How to organize a Drive-in Movie Fundraiser

How to Organize a Drive-In Movie Fundraiser: A Step-By-Step Guide (With Tips)

Roll back the years, adjust your rear-view mirror, and embrace the nostalgic charm of a classic drive-in movie experience, this time, with a contemporary twist. As we navigate through a new normal, there’s something inherently comforting and exciting about merging the past with the present. Welcome to our blog post on a “Drive-in Movie Fundraiser”—a community-focused initiative designed to deliver wholesome entertainment, while fueling our collective efforts for a greater cause.

Uniquely positioned at the intersection of nostalgic fun and purposeful engagement, drive-in movie fundraisers have surged in popularity. In this era where physical distancing has become the norm, they present a delightful solution for fostering community connection and raising funds, while ensuring everyone’s safety. Whether you’re a movie buff, a lover of classic drive-ins, an ardent supporter of your community, or simply on the lookout for innovative fundraising ideas, this blog post promises to be a thrilling ride. Read on, and let’s explore how you can make a difference in the most entertaining way possible!

How to Organize a Drive in Movie Fundraiser in 10 Steps:

Step 1: Assemble a Planning Team

The first step in organizing a drive-in movie fundraiser is to assemble a competent planning team. This team will be instrumental in guiding the event from conception to execution. It is crucial to include people with varied skills and strengths, which could include areas like event planning, marketing, finance, and technical expertise.

Having a diverse team will not only distribute the workload evenly but also provide a range of perspectives and ideas that could potentially enhance your event. If the fundraiser is for a specific organization, make sure to include staff members who understand the cause deeply and can ensure its mission is effectively communicated during the event. Remember, teamwork is a crucial factor in the success of any event, and a drive-in movie fundraiser is no exception.

Step 2: Choose a Suitable Location

Choosing the right location is critical for your drive-in movie fundraiser. The ideal location should be easily accessible and have enough space to accommodate all your attendees’ vehicles, along with the necessary audiovisual equipment. Consider potential sites such as a large parking lot, an open field, or a park.

Keep in mind that the movie screen needs to be placed in a position that is visible from all angles, so a flat, unobstructed area would work best. Also, remember to consider factors such as traffic noise and light pollution, which might disrupt the movie-watching experience. Before finalizing the location, consult with your team and possibly conduct a site visit to ensure it meets all your requirements.

Step 3: Secure Necessary Permits

Once you’ve selected your location, it’s crucial to secure the necessary permits to host your drive-in movie fundraiser. This step can be a bit complex, as the types of permits required can vary greatly depending on your location and the nature of your event. Generally, you will need a movie public performance license, which allows you to legally show the movie to the public.

This is usually obtained from the distributor of the film. If you’re planning to broadcast the movie audio via FM radio, you may also need a permit for this. If your event includes food and drinks, don’t forget to check the local health department’s requirements for food service permits. To ensure you cover all bases, it’s a good idea to check with your local municipality or city hall about all necessary permits and requirements. Don’t forget to start this process well in advance, as obtaining permits can sometimes take longer than anticipated.

Step 4: Select the Right Equipment

Choosing the right equipment is paramount for the success of your drive-in movie fundraiser. Since the movie is the main attraction of your event, you’ll need to ensure that your attendees can view and hear it clearly. You’ll need a large, inflatable movie screen that is suitable for outdoor use and a projector that has a strong enough brightness and resolution to ensure a good viewing experience.

Your projector should be able to produce clear and sharp images, even in low light. Audio quality is equally important. Consider using an FM transmitter to broadcast the movie’s sound. This way, your guests can tune into the audio directly from their car radios, eliminating the need for external speakers and reducing potential noise pollution. Remember, the quality of your equipment can significantly affect your guests’ overall experience, so it’s worth investing in or renting good-quality items.

Step 5: Choose a Suitable Film

The selection of the movie is an integral part of your drive-in movie fundraiser. The film should not only be enjoyable but also suitable for all ages, especially if you’re expecting families to attend. Family-friendly films or popular classics are generally safe choices and appeal to a broad audience.

It’s important to note that public performance rights for the chosen movie must be secured from the film’s distributor. This process is required to legally show the movie to the public, so be sure to take this into account when deciding on the film. You might want to have a few options ready, in case your first choice is not available for public screening. Remember, a good film can attract a larger crowd, leading to more funds raised for your cause.

Step 6: Plan Your Concessions

Offering concessions at your event can significantly enhance the movie-going experience and increase your fundraising revenue. Traditional movie snacks like popcorn, soda, and candy are always popular choices. If you have the resources, you might consider offering a wider selection, such as hot dogs, nachos, or even themed food and drink items based on the movie being shown. It’s crucial to ensure you adhere to any local health regulations when selling food and drink, so you might need to apply for a food service permit.

Depending on your event’s size, consider setting up multiple concession stands to avoid long lines. Also, think about how you’ll handle transactions. Will you accept only cash, or also credit and debit cards? Remember to make this clear to your guests before the event. Keep in mind that the sales from your concession stand can add significantly to your total funds raised, so it’s worth giving this aspect of your event careful consideration.

