At this time of year, groups are often looking for ways to do a little more fundraising before school wraps up, but they don’t have the bandwidth to start planning a big-production event. One option is to hold a few restaurant fundraisers this spring.
Our sister site, Restaurant-Fundraisers.com, has resources and planning tips that will come in handy for these events. While restaurant fundraisers (or spirit nights) aren’t huge moneymakers, they can be planned quickly and don’t require lots of volunteer time. Depending on the size of your community, you could make a few hundred dollars per event. One PTA we spoke to made $6,000 last year with monthly events.
To get started, go to the Restaurant-Fundraisers.com guide, How To Run a Successful Restaurant Night, where you’ll find a step-by-step plan covering everything from how to contact local restaurants to ideas for promoting your event.
The site has a listings section of 50 restaurants that offer fundraising programs. There’s a variety of restaurant types so your group will likely find something that your school community would like. The listings include links to many national chains, like Chuck E. Cheese, Chick-fil-A, and Chipotle, where you will find details on their programs. Many of the programs are similar, in that they involve you working with a restaurant to host an evening (or other block of time) for your community. The restaurant, in turn, donates to your group a percentage of sales that came in from your families and friends.
You’ll see differences in how restaurants calculate what they’ll donate. Most will donate somewhere between 10 and 20 percent of your group’s total sales. Others donate a percentage of total sales. Also, some restaurants will offer more help than others with promotions, with some even sending mascots to your school.
Restaurant-Fundraisers.com also has a tools section that includes free flyers you can download and customize for your group, clip art that you can use in your emails or on Facebook, and a template to use when writing a thank-you note after your event.