Race Nights

How to Raise Funds with a Race Night

If you need to raise funds for your charity, school, football club or sports club then a race night is always a good fundraising idea. You can raise funds from a race night event in four seperate ways, two of which will more than cover the costs of your event before it even starts.

Race Night Sponsorship

You usually find that local companies are more than willing to sponsor a race in return for the naming rights of that race and a little bit of publicity. You can reasonably charge £25 to name a race which would then show in your race card as Smithys Hurdles sponsored by Smiths Bakery etc.. If you are running 8 races this would bring in £200 and sponsorship can be sold in advance of your event.

It is also possible to sell the naming rights of each horse or snail to members of the public. They would also get their name in the race card, eg Rockin' Horse sponsored by Fred Jones. A £5 charge per horse is usually reasonable, you can provide the winner with a prize such as a bottle of spirits or box of chocolates. Selling horse sponsors for 8 horses in each of the 8 races would generate £320 and also means 64 people have an interest in being at your event.

Admission Tickets

You can charge an admission fee for your fundraising event but you normally would need to provide food, a free drink or an additional form of entertainment such as a disco or live music. The price for the admission ticket would depend on the cost of providing additional entertainment and your expected turnout at your event. It's not uncommon to attract 100 people to an event with a free buffet paying £5 each, raising £500.

Tote Ticket Sales

On the night of your event you'll sell Tote or Betting Tickets for each rider in each race. Strictly speaking there is no betting at a race night, the horses are just an entertaining way of picking a random number between 1 and 8.

Tote Tickets feature the race number and the number of the horse the "punter" wishes to back. A small fee of 50 pence works well for Tote Tickets as your guests will then tend to buy more than one ticket. We've found that the average sales at 50p are actually greater than when charging £1 per ticket.

A crowd of 100 guests each buying one for a race would generate Tote Ticket revenue of £50 per race. An 8 race event would generate £400 for the evening.

Of course, you do need to provide winnings for the lucky punters. To do this you set a tote payout, 40% or 50% is typical. After each race you count up all the ticket sales and then keep 60%, giving 40% back to the winning ticket holders as prizes. Following these numbers, you'd make a profit of £240 during the night from Tote Ticket sales.

Lucky Dip Ticket Sales

Lucky Dip tickets can also be used, usually in race 4, to provide some additional funds and interest. Lucky Dip tickets come in sets of 28 and feature two numbers. Each ticket is pulled at random from a hat and there is only a single winner who wins the prize pot.

To win they have to draw the ticket with the 1st and 2nd placed horses. £2 is a good price for Lucky Dip tickets, with a cash prize of £25 going to the lucky winner. £31 would then be kept for your funds.

You can offer Lucky Dip tickets in more than one race but they can detract from Tote Ticket sales and can overly confuse things if you use them too often.

Last Race Auction

At the end of the night, just before the last race you can auction off the horses for additional funds. You'll need a compere to take bids from the guests, usually the one's that have been lucky earlier in the evening can be quite generous and bid for horses.

The person who wins the bid for the winning horse would get a return of 50% of the total auction revenue. If you auction 8 horses at an average of £50 each then you pay £200 to the very lucky winner and put £200 into your fund pot.

Auctions are a great way to end your race night on a high as well as raising a good chunk of additional funds.

How Much Can You Raise?

If we combine all the sub-totals together you'll get an idea of how much you can raise from an 8 race event with 100 people in the audience

£200 from Race Sponsorship

£320 from Horse Sponsorship

£500 from Admission Tickets

£240 from Tote Ticket Sales

£31 from Lucky Dip Ticket Sales

£200 from Horse Auctions

In total your event would raise £1,491 for your charity.

Do bear in mind that out of this you'd need to pay for your race night package, food/entertainment and also a small prize for each winning horse sponsor.  It is still possible to generate over £1000 for your cause.