Wine-Tasting Fund-raising
Hosting a wine-tasting fundraiser is a fun way to raise money for a good cause. And with careful planning, teamwork, and execution, you can have a successful wine-tasting fundraiser. You’re success is only limited by your imagination. Let’s look at some ideas.
Planning
Meet with your team of volunteers and start brainstorming. Start by asking questions and encourage others to do the same.

Clearly define your fundraising goals in financial terms, how you want it to run, and what kind of experience you want the guests to have. Think of quality not just quantity. Strive for a classy event.  After all, you may want to run this again the following year if it’s successful.

What can each team member bring to the event? What are their skills? Do they have contacts in the wine industry? Contacts in the media? How could/should each person contribute?

Wine-Tasting Fundraising Ideas

Where will you get your wine? Where will you host the event? Restaurants, museums, cultural centers, public gardens, etc. all make nice venues.

How much will you charge for tickets? What will that include (wine samples, formal dinner, casual cocktails, etc.)?

Who can you solicit for prize donations?

Set up committees: promotion, event preparation/set-up, servers, etc. Then have people volunteer for these committees. And then let them run with their tasks. Set up a schedule for follow-up meetings where you discuss progress and any issues that may come up. You can also send out emails with periodic updates.

The Wine
This is an important piece to the fundraiser. Talk to wine merchants and distributors about your event. Who is willing to provide nice wines at below retail prices? This is a win-win for both because the wine merchant can sell their wine at the event. And you can negotiate what percentage of the sales will go back to the charity.

You’ll also want someone who is willing to talk knowledgeably about these wines at the event. Is the supplier able to do this? Or will you have to find someone outside?

Will the supplier offer the guests a discount?

Publicity
This is one of the keys to a successful wine-tasting fundraiser. The more seats filled the bigger opportunity for success.

First, write a press release that explains the who, what, why, when, where, how much of your event.

Go to newspapers, TV, and radio stations with your press release. The media will usually run an ad at no charge for a non-profit event.

Go to wine bars, wine shops and any other related businesses and ask to post a flyer for your event. Ask these merchants if they will sell tickets.

If they’re employers allow it, ask your volunteers if they’ll distribute the press release at their work using an email, flyer in the break room, or mention in the company newsletter.

Use social media like Facebook to advertise. Ask your volunteers who have accounts if they will send out a personalized press release for the event to their friends.

The Event
Here’s where the rubber meets the road or better, where the cork is finally pulled. 

Have a wine expert who is able to talk about how to taste and appreciate wine. This person will usually be the one who explains each wine.

A celebrity emcee (master of ceremonies) is a classy touch that will keep the event lively and moving along. The emcee is also good at keeping the guests aware that it is a charity event. “We still have a wonderful 3-night Caribbean vacation available in the silent auction. The last bid is only $100!”

 Local TV and radio personalities as well as local civic leaders make excellent emcees because of their public speaking experience.

Consider having a local jazz band or ensemble to perform.

Raffles
Sell raffle tickets for your nicest donation. Be sure to ask everyone when they walk in and are paying at the cashier.  

Silent Auctions
Your months of preparation can pay off here. Solicit businesses quality items to be auctioned. Dinners, spa days, hotel stays, trips, gourmet accessories all make nice desirable items for your auction.

But don’t limit yourself here. Any business who wants to generously donate should be fair game. You’d be surprised at how popular some auction items are.

Final Thoughts
There really is no limit to how you can host a successful wine-tasting fundraiser. Plan the event well in advance (3 to 6 months). Get your volunteers excited and their excitement will insure a lot of guests. Find a good wine merchant who is also excited. Strive for a classy but not snobby event. Make your guests feel they got good value for their money.

Build on these ideas and you’re sure to have a fun and triumphant wine-tasting event.