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How To Organize a Charity Bar Crawl

Have a fun night out while giving back to your community by organizing a Charity Bar Crawl! Here are some great tips to have your bar crawl be a success.

Love to drink with your friends? Check. Love to get involved with your community? Check. Love to raise money for a good cause? Check! You are all set to organize a charity bar crawl. How do you even get started with such a monumental undertaking?

Think of the best and most meaningful benefit you've ever been to and write down all the elements that made it great. A charity bar crawl is all about having fun while contributing to those less fortunate. Set a goal and carry donation buckets from bar to bar to help reach it. Follow these steps and you'll be a fundraiser planning pro with some really good karma to boot.

Step 1: Contact your local newspaper

The best way to convince your friends and family and any other potential donators that this charity bar crawl is legitimate is to advertise it in your local paper.Write a letter to the "community" or "local" section editor of your newspaper about a month before the date of your charity event. Here are the things you should stress in your letter:

You've chosen a local charity. Provide any information you have regarding your charity including phone numbers and web sites in case the editor wants to do independent research. For example, if you've chosen to raise money for a local child going through chemotherapy, you can provide the editor with a photo of the child, his/her family's story and a web site that explains the type of cancer.

All proceeds will go directly to the charity in need. Remind the editor that you will not gain anything personally from organizing this charity and neither will the participants. This is strictly for do-gooders hoping to make a difference.

Offer to do a 700 - 1,000 word mock write-up. Show the editor how important this is to you by offering to take a stab at the story yourself. Don't be surprised when some of your very own well-written paragraphs end up published in the paper.

Ask for coverage. Encourage the editor to send the newspaper's photographer to your actual charity event. If the editor sees a wonderful photo op, which will ultimately benefit the paper and the community, he will be more likely to cover your story. Give the photographer a complimentary t-shirt!

Step 2: Plan Your Bar Route

Chances are, you'll be on foot during your entire charity bar crawl - so you need to be strategic in planning which bars to hit and which bars to skip.Choose a strip in town that has at least 12 bars within in a five mile radius. The point of a bar crawl is to go to as many bars as possible while still remaining on your feet. For a charity bar crawl, you should plan on going to between 7 and 10 bars.

Make a list of the bars you'd like to hit on your charity bar crawl and double check their hours of business and drink pricing. You don't want to choose a bar with overpriced cocktails for your charity crawl!

C all each bar ahead of time. Let them know that you'll be bringing in a large group and ask if they are willing to give you any drink specials. Most bars will oblige by only charging happy hour prices or throwing in some free appetizers. Your generosity will be contagious!

Designate someone to oversee the donation buckets. In order to avoid your donation buckets getting misplaced, put them on the top of each bar and designate a responsible person to be in charge of the buckets. With permission from the bar manager, ask the band/DJ to make an announcement that donation buckets are on the bar for people to donate.

All-Day-Drinking Tips:

Stick with beer. Do not, I repeat, do not take shots! If you consume one beer at each bar, you'll probably make it to the end of the bar crawl. Remember - this is not a drinking race so don't feel obligated to order a drink at every single bar. It's okay to order a soda or water at every other.

Don't forget to eat! Bring some snacks, like pretzels, in your bag to munch on throughout the day. You should also plan for finger food to be served at a minimum of two bars to keep your do-gooding friends from becoming grumpy.

Use the buddy system. Pair up with a good friend you trust. Make a deal that you will look after each other, give a warning when one of you has had too much and take a cab home together.

Step 3: Decorate the Donation Buckets

Since the whole point of organizing a charity bar crawl is to for a cause, it's imperative that you have flashy donation buckets that will make people want to open their wallets. Making a donation buckets is all about utilizing resources you already have and being creative.

Choose a sturdy container. Any lidded container that is large and durable enough to hold a lot of coins and bills will work.

Cut a money slit into the lid of your donation bucket. Make sure it is wide enough that a few folded dollar bills can slide in but make sure it is not so wide that money falls out.

Cover your donation bucket in construction paper to make it stand out. .

Include the name of the charity. Using markers, stamps, stickers or anything else, write about your charity on the bucket. Write in large letters so that potential donators don't have to ask too many questions. The bucket should speak for itself!

Decorate for the cause. If you've chosen a local person or family, provide their photo on the lid of the bucket. Putting a face to the charity makes it more personal and people will be more likely to donate.

Add some flair. Glitter,paint and other nick-knacks can only add to your donation bucket - just don't let the cause get lost.

Step 4: Matching T-shirts

Order matching t-shirts for everyone involved in raising money for your charity bar crawl. When a large group of people shows up to a bar (or anywhere for that matter) wearing brightly colored matching t-shirts, people notice them! Matching t-shirts also form a sense of unity because it shows you are all in this for the same reason: a fundraiser near and dear to the community.

Make sure to display the charity itself in large letters on your t-shirts. T-shirts also provide the perfect opportunity to thank all those that helped make your charity bar crawl a success. If a local sub shop donated bottles of soda for your pre-party, provide their logo on the sleeve of your t-shirt for some free advertising.

Save money by ordering in bulk. For professional-looking and affordable t-shirts, it's best to order them in bulk through a screen printing web site.

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Meet our Writer
Jennifer Geddes
Celebrations Writer

Jennifer Kelly Geddes has hosted Christmas cookie swaps, New Year's open houses, Thanksgiving for 22, and all manner of dinner parties in her Manhattan and Ghent, NY homes.

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