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Whiskey Tasting Fundraiser - A Grown-Up Event

Hosting a whiskey-tasting fundraiser event is a great way for nonprofits to raise funds. An adult evening out learning about the differences between whiskey varieties from local experts is a fun experience. Plus, if it's done correctly, this type of fundraiser event can generate a lot of revenue.

You'll need a good place to host the event, liquor experts to explain the finer points to potential connoisseurs, ticket sales partnerships with local retailers, and a strong publicity campaign.

Arrange for as many as one hundred different whiskeys to be available for sampling, including single malt and blended Scotch whiskeys, Irish whiskeys, small-batch bourbons, cognacs and high-end tequilas.

Organization Tips
In a large reception room, group your tasting booths by category in a racetrack format. That way, people can stroll about freely and select the liquors that interest them.

Charge a general admission fee commensurate with the quality of the whiskey-tasting. Many groups go with a price in the to 0 range.

Tickets should be offered for pre-sale through participating merchant partnerships. This is a good way to reach that specific customer base without spending large amounts on advertising.

Your group can also issue a press release, seek publicity from local media coverage, and offer tickets at a discount to your own group members as well as related organizations. Some groups even do their event in partnership with another nonprofit group.

Consider hiring a live jazz band to give your event a swinging tone. Black-tie formal dress events also appeal to certain people as being more exclusive and therefore more deserving of their time and money, so keep that in mind during planning.

Be sure to comply with all state and local liquor regulations.

Profit Tips
You can also offer a special VIP tasting for an equal or larger additional fee. In the VIP whiskey-tasting, include some one-on-one interaction with the whisky experts. Distillery representatives will often compare varieties of whiskey and explain how different types of aging in oak barrels affect traits such as taste and appearance.

Another potential tie-in would be premium cigars. You could provide an expert who could explain how fine cigars are made, demonstrate the finer points of cigar rolling and who could also offer various high-end cigars for sale.

Additional Event Fundraising
There are other ways you can maximize revenue at your whisky-tasting event. You can offer examples of fine liquors via silent auction or conduct a live auction at a certain time, say two hours into the event.

Raffle tickets are another way to raise funds. By offering an inexpensive way to possibly win an expensive prize, you can oftentimes raise more money than that item would bring at auction.

Depending on crowd size, you can raffle off multiple items as well. One approach is to bump up the price of a single raffle ticket to a higher amount and draw from the same pool for multiple winners.

Another approach is to keep the ticket price low and encourage people to buy multiple tickets. And of course, a raffle allows you to sell tickets to people who can't make the event but would still like to participate in the fun.

Closing Tips
Always allow yourself enough lead time to successfully organize your fundraising event. Otherwise, everything will seem rushed and chaotic to your guests.

Give at least a month's lead time when you announce your whisky-tasting fundraiser. That allows people to plan their weekend far enough ahead to ensure high attendance levels.

About the Author: Kimberly Reynolds writes about fundraising and ideas on having a whiskey tasting fundraiser event on her website. Find hundreds of fundraising ideas on her website.

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