Chili Cook Off Used for Adoption Fundraising

Posted by Gladney Intern on 11/11/18 12:30 AM

The process of adopting is stressful. However, footing the cost shouldn’t be. One fun way to raise money for your adoption fee is to put together a chili cook-off. A chili cook-off is a popular fundraiser, especially if you hold it in the fall around football season. This is a great way to raise money for adoption as it brings the community together and involves food. And I mean, who doesn’t love good company and excellent food?! Here are some tips in planning your cook-off:

  1. Put together a team to help you. You can’t do this all by yourself. Putting together a group of people to help you will ease your stress and will ensure that the event runs smoothly. You are the leader of the group, so make sure to assign different responsibilities to everyone. Have someone take notes on everything that has gotten done and needs to be done. Have another person be in charge of advertising. This person will be responsible to making flyers, creating social media pages dedicated to the event, and reaching out to newspapers and town officials in order to help promote the event. The flyer or advertisement should include the date, time, location, and cause of the event. Have another person be in charge of the donations. This person will be responsible for setting up a donation page prior to the event and collecting/handling the money on the night of the event. Have another person be responsible for acquiring all the supplies you will need. This might include tables, a tent, chairs, utensils, trash cans, cooking areas, a dance floor, and speakers or a band. Make sure to hold meetings leading up to the event to check in with your team and the progress that has been made.
  2. Research and choose a location. Some places might offer you the place for free, but most places require a rental fee for using the space. Look at local churches, parks, parking lots, and gyms to hold the event. Also consider the amount of people you think will attend and plan accordingly.
  3. Choose a group of people to judge the chili. These people should have some experience in baking/cooking.
  4. Adoption FundraisingCollect entries/tickets. After you’ve advertised the event, being sure to include an email or phone number that people can get back to you with, entries should start coming in from people who want to compete in the cook-off. Make sure to tell applicants to have a clear copy of their recipe for the judges, to arrive at least two hours before the event starts, and to bring their own ingredients/any additional supplies they will need. You will provide basic supplies such as hot plates, tables, and spoons. Also be sure to offer prize money for first, second, and third place. People that are competing should pay an entry fee of around twenty bucks, but people that are just attending should only pay around five dollars.
  5. Set the event up. Gather the team you’ve assembled as will as volunteers to help set up the tables, chairs, cooking stations, dance floor, drinks table, and dessert table. Make sure that there is a host (most likely you) to give the audience updates about the cook-off and how much money is being raised so far.
  6. Follow up. Make sure to send out an email and/or post on social media with photos from the event and how much money was raised overall and tell your adoption story again. Thank the guests for their support in making it a fun and successful night!

Now you can support other fundraisers you see, provide support to another family trying to fund-raise, and share about your fundraising experience with us! Email your story (and photos too!) to

If you have questions about fundraising or other financial aspects of adoption, please reach out to our Senior Vice President of Finance.


unsplash-logoPratiksha Mohanty


Topics: Adoption Finance

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