Fund-raising Idea: A Night at the Races

And the’re off……..

Organising a Night at the Races doesn’t have to involve your local racecourse! No their is a new whole new concept of horse racing involving a DVD which you project onto a large screen at your church hall or social club.

A search for “charity race night” in Google will turn up a host of companies falling over themselves to supply you with everything you need to organise a successful race night fundraiser.

Some of these companies put on large scale corporate events but there are also lots of options for smaller scale, easy fundraisers and those who want to do as much as possible themselves. By shopping around the cost is not prohibitive.

Companies will also offer all manner of tickets, racecards and betting slips and many will hire you racecourse scenery to give your event a professional pizzazz.

Make an Evening of It

The more swish and professional you can make your evening the better it will run and the more money you will make.

Race nights work well around a simple charity dinner or buffet. If appropriate a bar also helps to create the party mood.

Don’t forget to have all your other fundraisers on the go such as raffles and tombola’s.


Advertise your race night well in advance and sell tickets. Try to cover your costs on the tickets but don’t forget that you will also be making money during the evening.

The companies supplying you should be able to give you a reasonable estimate on takings so do your sums.

A good fun night out with friends and a meal thrown in is worth paying a bit for.

Master of Ceremonies

This is one of those fundraising events that needs a great Master of Ceremonies. Finding the right person (someone with the gift of the gab, who knows how to fundraise) for this role can really help your evening along and bring in extra cash.

You can also dress up the rest of your volunteers as race goers, jockeys, bookmakers etc. Anything that adds to the fun of the evening has got to be welcome


Although you are betting on real races (ones that were run and filmed long ago) no-one knows anything about the horses or their likely chances.

To keep things simple and legal most race nights use a simple totaliser system for the betting. The company you use will explain it to you but it involves no real odds just a simple sum whereby winning bets receive an agreed share (usually 50%) of the total take which is then split between the winning punters. This also guarantees that you cannot lose.

For example

Selling tickets @ £1.00 each, a total of 80 tickets for a race have been sold = £80.00

Divide this amount in two:- 50% payout = £40, 50% to your charity =£40

If a horse wins and 10 tickets have been sold, the £40 winner’s pot is divided by 10 =£4.00 for each winning ticket.

Some organisations prefer to sell fake money or counters for the betting side of things with teams competing for the honour of coming out on top at the end of evening.

Posted in Fundraising Ideas and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .