One of the most popular fundraisers we hear our 2-Day Walkers ask about is the restaurant fundraiser. You’ve seen them around town, maybe been to one for your child’s school. For 2-4 hours on a given night, a local restaurant donates a portion of every meal to a charitable cause, like your 2-Day Walker or Team Account.
So how do you go about setting one of these fundraisers up, and what can you do to make it a success? First and foremost, only approach a restaurant if you are a regular patron of that specific location. You are far more likely to successfully arrange a fundraiser if the business owner or manager recognizes you, or better yet, knows you by name. You may need proof that you are raising money for a non-profit. If so, simply call (404.531.4111) or email It’s The Journey (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we will provide a letter verifying that you are raising money on our behalf. And don’t be afraid to ask! Remember, this is a win-win situation- you bring the restaurant business, they help support a great cause (and you get that much closer to your 2-Day fundraising goal)!
Second, avoid the pitfalls of the pre-existing charity fundraising nights. Some large chains host “Give-Back” or “Charity Nights” once a week. The charity representative (in this case, you) might be required to bring in a minimum number of diners in during the course of your event- ie. generate sales for the business. While this is not a bad thing in and of itself, make sure you know all details of the arrangement- whether or not guests need to make known to the cashier or server that they are “with” or “supporting” the 2-Day Walk, whether or not they need to hand in a coupon/voucher/flier in order to be counted, etc. Ask these questions ahead of time to avoid disappointment and frustration on the night of your event!
Publicize, promote, and invite! Use Facebook, email,
fliers, and phone calls to spread the word about your event, and
to get your friends, coworkers, and family to plan ahead and make arrangements to turn out for your fundraiser. Two weeks out is generally the perfect time to promote a restaurant fundraiser. Enough time for people to plan ahead, but not so far out that they forget about it.
We asked 2-Day Walker Kate Daniels, a veteran at restaurant fundraising, to share some of her best practices! Kate is a member of 2-Day Walking Team Breasta Fiesta, and they hold a restaurant fundraiser every year at The Wing Café.
Here are Kate’s top 3 tips:
- Don’t be afraid to ask. If you enjoy eating at a restaurant and the location is well attended, you have nothing to lose and great potential to gain. The worst they can say is no and you move on to another opportunity.
- Ask the establishment if they will donate a portion of at least ten percent or more on a weekend night when they are most busy. Be sure to get a large group from your team, family, and friends to come out and support the event. That way, you show that you are invested in helping patronize their business. They will be more likely to renew their partnership with you and this provides an opportunity to grow the fundraiser the following year.
- Design donation tickets and ask if the restaurant would be willing to sell them. These can be simple ¼ sheets of paper that servers will present to customers with the bill for the meal. Put a brief description of what you’re fundraising for, and list various donation amounts that they can check off. Some restaurants like to display the donation tickets throughout the night or over the course of a weekend (however long the event lasts) as a visual of how much support they’ve provided for the charity. It publicizes our cause and makes them look good. Ultimately donation tickets raise the most money.
Set your expectations for success appropriately. The standard restaurant fundraiser (10%-15% of sales in a 2-4hr period) *typically* earns somewhere around $150-$200 (that’s a nice sized donation)! But remember, if you cultivate the relationship properly, you could be laying the groundwork for an annual event that grows into something even more substantial. The Wing Cafe fundraiser put together by Kate Daniels and Breasta Fiesta raised $4,000 in 2015 and has raised $8,937 since 2012. This year, their event takes place on June 11th, and they have set their target at $10,000!
2-Day Walking Team The Mad Girls have also had incredible success with their partnership with The Mad Italian. Five years ago, Charly Olson (a teenage 2-Day Walker at the time), asked the Mad Italian to do a give-back night. The relationship has grown and blossomed over the years, and now the entire Mad Italian staff gets involved over the course of the months of May and June. The Mad Girls have raised $30,000 through this fundraiser over the course of 4 years, and are hoping to raise $10,000 over the course of their weekend event at the restaurant this year on Saturday, June 4th- Sunday, June 5th!
If you have any questions or need help getting started, feel free to email Whitney at email@example.com. Good luck and we look forward to hearing about your event!!