Fundraising Tip #7: Restaurant nights

Written by on June 23, 2010 at 12:37 pm

Restaurants like Friendly's, Papa Gino's, and Subway will donate a portion of their sales for a night to help support your cause. Here's how.

In this challenging economy, one expense many people eliminate is eating out. But what if they knew they could enjoy this luxury while benefitting a good cause? You can give them this opportunity courtesy the many restaurants that offer fundraising programs.

These programs usually require you to select a specific restaurant chain, location, and date, and then promote the event to your friends and family. When they eat at that restaurant on your designated date, a certain percentage of their bill will be donated to your cause. It's a win-win!


Fundraising with food can be fun!

Sometimes your diners will need to turn in a specific coupon with their bill to mark it as being a part of your fundraiser. Other restaurants require no such paperwork and simply donate a portion of all of their patrons' purchases to the cause. Though the latter method is sometimes a lower percentage, the greater number of patrons that are eligible for the promotion makes it worthwhile. It also dramatically reduces your workload, as you no longer need to distribute a coupon.

If you do go the coupon route, know that they can not be handed out on or near the premises of the restaurant. Instead, try photocopying it and handing it out to all your friends, as well as leaving piles of coupons in highly trafficked areas, such as a bank, church, or city hall (with permission, of course!). Scan the coupon into your computer so you can email it to your friends. Also be sure to submit your fundraising night to our event calendar so that we can post the coupon for anyone to download. One thing you should not do is spend more money advertising the event than you expect to make!

To find out if a restaurant offers such a program, visit their Web site and look for a link to "Community", "Philanthropy", or "Fundraising" (if you're using Google, note that some sites spell it as two words — "Fund Raising"). To get you started, here are some restaurants that will donate to your cause:

Some restaurants don't offer these programs but will donate gift certificates for you to use as raffles:

One you've scheduled your event, be sure to be there that night to greet your supporters. You may want to further motivate them to come out to eat by offering raffle prizes to anyone who shows up!

Several MS Challenge Walk teams are holding fundraisers this summer, including the 'Soopah Wicked Wahkahs and Dad's Team. If you need an example of how to go about running these events, look to these teams that have blazed a trail!

Ken joined the MS Challenge Walk in 2005, more than a decade after his mother was diagnosed. After walking for three years and 150 miles, he switched to the support crew and now rides his bicycle along the trail, providing whatever encouragement (and snacks!) he can to the 600 walkers. He is also an alumnus of the event's steering committee and is this site's webmaster.

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