Imagine buttered pancakes smothered in warm maple syrup, hot sausage, orange juice, and coffee. What's not to like about a pancake breakfast fundraiser event. With plenty of volunteers, it's a fairly easy event to pull off. And the event allows for even more ways to raise money. Here's how to pull it off with success.

Organize Your Team
Depending on the size of your team, some of your volunteers will probably wear several different hats. Here are the basic roles you'll need filled to pull off your pancake breakfast fundraiser event.

  • Ticket Pre-Sales/Promotions
  • Event set-up
  • Cooking
  • Serving
  • Cleaning
  • Event Emcee
  • Event ticket sales
  • Additional event fundraising (discussed below)

Brainstorm with Your Team
Discuss fundraising goals, promotion ideas, dates, locations, menu items, and any other aspect of your event. Some in your group may have connections in one of these areas. Maybe they know the manager of a grocery store who could donate some items. Maybe an uncle is a member of the VFW—a possible place to hold your event.

Pancake Breakfast Fundraiser Event

Ask how many tickets each volunteer can sell. Everyone, no matter their role in the event, can sell tickets to friends, family and co-workers.

Pick a Saturday about four to six weeks out. Check calendars in your local newspaper to see what other events may be going on. You don't want to conflict with a big event if possible. Plan for about three hours, e.g. 8:00 am to 11:00 am.

Find a church, school, VFW hall or any other place that might donate their cafeteria. It will need to have adequate seating and a kitchen. You may need to donate a percentage (e.g. 10%) of your profits to use the space. Also, ask local or chain restaurants if they'll host the event. Applebee's is known for this.

First, contact your local health department to determine the food-serving requirements.

Pancakes, sausages, OJ, coffee, and tea, keeps it simple. Also, consider eggs, fruit and rolls. Other supplies you'll need are syrup, butter, milk, coffee stirrers, creamer, sugar, plastic plates, spoons, knives, napkins and cups.
Another consideration is whether to serve attendees with servers or set up a buffet.
Ask local restaurants, grocery stores and wholesale warehouses (Costco, Sam's) for donations.

Once you know your costs, you can set a ticket price. Estimate the number of people you'll get. This number can come from your team brainstorming session. Then set the price based on your estimate, costs, and fundraising goal.

Consider having separate pricing for adults, kids under 10, and seniors. Keep prices for adults between $5 and $10. There are other ways to raise money at the event besides ticket sales. See "Additional Profits" below.

Design and print tickets to sell in advance. If you can't find a local printer to donate the printing, use your computer and some cardboard paper stock. Be sure to list the date, time and location.

Design and print a flyer that can be distributed. List the Who? What? When? Why? Where? and How? of your event. Have your sales team post these around town in community centers, senior living facilities, schools, churches, public buildings, and anywhere there are bulletin boards. If the event is for a school, have parents distribute at their employers.

Use the web—Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and email to get the word out.

Ask local radio, TV, and newspapers to advertise the event. Radio stations can provide free PSAs (public service announcements). Newspapers may run a free small ad if it's for a charity.

Additional Profits
This is where you can really go over the top with your pancake breakfast fundraising event. Here are several ways to increase your profits on the day of the event.

Hold a raffle. Find local businesses to donate items. Price your tickets depending on the value of your prizes. Sell tickets at the door when you sell and collect breakfast tickets.

If you can't find enough prize items, hold a 50/50 raffle where the winner gets 50% of the raffle ticket revenue.

A silent auction is another way to increase your profits. Again, you'll need donated items to auction. Arrange the items on tables with a description, retail value, donator's name, and a bid sheet for guests.

Place donation buckets near your cash register. For example, "Help the Washington H.S. Band Buy New Uniforms. Cash, Spare Change and Checks made out to Washington H.S." 

If you have an event emcee (local TV personalities, radio DJs are perfect), make sure they periodically ask for raffle ticket sales, auction sign-up and donations.

Pancake breakfast fundraising events are popular and can be successful with good planning, promoting and teamwork. Don't forget to incorporate additional profit generators. See our "Fundraising Ideas" for additional money-making options.