View Full Version : RE: Fundraiser Haunt; Have questions and need advise.

PumpkinMan Productions
01-10-2010, 03:33 PM
My name is Jennifer and I am new to the industry as far as business, however, I have been haunting for 12 years. I was approached to use our home haunt as a fundraiser for a local city scholarship fund for children. This has been in the works mostly verbal since spring 2009. Now, its time for contracts and I am looking for some answers from professionals to make sure I have myself covered and present a good image to the haunting industry.
I would like to now if I have the right steps in place and the right legal documents.
Is there anyone that can answer some questions?
IE: Insurance questions; Not reliable concerns; Non-disclosure questions; etc.

I would greatly appreciate the help.
PumpkinMan Productions Inc. :)

**Our haunt will be reproduced in the cities bldg location.
It is for the Park & Rec departments Youth Scholarship fund.
Our haunt will be in their bldg, they stated we will be covered on their insurance. Should I still get other insurance?

My email: pumpkinmanproductions@q.com

Front Yard Fright
01-10-2010, 04:09 PM
Hey Jen! Glad you finally joined the forums! :)

Kelly Anderson
01-10-2010, 04:34 PM
One thing to remember is just because you post something that says "not liable", you can still be held accountable if an issue is pushed.

As far as insurance goes, our charity's insurance covers our haunt so we dont actually have to purchase a seperate insurance plan. Plus we've found that it is cheaper to stay with the charitys insurance vs trying to get a seperate plan just for the haunt.

But having said that I would still consult with your homeowners ins. just to tell them whats up. They may have you purchases something extra, maybe not. Will likely depend on several factors; one being how big your home haunt is and another being how many people you expect to run through your haunt.

Definately good to start this early as your doing. Good luck!


Kelly Anderson
01-10-2010, 04:43 PM
One other thing to remember is when you take this step into charging to go through your haunt, is that the city will start sending building inspectors out to check out many things that could be of a safety consern to the staff as well as the guests. I would definately talk with them ahead of time to make sure you follow all the building and safety codes. Especially since your having this on your property vs the charitys. You want to make sure you cover yourself just incase you have a problem down the road.

01-10-2010, 07:01 PM
Some good advice here.

Something I would like to add is that you may want to check with local fire marshall/code enforcer to make sure you can even do this on your property. Could be a zoning issue or similar ordinance.

I made this same step last year, but we moved the haunt to a nearby city into a 13,000 sq ft building. The use of the building was donated and there was no cost to the charity for the permit (because it was for charity). Their existing insurance covered the event so I didn't have this to deal with.

100% of our proceeds went to the charity.

Front Yard Fright
01-10-2010, 07:16 PM
I think Jen forgot to mention that they have been talking about moving the haunt to a different building. I don't think they are planning on having it at their home if they were to do it for a charity.

PumpkinMan Productions
01-10-2010, 07:25 PM
I should clarify myself, our home haunt will be reproduced in the cities bldg location.

Rocky Mountain Terror
01-10-2010, 09:27 PM
Since we're talking charity haunts, what is the best business entity to form for this kind of haunt? An LLC or a non-profit corporation. I hear its a difficult process to form a non-profit corp.

Rocky Mountain Terror
01-10-2010, 09:35 PM
As well, what does it take to form a non-profit corp, what are its advantages, and how hard is it to transition to an LLC if you eventually decide to go for-profit with your haunt? There... I think that's everything. Lol.

Kelly Anderson
01-11-2010, 09:19 AM
Thats a great question. I hope someone that has actually followed through with it post about there experiences.

However I think that if you are just up and deciding to do a haunt and want to be affiliated with a non-profit organization, the easiest and least costly bet in my opinion would be to fully partner with that organization; in other words the haunt would belong to the charity, you would be building it and running it. But depending how you work things out ahead of time, the charity should be finacially backing the haunt and if they have a director and boad of directors willing to help out as much as they can, they may be able to get great discounts or perhaps donations for things such as general supplies and maybe a building to host your haunt.

If your intent is to go for-profit eventually and you are up front about it you will still likely have issues with the charitys willingness to invest funding. Im sure a charity would still be willing to partner with you in some shape or form but you would want to define both your and there roles and belongings so when you decide to go for-profit theres no issues.......which Im sure there will still be.

Myself and a couple of members of our charity have contemplated starting a seperate association to build funds to directly benefit our haunt do to some past lack of support from our charity. As our own association we would be able to more comfortably ask for donations and hold fundraisers of our own and have complete control over how we spend our money on our haunt. For that matter, we could start our own haunt to benefite a different charity if we wanted to. But we still wouldnt be able to start a for-profit haunt with that association cause we had been taking donations to benefit a charitys haunt. (Something to think about to)

If I was to do a haunt for charity and eventually turn for-profit I would partner up with several people that have the same goal as you with the same path to get there. Just pay for evrything yourselves. Maybe the charity would find a building for you for the first few years and you all can negotiate how much of the peoceeds get turned over to the charity. But then come a new year if you want to go totally on your own your free and clear to do so.


Raycliff Manor
01-12-2010, 07:49 AM
Hi Jennifer. Congratulations on this step in your haunts evolution! There are so many variables and unknowns that it's hard to give clear answers to your question and I'm not an attorney, so I'm not attempting to give legal advice, but here are my suggestions. Some things you need to determine are the following:

What business name or organization is going to be legally hosting the event? If this is being put on by your company/organization and you are just leasing the building and giving a portion of the proceeds to charity, this all needs to be clarified.

Does your business/organization have a business license and do you need one or are you operating under the city license and insurance? If they are hosting the event and you are just volunteering your props, time, etc., you shouldn't need additional insurance.

What happens if you have a disagreement about the theme, set design, makeup or any other aspect of operation? Who answers to whom and who has creative control? These are things you want to clarify in advance.

Who will be managing the staff and how will they be compensated?

Who will own the attraction, sets, props, name and rights to the website, images, props constructed, etc.? Will you have the option to move the attraction to a new location and select a different charity to support if you decide you want to move in a different direction later on?

I really recommend that you get a very specific and solid contract and you make sure that you are satisfied with all of the details of the contract. It should include answers to who is ultimately liable and who is responsible for providing the insurance.

Who is going to be responsible for contacting the local officials (fire and building) to determine that all their requirements are satisfied? This should definitely be one of the first things to take place and my guess would be that the city would handle this part.

Do you have a business plan for your haunt business/charity and where does this fit into your long term goals? If this supports your vision, goals and objectives, great!

Requesting that all this information is included will only show the city that you are professional, responsible and looking out for the best interest of all. It also eliminates the gray areas that can result in conflicts later on. I hope this helps!

Again, congratulations! This is very exciting and you should go into it proactively, but with a great sense of enthusiasm and gratitude for the opportunity! Having all the details covered up front will help you to have a sense of peace and confidence about moving forward and allow you to focus your energies on your passion while supporting a great cause! Happy Haunting to You Jennifer!