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If you haven’t attended a charity race night before and you are wondering how to go about organising one, this guide is meant for you.

Alternatively, if you need a reminder, or are just looking for different ways of maximising your fundraising, then a read of this guide is also a must.

First of all, let’s get the legalities out of the way…

Is a race night legal? YES

Race Nights are covered by The Gambling Commission Act, which clearly states that you cannot hold the race night for personal gain; all monies raised must be given to a worthwhile cause e.g. charity, school, football team, sick child etc. The list is endless!

You are allowed to deduct any reasonable expenses that you have incurred whilst organising the event. This includes the cost of hiring the venue, prizes, and any race night products that you have purchased from our website.

No part of the race (e.g. the form guide) can be shown until after all the bets have been placed on that race.

You cannot provide the odds for each horse.

Okay, let’s begin…

You have decided to raise funds for a worthy cause and have heard about race nights. They are the easiest and most economical way of raising money, provided you follow our beginners’ guide.

In some cases we have dealt with organisations who have been delighted to raise £500 and others that have been disappointed by only raising £2,000. It is all about your needs and how much effort you are prepared to give.

Race nights are an ideal way to maximise your fundraising revenue. Not only can you raise money on the night of the race night itself, but you can also raise money prior to the event as well.

Entrance Tickets

How much you charge depends on your audience and your needs. An admission fee of £3 is normal. However, if you want to add a buffet/hot pot, you can charge £5 to reflect the extra expense.

If you have held other events in the past, you will know that not everyone who buys an entrance ticket actually attends the race night. Some people simply pay for tickets as a means of making their donation to your event, with no intention of turning up. Please bear this in mind when setting the price of your entrance tickets, as reasonably priced tickets are an ideal way to raise extra funds.

Sponsorship

You can approach local businesses, as well as national companies and individuals, to see if they would like to sponsor a race (just like they do at a real racecourse!)

Example

Race One could be The Rowlands Newsagents Chase. Mr & Mrs Rowland have kindly donated £25 to have the race named after their business. They get a “thankyou” in the race card, as well as a microphone announcement, promoting their business.

You can charge as much as you like for race sponsorship. Charging £25 per sponsor over eight races would raise £200.

Horse Owners

Let’s go through this one step at a time, as there are two ways of going about it. You can simply use the race card we provide and use the horses’ names we have chosen.

Alternatively, because all of our races contain a commentary by number (e.g. “Number 5 leads from Number 7, with Number 1 closing the gap, in third place”), you can ask the people who are paying to be an owner to think of a humorous name for their horse. When done this way, selling owners becomes a wonderful way to raise funds and have a good laugh at the same time.

Race One
Sponsored by Rowlands the Newsagent

Owners
Just like selling sponsorship, the idea is to raise funds by selling the owners at an agreed price. If you sell all eight owners in the race at £5 each, you will raise £40. Doing this over eight races would raise £320.

The only drawback is that each race will have a winning owner, and you will need to provide a prize. Ideally, you should try to get the prizes donated by local businesses in return for advertising support

Jockeys

Selling jockeys is similar to selling owners. However, the cost of being a jockey is much cheaper, so as to encourage paupers to take part. Usually, it costs £3 to be a jockey.

Race One
Sponsored by Rowlands the Newsagent

Jockeys
Once again, you will need to provide prizes for the winning jockeys. Getting the prizes donated keeps more cash in your fundraising pot.
Race Card Advertising

As well as printing the names of sponsors, owners and jockeys in your race card, you can also encourage businesses to pay for an advert.

On the CD-ROM we supply with your pack, there are templates to help you produce a simple race card.T
Most organisations usually have someone who is good on a computer, who would take great pleasure in designing a race card. Most home printers can now produce excellent results, or – for a more professional finish – ask a local printer to print the race card in exchange for a free advert.

If you get 10 adverts – at £15 each – you will raise £150.

PLEASE REMEMBER…

You do not have to partake in all of the above. Some organisations are merely happy to hold a race night as a social event and not have any pre-night fundraising; they just hand over the profits from the betting to the fundraising cause. As stated previously, it is more a case of what you need – and what you are prepared to do – to maximise your fundraising pot.

In summary, the easiest and most popular way to raise funds is by selling owners and jockeys in the weeks leading up to your event. However, race sponsorship & advertising can also bring in extra revenue.

On-the-Night Fundraising

The most effective way to raise funds on the night of your event is via the tote betting desk. Unfortunately, however, this is the biggest cause for concern for beginners and novices alike.

PLEASE NOTE

You can’t lose money on the betting during a charity race night. You only pay out half of the money you bring in; the rest of the money goes into the charity fundraising pot. For example, if you take £100 worth of bets, the £100 is split in half. £50 goes into the fundraising pot, and the other £50 is divided amongst the people who placed a bet on the winning horse.

On most race nights, the betting tickets are sold for £1 each; customers can place as many bets, on as many horses as they like. Two tickets would cost £2, and five tickets would cost £5 etc. For example, if someone bet £2 on Horse 3, and £5 on Horse 6, it would cost £7.</