A Guide on hosting a successful crab feed as a fundraiser for your local charity.
In the last decade social crab feeds have become popular to benefit local charities. Typically held between January through March when sweet Dungeness Crab is affordable, albeit, plentiful. I have not held nor attended one crab feed that was not successful both monetarily and socially. A win win for everyone!
Ticket sales range from Approximately 35.00 to 75.00 per person, depending on the charity, and/or expenses incurred by the group hosting the event. This article will explore ideas, tips and tricks to assist you in a fabulous turn out.
First things are first. Assemble a decision making team and begin the brainstorming process. You will need one Trail Chief, and let’s say five or more Indians. Your first rule of thumb will be to acquire everything possible at low to NO cost. At this time, you may start a list choosing the correct volunteer for the job.
You will need:
* A hall, gym, church, etc. Remember to get this rented at no cost.
* Secure a local artisan band for the entertainment.
* Interview local lounges or restaurants for a NO host bar. Their monies earned come directly from the patrons, so the establishment is happy to set you up. Please know your target market! Do not hire a Harley Bar to service soccer Mom families!
* Begin solicitations for donated items, trips, services, etc. for the raffle, and/or silent auction. Many local small businesses’ are more than happy to help. I personally choose one crab feed a year to donate a quilt for. By the way, there should be two Indians to head this task to preserve mental health, however all chairmen should be asked to sell! sell! sell! (Event tickets).
* Establish a menu. It should consist of bread & butter, salad with dressing, pasta with sauce, a small but meaningful dessert with coffee, and of course fresh Dungeness crab. Here on the central coast of California we have many venders who sell fresh seafood’s. They are always willing to discount the cost for a good community cause. Be certain that your crab will arrive fresh, the milder the aroma, the fresher the crustaceans.
There are variables here as to whether you can collect more in ticket sales, and get tongues wagging in the right direction for future events. I strongly recommend wine for the tables, and absolutely the best recipes that you can find for the pasta. Lemons for the table are a nice touch as well. Typically guests bring their own condiments such as butter or cocktail sauce. Never forget that the more pasta one eats, the less crab they eat! But I didn’t say that.
Local wineries love to donate cases of wine as it is good advertisement, and again, community involvement. One bottle per two people should be sufficient. A good mix of red and white wines will please all crowds. You will not know exactly how much until ticket sales are nearly completed. This is also true for the crab. Any leftovers of the night are typically sold to your guests for 10.00 per pound. Never ever run out of crab! It’s a sure fire way to send guests on the warpath and unnerve all Indians involved.
* Purchase plastic cutlery, plates, table linens, napkins, buckets and bowls at a warehouse store such as Smart & Final or Costco. I would like to say that this can be donated, but unfortunately, for me, that was never able to be accomplished. But do try anyway!
* Advertisement. I suggest this begins three months in advance of your chosen event date. Most crab feed sales are strong just after Thanksgiving, and if you have a good reputation, sell out within the month of December. (This is based on a February event date). Use all local publications and radio broadcasts, the Chamber of Commerce outlets and flyers in local businesses. Hopefully, after your first year, this won’t be necessary as talk spreads like wildfire in either direction. Make it count.
Your ticket sales Indians will be busy selling raffle tickets and manning the silent auction table all evening. Choose when the winners will be announced leaving a grand prize drawing for dessert. This is always a big deal for the guests.
* Lastly, gather a crew of Indian soldiers who can work for tips alone. If your group is a choir for example, all choir members will be expected to serve. All guests will be expected to tip. Tip Well. Assign each server a table. (Several to each) This keeps them structured and there will be less confusion and mistakes. Do not allow them to fetch wine or cocktails if they are teenagers!
They should be told what comes out when, and timing is important. If they have a great time and they do not lose focus, the tips will be great!
This is a great fundraiser and a serious good time for all involved. Good luck, pass the crab!