An ice cream booth, party or event is a fun way to raise money for your cause and build community spirit at the same time. There are several ways to set up this fun event which works really well in the spring, summer and fall months.
Ice Cream Booth
Each year our youth group at church puts on a summer musical program and does an ice cream social as an additional fundraiser. The sale takes place during a 10-15 minute intermission and is the only food available.
Approximately 4-5 tables are set up with 2 or 3 kinds of ice cream at each table and volunteers at each table to serve. The homemade is usually the most popular, but there’s also store bought too. Small styrofoam coffee cups are used to serve one scoop of ice cream each. A donation jar is placed at each table, so people can leave whatever donation they felt like. Many people come back for more than one scoop and add donations when they do.
There are many places that an ice cream booth would be successful:
School play or musical performance (at intermission or after the show)
School or church sponsored craft fair
Fall festival or school fair
Chamber of Commerce Mixer
Social event after a regular organization meeting
- Charge $1 per scoop instead of donation basis
- Charge a flat fee for entry, usually $3-5, and serve smaller portions of ice cream. Give people who paid a wrist band or necklace to show booth volunteers that they have paid.
Ice Cream Freeze Off
This ice cream sale is similar to the ice cream booth, except it adds a sense of competition. Each person who purchases ice cream gets a set of 5 tickets. A roll of two part tickets can be purchased for this purpose at most office supply stores. Participants vote for the ice creams they like best by placing tickets in containers set in front of each ice cream.
At the end of the ice cream social gather a few volunteers to tally up all of the votes. Have two award categories, “Best Homemade Ice Cream” and “Best Non-Homemade Ice Cream.” One reason that you should have two categories is to encourage people to bring both kinds of ice cream. Give away a small prize such as a gift certificate to the winners.
The success of the ice cream freeze off is dependant on the members of your organization bringing ice cream donations, either home made or store bought. It is important to remind people to put their name on the container and/or keep a clipboard with the name of the person who brought the ice cream along side the flavor. This will make giving out the awards easier.
It would also a good idea to charge a flat rate or donation only for this type of event. Use smaller cups, such as Dixie cups or shot size cups so people will be more likely to try more flavors.
- Sell additional tickets for .50 each
- Tell people to keep one half of the two part ticket. At the end of the social give away door prizes by calling out the numbers.
World’s Longest Banana Split
You don’t have to beat any records to have fun at this event. Sell tickets in advance, at a set price per person, for all you can eat banana splits. A suggested price is $3-5 per ticket. You could charge different prices for adults and kids under 12. Give armbands, stickers or other markers to ticket holders to wear to show that they have paid. Have drink booths set up separately.
Plastic gutters, found at any hardware store, are cleaned and/or lined with foil to provide your banana boats. Set these up on tables or sawhorses. Have volunteers set up at various points on the line to add bananas, ice cream, and toppings. Have a gun shot, or loud speaker announcement as the starting time.
To boost the proceeds for this event, ask members of your organization to donate supplies ahead of time. Purchase all remaining supplies, bananas and ice cream the day before the event.
Additional ways to boost the profits of the Banana Split Party is to have other events going on such as t-shirt sales, a sand art booth, a silent auction or other activities that would be of interest to your audience. Gaining the support of local businesses would also help boost the success of the event. You could get a grocery store to be the main sponsor and donate all the supplies. Additional sponsors could be recognized on t-shirts and signage.
This event could work well for:
College campuses – start of semester events, freshmen orientation, fraternities or sororities
Combine the ice cream party with a free indoor or outdoor movie (charge $5 for both the ice cream and movie. Give students wristbands to show that they have paid.)
Church youth groups
Schools – Back to school event, school carnival, pep rallies, before or after a sports game
Very Important Notes
There are a few things to take note of that could make or break the success of your ice cream event.
Get everything donated! Ask members of your organization to donate supplies and/or find business sponsors who can help.
Set up the ice cream event at a day and time where there are other activities planned. If you can latch on to another event that is already established such as a play or school festival, people will already be there. You won’t have to worry as much about getting people to attend the event. Combining the ice cream social with other activities makes it much more fun, too!
Be creative! Be as creative as you want with the ice cream party. Customize everything so it will be more attractive and fun for everyone involved.
Here’s some examples…
- Choose a creative name for your event such as: “Clarksville County Ice Cream Festival,” “Hot Fudge & Hot Flicks” ( for an ice cream and movie event) or “Attack of the Killer Banana Splits!”
- Fun Decorations such as colorful balloons
- Promote your event heavily to your audience ahead of time!
- Kids and teens like the “messy” aspect to the giant banana split in the rain gutters, so emphasize this is your promotion
- Hold a banana eating contest at the banana split party (with just 3-10 entrants)
An ice cream event can work for any size group, large or very small. Create the event that will work best for your particular audience and have an enjoyable fundraiser!