper and the returns much greater.
2) Do I need outside caterers or hire a restaurant / hotel?
Murder mystery events don’t necessarily require food. We’ve run murder mystery evenings as part of cabaret nights, or with finger food buffets, or wine and canapés before.
Catering is another one of those hidden costs in running a fundraiser, and while it’s great if everyone gets fed, again you need to decide if that’s a cost you can do without to ensure more money goes to your chosen cause.
You might decide that the food will be provided by the fundraising group e.g. a church may decide to have members of the church provide the food. This keeps costs down – but remember, if you’re charging for the food you do need to adhere to food health laws in your own country! (You might be able to circumnavigate food hygiene restrictions if the “cost per ticket” is a “donation” rather than for the food, and have the food provided “free” as part of the event. But it’s something you’d need to check with your local food health departments.)
You can create a really great evening with pre-packed food from supermarkets. A lot of supermarkets do big dish lasagne etc, which makes for an ideal main course, garlic bread for starter, ice cream for dessert, and you’ve kept your food bill to under $4 per head!
Also – don’t forget – you could always just get a fish and chips or take away delivered, rather than use caterers.
3) Do I need to hire a venue?
Venue costs are again one of those hidden costs in fundraising. The simple answer is no. You can run a really effective multi-room mystery in someone’s own home without going to the expense of hiring a venue.
We’ve helped customers with venues in church halls, school halls, even outside barbecues and under marquee before, so the venue is not essential either.
The best venues are FREE ones, and I’d suggest when you start planning for a murder mystery, you visit a number of venues to see if any will donate the venue free, or at a lower cost as you are raising money for charity.
You could also run a murder mystery marathon or relay in which case you don’t need a venue at all – rather you just need people’s houses!
4) Should I get sponsorship?
Why not? You don’t NEED it, but getting various aspects of your fundraiser sponsored by companies will mean more money can go to your chosen charity as sponsorship is paying for advertising, or the venue, or the caterers etc.
If you think it’s unlikely you’ll get any local businesses to pay you in cash for aspects of the murder mystery event, then at least ask them for raffle prizes. Many retailers have stock they will be willing to dispose of for charitable causes. Just remember to thank them, and ensure any donations received are attributed to their organisation. Most businesses love a bit of free advertising, and can write off charitable donations against tax. Don’t expect it though! Quite often if you write 50 letters you’ll only get 5-8 responses for raffle prizes.
5) Should I run a raffle?
Unless you are really opposed to raffles, either on religious grounds or just because you don’t like asking for more money once someone is “in the door”, then a raffle is a sure fire way of raising additional fundraising on the night. Most people will buy a strip of tickets worth $1. And you can get donations for prizes from within your organisation or by approaching businesses local to you.
One thing worth pointing out – don’t just have 1 raffle ticket book. If you have 3-5 colours, then you’re more likely to sell 3-5 strips of tickets!
Also – we’ve been at events where the organiser at the end of the evening has totted up the amount raised so far, and then challenged the audience to donate just a little more to get it to a bigger target. E.g. “If I put in $10 more to this donation jar, will anyone else do the same?” With a good group of people in the room, this will quickly raise $100 more on the evening.