Election Day Fundraising

Piggybacking on an established event such as Election Day (May 18) is an easy way for Parkinson’s WA community fundraisers to raise funds and spread awareness of Parkinson’s.

Compulsory voting, which draws large crowds of hungry constituents craving a reward for performing their civic duty, means hosting an election day sausage sizzle is a no brainer for community fundraisers.

You don’t have to sell only sausages to raise funds. There are multiple ways you can cash in on Election Day.

Here are some tips to ensure your Parkinson’s WA fundraiser goes off without a hitch. 

Find a venue

A list of polling places will be available on the Australian Electoral Commission’s website. You’ll need to check with the organisation or school hosting the Election Day booth to get permission to run a food stall. Each council jurisdiction has different rules and regulations about whether you need a license to hold a sausage sizzle or cake stall, so you’ll need to check with them too.

Expand your market (diversify)

You can sell add-on’s like drinks and sweets, or jams, relishes and sauces, which can be made in advance and stored before the day. You could even sell coffee if you have a machine.

Get the goods

Figure out what you’re going to sell and how much of it you’d like to sell. If you are holding a sausage sizzle, the Election Sausage Sizzle website has a fundraising calculator and checklist to help you calculate costs.

Get sponsored

If you can get your base product (the sausages or bread, say) for free or at a reduced price, you’ll cut down on costs and increase your profit margin. Perhaps one of your sponsors is the local butcher or supermarket. Or maybe they (or one of your members) can provide some of the equipment you’ll need to set up the stall, such as a BBQ, furniture, kitchen utensils etc. Ask them what they’d be willing to donate or offer at a reduced price for your stall.

Recruit volunteers

If you can’t get the product for free, the next best bet is to make it yourself (or get your volunteers to make it). Ask your volunteers and members to donate baked goods such as cakes, slices and cookies to sell on the day.

You’ll also need to recruit people to work at the stall on the day. Just remember to get in early when recruiting volunteers, especially if you’re asking them to make something.

Be safe

The Food Standards Australia and New Zealand website has helpful information on safe practice for sausage sizzles and barbeques, as well as general food handling information for charities and community groups. You’ll need to check the food handling regulations regarding labelling and handling of food for your area.

Note: you’ll need to list all the ingredients used in the cooking, so produce labels that the various cooks can fill in beforehand (add a donation link to your label to increase your fundraising potential!).

Add value

Use the opportunity to sell what else you’ve got. Place a Parkinson’s WA collection tin next to the cash box or sauce station to encourage customers to deposit spare change. Contact us for how to get a tin. You could also sell raffle tickets, encourage people to sign up for memberships, build a volunteering list, etc.

Be inclusive

It’s not a requirement to offer vegetarian and vegan options, but it might make someone’s day if you do, and it could even mean extra money for your group, depending on the region in which your stall is located. Same goes for gluten and peanut-free options if you’re selling baked goods.

Think about novelty value, also. In recent elections particular voting venues have gone viral on social media as people spread the word about the best places to get a bite to eat while they vote.

Tell people about it

Make sure to use the #democracysausage hashtag on Twitter to help voters know where you’re going to be if you’re hosting a sausage sizzle or cake stall.

You can drop flyers in the mailboxes of people in the local area prior to the day to ensure they’ll bring cash with them, or post on your social media platforms.

Get those people to tell people about it

Encourage customers to tweet about your stall. Try to get your organisation, cause or stall trending on Twitter by telling customers what you want them to tag you with on Twitter. This is easily done by writing it on the price list, menu or ingredients tag.

Get the local celeb to host the barby

If you’re lucky enough to know one, ask a local celeb to staff the stall (and/or tweet about it before an during the event) to raise the profile of your fundraiser. Chances are they’d be happy to pitch in for an hour or so to boost their public profile.

Raise funds

It should go without saying, but you’d be surprised at the number of fundraisers that fail to make a profit after accounting for expenses. It’s up to you to decide how much to ask for the products you are selling but make sure you more than cover your costs.

Think about how much of a mark up you can add on certain products. For example, the addition of avocado to a sausage sizzle gives it instant gourmet status and a gourmet price tag to match.

Find out about the Parkinson’s WA fundraising policy

Make sure you contact Parkinson’s WA to find out about our community fundraising requirements and policy.

Advocate for our cause

Embrace your focus of raising awareness and funds for Parkinson’s WA. You can’t advocate for a particular party or candidate, but Election Day is as good a day to communicate your position on Parkinson’s.

Ask them to give more by donating to our HBF Run for a Reason campaign

Run for a Reason is on Sunday morning. It’s not too late to donate. Encourage people to visit the website and find our team – Parkinson’s Champions. Donations are accepted until the middle of June.


Acknowledgement – our thanks to the Funding Centre for providing the hints and tips we have used in this guide.