Last week I stumbled on a blog post by Jillian Burden and when I heard they raised over $4,400 at their pancake breakfast I knew I needed to find out more. Jillian was kind enough to answer a bunch of my questions so I could tell you more about their breakfast.
Held in their church fellowship hall, the breakfast menu included pancakes, eggs, bacon, juice, coffee and tea. The bacon and eggs were donated by farmers from the church, leaving the Burden’s to only buy pancake ingredients and the drinks. Even though the cost was only marginally cheaper, the Burdens decided to make the pancakes from scratch and got rave reviews from the crowd.
They bought their ingredients at a restaurant supply store open to the public, which allowed them to return unopened bags of flour and cartons of syrup. They returned $100 worth of food at the end, but were glad they had extra rather than not enough.
They also spent a little over $30 on some mason jars and flowers for simple table decorations.
Jill and John wanted to be sure all their friends and family could participate so they advertised a suggested donation of $10 per person or $30 per family. Most people gave far more than that amount. Total attendance was just over 100 people.
Fortunately their friends and small group stepped up to help. Six adults set up the tables and main serving station the night before the breakfast. Jillian and John pre-mixed dry ingredients for pancakes and got all the cooking stations prepared the night before as well.
At the breakfast they had two adults at the donation table, seven adults cooking, two adults washing dishes, three teenagers running food to the serving line, two adults serving food (Jillian and John so they could say hello to everyone), two adults at the drink station, two adults selling t-shirts and jewelry, and one adult babysitting all the volunteer’s kids – 22 people all together.
They offered their adoption t-shirts and jewelry for sale at the breakfast, but did not count those sales toward the final tally.
Jillian’s advises others to plan your timeline and then start cooking 20 minutes earlier than you think you should. Give your volunteers clear, written instructions. Estimate how much food you should make and add 20 percent.
As far as advertising the event, the big push began a month before when they created a Facebook event. Two weeks before the event they talked it up on their Facebook accounts and blogs, including taking photos of them shopping for ingredients. They also posted the event to the church’s Facebook page.
See their blog post for more pictures and info.
I love the idea of a pancake breakfast because it’s casual and menu is pretty defined. Plus I’ve never heard of anyone who doesn’t like pancakes. If putting on a fundraising dinner intimidates you, this might be the way to go.