How To Host a Murder Mystery Fundraiser

A lot of organizations and civic-oriented groups usually host an event to raise funds for a worthy cause. It can be a dinner affair in a popular hotel or restaurant. It can be a bidding session for collectible items. Some produce a play, others host fashion shows or produce concerts. However a murder mystery fundraiser is a unique way to raise funds. It is also gaining wider acceptance as more people cannot resist the feeling of being involved in an intrigue and get the chance to solve the mystery. Here are some ideas.

  • Determine the target amount that you want to raise. The number of people that you will invite will depend on this as well as the amount you will charge the guests.     Draw out a production plan that includes your budget for invitations, venue, food, prizes, and staff wages and collateral materials.
  • Locate a possible venue. If you are expecting a large number of guests you should look into hosting the fundraiser in a hotel ballroom. For smaller groups look at the possibility of renting a community center or someone’ house. If the weather is good, you may want to hold the fundraiser in your local school grounds, cordoning off the actual area that you will need. 
  • Decide on the murder mystery theme. There are numerous themes that will provide your guests with the chance to dress up in period costumes. Murder at the Four Deuces is a gangster murder mystery set in the 1920s. You may want to take the murder mystery further with The Immortal Murders suitable for Halloween. The Santa Clause and A Killer Reunion are also very popular themes.
  • Purchase the murder mystery kit. The kit contains instructions on how to play the game, character backgrounds, character confidential booklets, invitations, all the evidences and accessories, solution to the game as well as the certificates to be awarded to the winners.  Some kit suppliers also include costume suggestions to help the guests dress as appropriately as possible.
  • Send out the invitations. Include an RSVP in your invitation so that you can have a full complement. There is usually a sixty-six per cent success rate for this type of event, so you have to get the RSVPs early to send out invitation to other people to complete your roster. If there are thirty characters in the murder mystery game, the rest will have to be guests who will attempt to solve the mystery. Identify and assign characters as you receive their confirmation. Include costume suggestions with the invitation to help those who want to attend to look for suitable costumes. Indicate in the invitation that this is a fund raising event and that they will be charge an entrance fee to participate. You may also include a voluntary donation plea if the situation warrants it.
  • Follow the instructions given in the kit on how to set up the stage for the game and how and where to place all the evidence. During the day of the event, you will be announcing the rules of the game, how this is going to be played and the amount of time they have to find the killer. The character confidential booklet should be given to the characters. This contains a complete description of their characters and what they have to do during the game.

During the entire evening it is your responsibility to control the proceedings. You should have a backup plan when the sleuthing takes too long. It can be dropping hints to allow the game move faster. Best of all ensure that everyone is enjoying the party as well as the game.


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