Step 7: Set a Ticket Price

Determining the ticket price for your drive-in movie fundraiser is a delicate balancing act. On one hand, you need to ensure that the price is sufficient to cover your costs and raise money for your cause. On the other hand, you don’t want to deter potential attendees with a price that’s too high. Take into account the costs of the event, including equipment rental, permit fees, and concession supplies, and set a price that will allow you to turn a profit.

A popular approach is to charge a per-car fee, which encourages group attendance and makes the event more affordable for families and larger groups. While setting the price, it’s also a good idea to research similar events in your area to understand what attendees might expect to pay.

Step 8: Market the Event

After all the planning and preparation, you need to ensure that people know about your event and are excited to attend. Start by creating a comprehensive marketing plan. Utilize a variety of channels to reach as many people as possible: social media platforms, local newspapers, community bulletin boards, and word of mouth. Create eye-catching posters or digital graphics and consider making a fun trailer or teaser video to generate excitement.

Make sure all promotional materials highlight the movie you’re showing, the date and time of the event, the location, ticket prices, and most importantly, the cause you’re supporting. Remember, the more people that know about your event, the greater the potential for a successful fundraiser.

Step 9: Event Execution

The day of the event is where all your planning comes into play. Arrive at the venue early to set up. Test all your equipment beforehand to ensure the movie plays smoothly and the sound can be clearly heard through the car radios. Have volunteers ready to guide cars to their parking spots and ensure they maintain the necessary distance from each other. If you’re selling concessions, make sure the stand is fully stocked and ready to go.

During the event, ensure that everything runs smoothly, and address any issues that may arise immediately. While this can be a busy and potentially stressful day, remember to enjoy it! You’ve put in a lot of hard work, and this is the day you get to see it all come to fruition.

Step 10: Show Appreciation

Once your drive-in movie fundraiser is complete, it’s important to show your appreciation to everyone who made it possible. Send thank-you notes to your volunteers, staff, and sponsors acknowledging their contributions.

Also, consider sending an email or message to all attendees thanking them for their support and perhaps providing a brief update on how the funds raised will be used for your cause. This not only fosters goodwill but also helps to build relationships for future events. Remember, everyone likes to be appreciated, and a simple thank you can go a long way.

Tips while organizing a drive-in movie fundraiser:

  1. Early Planning: Begin planning your event as early as possible. Securing permits, gathering equipment, and marketing your event can take time. The earlier you start, the less stressful the process will be.
  2. Have a Backup Plan: Always have a backup plan in case of unexpected circumstances such as poor weather. This could involve having an alternate date or even a different indoor venue.
  3. Crowd Control: Consider hiring or assigning volunteers to help with crowd control. They can help direct traffic, answer attendee questions, and enforce any rules you’ve established for the event.
  4. Comfort of Attendees: Think about the comfort of your attendees. As it might get chilly in the evening, consider selling or giving away blankets as part of the ticket price.
  5. Engage the Community: Try to involve local businesses as sponsors. They could help cover costs in return for advertisement at the event, and it’s a great way to engage the community.
  6. Intermission: Think about having an intermission during the film. This will give people a chance to stretch their legs, use the restroom, and buy more concessions.
  7. Keep Safety in Mind: Ensure all safety protocols are strictly adhered to. Depending on your area, you may need to comply with specific COVID-19 protocols to ensure the safety of all attendees.
  8. Celebrate Your Cause: Don’t forget to highlight the cause you’re fundraising for during the event. You could have a short speech before the movie or provide flyers with more information about where the proceeds are going.
  9. Presell Tickets: To avoid chaos at the entrance and have a better estimate of expected attendees, consider preselling tickets online.
  10. Make it an Experience: Apart from the movie, try to create an experience that people will remember. This could include theme-based decoration, costume contests based on the movie theme, photo booths, etc.
  11. Feedback: After the event, consider sending a feedback form to attendees. This will help you understand what worked and what could be improved for future events.

Final Thoughts

As the curtain falls on our comprehensive guide to organizing a drive-in movie fundraiser, it’s essential to remember that, more than the logistics or the financial aspect, what truly matters is the shared experience we create. Amidst the vast expanse of open sky, the flicker of the screen in the dark, the crackle of a shared radio frequency, and the aroma of popcorn wafting through the air, what we’re offering is an unforgettable community experience.

A drive-in movie fundraiser is not just about raising money for a cause. It’s about bringing people together in a shared experience, fostering a sense of community and creating memories that will last long after the closing credits roll. We’re transporting attendees back to a simpler time while utilizing modern technology and tactics to aid a cause that matters.

In the end, it’s about the smiles on the faces of the attendees, the laughter echoing through the night, the captivated silence during a movie’s climax, and the knowledge that you’ve made a real, tangible difference. As you embark on this journey of planning your drive-in movie fundraiser, remember, it’s not just about watching a movie; it’s about making a statement, one car at a time. And in this unique blend of nostalgia, community, and goodwill, you’ll find the real magic of the drive-in experience. It’s about making your fundraiser not just another event, but an unforgettable evening under the stars.

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