Looking for a great food-based fundraiser that spans different hours of the day? One that will also work wonderfully as a Vegetarian meal without being obvious? Try a Belgian Waffle Fundraiser for a delicious fundraising success!

While pancake breakfasts are always a wonderful fundraiser that can raise some great dough, another clever cooking event is a Belgian Waffle Fundraiser! This event can be hosted as a morning breakfast, a brunch, or as a dessert fundraiser after another event, such as a concert or art show. You’ve just created another time where you could host this event!

Belgian waffles with assorted syrups and toppings (whipped topping, berries in syrup, flavored syrups)
Fresh fruit
Sausage links or bacon strips (omit if you’re hosting a vegetarian meal)
Juice and Coffee

How It’s Done
The key here is to sell tickets in advance! You’ll need the capital ahead of time to purchase food ingredients, rent a room, and get needed items such as plates, napkins, and silverware. Also, if the ticket holders don’t show up the day of your event, no worries since they’ve already given to your group. Allow carry out orders to bring in more people without everyone needing to sit down at the same time.

Dry waffle batter can be purchased in bulk from warehouse stores such as Costco or Sam’s Club. Obviously, you’ll need several waffle irons which can be borrowed from friends and neighbors. Giv people the chance to use that wedding gift they rarely pull out of the cabinets! Coordinate this collection well in advance so you’ll know how many you have and how much food can be cooking at one time. Be sure to take accurate count ahead of time as to whose you can borrow. Label them prior to the day of the event to make sure everyone gets their own waffle irons back!

Frozen berries, ice cream and whipped topping can also be purchased from warehouse stores. Try to get berries donated from local farmers and ice cream and whipped topping donated from local grocery stores. The more you can get donated, the less you’ll have to purchase. These in-kind donations are also easier for many stores to handle than donating money to your cause.

You can also purchase flavored syrups, or make your own! Dayle’s Growlies for Groups has an excellent recipe for a homemade maple syrup that you can make for 100 servings. Adjust flavorings to get creative with the syrups and add fruits as needed.

Total costs for items should average around $3 per person. You can sell tickets for $5 to $7 since the event will be an all you can eat event. If you’ll be adding meats or home fries (hash browns) or dessert items for a dinner version, aim for the $7 to $9 ticket range. Many groups use language denoting “suggested minimum donations of $5 per person” which means most people will give more. Children under 5 can eat for free since they usually don’t eat much.

Best Locations
Church fellowship halls, school cafeterias/ auditoriums, VFW hall or other civic organization locations, hotel ballrooms, community events center and other larger spaces that can easily hold 200+ people. You’ll definitely want an area where you can access a kitchen if possible. One option that is frequently used for pancake breakfasts is to host the event at a restaurant that is normally closed during breakfast, since the location is already inspected and ready to serve food and accommodate guests!

Be sure to check with your local health department officials to make sure you get any and all necessary food handlers’ permits for your volunteers, inspections for your facilities, and guidelines for safe food handling.

Using Professionals
There are several companies that can do a pancake or Belgian waffle fundraiser for your charity! The cooking will be done for you by professionals who know how to flip the flapjacks and create enthusiasm for a crowd! All you have to do is provide the location, sell the tickets, create the media buzz, and provide a few volunteers to assist with clean up. Check out Dad’s Belgian Waffles at
www.dadsbelgianwaffles.com (serving MN and IA). If you’re in the Lincoln, Nebraska area, contact Waffleman Doug at www.wafflemandoug.com to host a Belgian Waffle Fundraiser in that area.
And, for a great pancake fundraiser, contact The Pancake Man at www.pancakeman.net who serves Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri and Kansas! They bring the expertise and experience, and help with the fundraiser. This is a great opportunity for a group to learn how to do this from a pro and then do it on their own next year!

Add Ons
The add-on fundraiser of selling advertising space on placemats that will help bring in another $1,000 at your Belgian waffle or pancake breakfast. Another add-on option is to get sponsors for the event, such as pledges for a walkathon. This works better if you’re doing the cooking yourselves, since you’ll be challenging your group to cook as many as possible. If you break past a certain number, your sponsors will give you an extra donation. This type of sponsorship is used with car washes so it may take some tweaking to make it work well for a cooking event!

urn your Belgian Waffle Fundraiser into a Breakfast with Santa! This will offer children the opportunity to have a special meal with their favorite guest, talk to him for a few minutes, and take lots of photos. Name tags for all children allow Santa to greet his guests by name! And, parents will be able to hear the special toy requests that only Santa is told about by their child! You may want to charge more for this special event.
Add on a silent auction event, raffle, or other mini fundraiser that can bring in some more money while taking your event to the next level.

* If you need to purchase Belgian Waffle dry mix and you can’t find it locally, here’s one company that has it: BES Incorporated

About the Author: Danielle Hamilton is the editor of HumaneFundraising.com and moderator of a Yahoo group dedicated to helping animal rescue groups raise money for animals.

Posted on 07 August 2007

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