kids on the cat walk

Step by step guide: race night

Race nights are a fun way to get people together and raise money. All you need is a large screen on which you can show a race - anything from greyhounds to motorbikes!

Initial costs and charging policy

  • There are companies who will organise a race night for you. Many offer inclusive packages from around £200, with tickets, film equipment and the race footage along with a technical person to run the proceedings.

  • Generic DIY race night packs are available to buy online for less than £50.

  • Funds can be raised by charging for admission, taking money on the tote and from a raffle held on the night.

What you'll need

  • A cash float

  • A printed race card listing details of all races, including owners and race sponsors

  • A projection system

  • Decorations for the venue

  • Rolls of coloured tickets

  • Races on video, DVD or film

  • Publicity materials

  • Sound and lighting systems

  • At the event, you will need a table and helpers to take bets and pay out winnings. They don't have to be Einsteins - a calculator or Excel spreadsheet is all that's needed!

  • Raffle prizes

Go glamorous

  • Making this a fairly glitzy event can add to the excitement and desire to participate.

  • Throw in dinner and a bar. This will enable you to charge for entry to the event in addition to 'betting' on the races and you can raise money by selling food and drink. For information on Temporary Event Notices and other licence requirements, click here. 

Things to create excitement

  • In addition to offering horses for 'betting' in each race, give participants the opportunity to 'buy' horses in advance and become their owner for the night. They can then share in the prizes if their horse is successful.

  • For the final race of the night auction off each of the horses. Get a compere to create some excitement. By this stage of the night the audience should be in a 'relaxed' and generous mood!

  • Persuade local businesses to sponsor the races or donate prizes. Sponsors can be credited in any programme produced for the event. This too can be sold and advertising in the programme can also generate additional revenue.

Publicise your event

  • Put up posters in the school and the local community, place articles and advertisements in local newspapers, school/PTA newsletters and websites.

Case study

Gerard Hurst, the Treasurer for the Friends of Millbrook Primary School, Wigan, told us: 'We were stunned by the success of our race night. 80 people attended and we made around £700 before expenses. It was very entertaining too. By the time we came to the final race we were auctioning off horses for £50 each. With an enthusiastic team organising it, it was a great night out that raised a lot of funds for relatively little effort.'

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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