Step by step guide: race night
Looking for an entertaining event to gee up your
parents? Look no further! Race nights are an entertaining way to
get people together, promising a lively night of shouting as
participants cheer their horses over the finish line!
- Choose a date and time for your event, book your school hall
and send out a 'save the date' notification to parents. Recruit
volunteers - as you will require a compere on the night, plus
people to run the tote, serve food and drinks and sell raffle
tickets. Approach local businesses about sponsoring each round and
ask whether they can also donate prizes for the winners - explain
exactly what coverage they will get in return (i.e. announcements
by compere, details on race cards, coverage in letters home to
parents, etc). If running a raffle or auction, seek prizes for
these too. Decide whether you will serve food, and if this will be
prepared on the premises or delivered by a local restaurant. If
providing food, include this in the ticket price and invite people
to pre-order, noting any dietary requirements. Alternatively, ask
guests to bring their own food and provide extra rubbish bags.
Start selling tickets for £3-5 each, or up to £10 if providing
food. Encourage class reps to fill a table.
- Make sure you have a PA system, microphone, DVD
player/projector and screen, and confirm that you can borrow tables
and chairs from the school. Spread the word using posters (see tips
and advice), letters and social media. Order your race-night kit or
confirm the event details with your supplier.
- Finalise any refreshments and food that you're providing and
agree who will be in charge of buying the stock and serving on the
night. Any sale or supply of alcohol, even if included in the
ticket price, will require a TEN. Submit an application to your
local council at least ten working days before your event.
- Pick up your cash floats and arrive early to set up your venue.
If running a raffle or auction, encourage guests to buy tickets or
place bids as they arrive, then announce the winners at the end.
Once guests have arrived, get your compere to explain how the
evening will work. Present prizes and cash winnings at the end of
each race. At the end of the night, draw the raffle, if running
one, and encourage everyone to put betting slips and other rubbish
in the bins provided!
- Have a post-event debrief with your team to discuss what worked
well and what might need tweaking. Cultivate relationships with
sponsors by sending them thank-you letters noting how much the
event raised and how this has contributed towards your fundraising
Race night tips and advice
- Licensing: Race nights can be run for
charitable purposes, under the terms of non-commercial gaming. This
is where the selection of a 'horse' by a participant is totally
dependent on chance, and no 'odds' or 'form' are available to
assist selection. Such nights can be run without a licence, or any
other form of permission, providing the operation of the gaming
meets the following terms as set out by the Gambling Commission:
'Non-commercial prize gaming - The players must be told what good
cause will benefit from the profits of the gaming. The prizes must
be advertised in advance and must not depend on the number of
people playing or the stakes raised. In non-commercial prize
gaming, the "race" determines the individual winner or winners -
for example, those who have paid are allocated
or select a named
horse in the race. The winners are then awarded the prizes that had
been advertised in advance.' For more information, visit the Gambling Commission. If running a bar, remember
that you will need to submit a Temporary Event Notice to your local
council at least ten days prior to the event. This is a simple
process and, as the profit potential is huge, don't be put off by
any licensing requirements! For more information on licences, click here.
- Marketing: For a quick solution for promoting
your event, use the editable poster service provided by PTA Print
Shop. Simply choose a design and input your event details. 10 x
A3 posters cost just £9.95 (plus p&p).
- Boost profits: Increase revenue by serving
food such as fish and chips, curry or pizza - increase your ticket
price accordingly. Run a raffle on the night, securing prizes from
local sponsors. Or, if sourcing prize donations is too much work,
run a 100-square grid on the night, giving a percentage of the
takings as a prize (usually 25-50%). Read more about boosting
The above is intended as guidance only. We
recommend that you contact the relevant organisations with specific
reference to insurance, legal, health and safety and child
protection requirements. Community Inspired Ltd cannot be held
responsible for any decisions or actions taken by a PTA, based on
the guidance provided.
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