Fundraising via Zoom Race Nights for Sports Clubs and Charity

For seasoned Horse Race Night fundraisers, Lockdown 2020 has brought about a very different way of raising funds.

Gone are the days of up to 200 people gathering in a room and placing bets one race at a time by queuing at the betting desk. With everybody in the same room, it usually took between five and fifteen minutes for all bets to be placed on a race and race nights usually provided between two to four hours of fun entertainment & fundraising with raffles and buffet breaks in-between.

Now with the social distancing restrictions, we are currently facing on the night fundraising is more difficult to control. How do we manage to take all those bets when we are all in different locations?

How To Run A Virtual Race Night over Zoom

We will try to explain how our customers are handling this new but certainly not welcome world we are now living in.

Race and Horse Sponsors – Many customers raise funds in advance of the night by getting race sponsors, horse owners etc a couple of weeks before the event. If you do this, this side of race night fundraising has not changed, the only difference being you will be asking people by phone, text or email rather than face to face in person.

Prize Suggestions – Many local organisations like Rotary clubs get some of their members to give up some spare time and donate their services by offering to wash a car, cut someone’s grass, wash windows etc as a prize. It certainly raises a laugh the thought of a local businessman such as a solicitor with a mop and bucket cleaning someone’s kitchen floor.

Forward Planning in Advance – What our customers are telling us is that they are asking people to pledge money in advance of the evening by doing the following:

1 – Asking local businesses as normal to sponsor a race (suggested prices, yours could be more or less). Sponsor a race for £25 over six races this brings in £150.

2 – Selling owners and maybe jockeys in advance of the evening. There are always eight horses in our races, so getting eight people to pledge £5 each brings in £40 per race. Over six races this would bring in £200 in revenues. Doing the same with jockeys would bring in a further £200.

3 – Remember each winning owner (and maybe jockey) in each race requires a prize, so get working on those sponsors. A bottle of spirits, gift vouchers, etc are popular.

Wagering Money in Advance with Tote Betting

With the tote betting instead of on the night betting as normal this has become something that is also working better with money being pledged in advance.

If you are showing six races you could ask people to pledge the following:

  • £6 – this is £1 per race
  • £12 – this is £2 per race
  • £18 – this is £3 per race
  • £24 – this is £4 per race
  • £30 – this is £5 per race

Ask for an amount per person, for example, someone who has pledged £18 has £3 per race to spend as betting tickets will be sold at £1 each

They could buy three tickets on one particular horse or split it by backing 3 horse tickets at £1 each in the race, giving them three chances of winning in that race.

How To Calculate Prize Money Payouts

With regards to the payouts, you simply add up how much money you have had pledged in advance of the night and divide it the following way.

Take a percentage of this pledged money for your fundraiser, it is usually 50%.

So if it was £360 pledged in total, you would have £180 raised for your fundraiser and £180 for your payouts.

Divide this £180 by 6 if you are showing six races, this would give you £30 per race as a payout.

So if the winning horse had sold 10 tickets, then the winners would get £3 per winning ticket.

Should the winning horse had sold 5 tickets, then the winners would get £6 per winning ticket.

How Many People Should Run A Virtual Race Night?

We recommend at least two people taking control of the night, three people would split the division of time thusly:

Person One – Handles the Zoom side of the event

Person Two – Handles the betting side

(if applicable)

Person Three – Takes control of selling sponsors, owners, etc in advance

Race Night Downloads – Choose 6 or 8 from the 10 race package you buy

Due to the legislation fundraising race nights are run under, you have to have more races available than what you are going to show in the evening. This enables random selection and to have more than one race to choose from in the final race.

We supply 10 races in the download package. Most race nights show 8 races and it gives customers at least one race to experiment with on Zoom before the event.

Lockdown tip 1: During lockdown because of the time restrictions on Zoom etc people are finding just showing six races takes the pressure off timewise.

Lockdown tip 2: Person One who is handling the Zoom side of the race night, has at least a couple of races that will not be shown on the night to experiment with, meaning in advance of the race night  he can set up with someone else via Zoom, see and speak to each other.

Then click a key on his device and the other person sees and hears the race in full before going back to face to face conversation and talk about the race, this one of the fun parts of Zoom when everybody logged in gets to cheer or shed a tear talking about how their selection(s) faired.

Each race has its own file and can be shown in any order

Lockdown tip 3: Person Two, who because all the bets have been taken in advance needs to have noted down the names of people and how much money has been bet by that person on which numbered horses.
Virtual Race Night Downloads Horse Racing Fundraising Ideas Sports Clubs Sporting

The bookmaker needs only to look at the winning number in each race after the race ends, in this example number two has won the race and if you had £30 to divide amongst the winner ticket holders. There are five winning tickets – £30 divided by 5 = £6 per winning ticket

Harry Simmonds wins £6

Mary Jane wins £6

Sophie Turner wins £12

Auntie Shirley wins £6

All our races contain eight runners (horses, greyhounds, pig racing) all have a commentary by number (five leads from seven etc). Payout is to the winner only.

You can name the horses for fun yourself or use the novelty names we suggest as supplied in the download as both word and PDF documents.

Taking Bets – Most customers are telling us that having a race card with made up names helps people to decide which runners to back in each race and money pledged can either be achieved by phone, text or email.

Taking Payment – Money can be bank transferred or posted to the bookmaker. Payouts can be achieved in the same manner.

We are continually adding or amending these suggestions and if you think your event has any better ideas please get in touch.

Best wishes and stay safe,

Derek Wadeson, director of Race Night Services Ltd.