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Restaurant fundraisers 101: How they work and why people love them

A fundraising billboard for "Food/Co." reading "Eat Good. Do Good."

Stepping into your favorite burrito spot, you’re greeted with the usual line of customers waiting to order. Something’s different about the crowd this evening, though – there’s an excited energy in the air. You notice them holding flyers and showing them to the cashier, who nods approvingly.

“What’s going on tonight?” you ask the cashier once your burrito is wrapped.

“Tonight’s the fundraiser for West High Volleyball – they’re going to State!”

“No way,” you reply, “I went to West – could I add my order to their fundraiser?”

Have you ever had this experience? If you’ve been in a fast-casual restaurant lately, you may be wondering how restaurant fundraisers work and why they’re growing so much in popularity. In this post, we’ll explain what goes into hosting a restaurant fundraiser and why restaurants and organizations can’t get enough.

Three simple steps to hosting a restaurant fundraiser:

Step 1: Plan

Conceptually, restaurant fundraisers are pretty simple. A restaurant agrees to host an organization on a certain date and time. The organization then brings their supporters on that night and purchases food in exchange for a share of the profit, usually anywhere from 10-30%. Particulars such as tax information and an expected number of guests will have been shared with the restaurant a few weeks to a few months in advance with the restaurant team.

If the restaurant is using a fundraiser portal like Force4Good, the entire application process will be handled quickly and seamlessly online – everything from choosing a date, to verifying tax information, to downloading customized marketing materials will all be handled in minutes online. 

Once your fundraiser is fully scheduled, you’ll spend the next few weeks advertising the event to your supporters via social media, in meetings, through email lists, and however else you can get the word out. The key to a successful fundraiser: Inviting your community. The more people who attend your fundraiser, the more money you’ll raise. So be sure to promote your event!

A person sitting and holding a smartphone, the screen shows a fundraiser advertisement and reads "Karma Tastes Good".

Force4Good makes marketing a breeze, featuring a dedicated webpage for each event that includes customized marketing materials in different formats that can be downloaded and shared with your supporters. 

Step 2: Eat

This is the fun part: you eat! Attend the fundraiser with your supporters and have dinner at a restaurant you love. Get the extra toppings or queso tonight – it’s for a great cause.

The Force4Good portal utilizes customized promo codes, allowing guests using online ordering or delivery to participate. Some restaurants on the Force4Good platform even credit orders placed at completely different locations. It’s pretty cool.

Step 3: Benefit

Alright, step 3 is also pretty fun – your organization gets paid its share from the fundraiser! The timeline to receive your results and the funds will vary from restaurant to restaurant, but you’ll typically need to sign a final donation letter acknowledging the results before the restaurant will issue a check.

On the Force4Good platform, you’ll typically receive your fundraiser results the very next morning after the event with a breakdown of how much you’ll receive and a link to sign for the check. You’ll be able to confirm last-minute check details and the mailing address again, too. Once this step is completed, it’s usually a two-week turnaround to receive your fundraiser check (this may vary from restaurant to restaurant).

Curious how much money the average fundraiser brings in? Organizations participating in a Force4Good fundraiser receive an average donation size of $150, though we’ve repeatedly seen groups raise over $1,000 in a single event. Remember: the more supporters who attend the fundraiser, the higher the donation.

Fundraisers help everyone win.

So you can see, for good reason, restaurant fundraising programs are becoming more popular with restaurant brands and organizations as a relatively simple yet highly effective method for organizations like sports teams, schools, and nonprofits to raise money for their causes. And restaurants love them too! Fundraisers are a win-win for all parties: 

    • Organizations love the scheduling and planning simplicity, exciting give-back percentages, and accessibility that comes with restaurant fundraisers.
    • Restaurants tend to be very community-minded and fundraisers give them an opportunity to give back to causes their community cares about. The increase in sales and new customers are enticing, too!
    • The community appreciates the opportunity to gather and enjoy a meal together. Giving back just feels good.
Restaurants using the Force4Good portal appreciate that fundraisers using our software require 97% less effort to administer than without fundraiser software. 

Why are restaurant fundraisers quickly becoming everyone’s favorite fundraiser event? Because everyone eats. And thanks to platforms like Force4Good, there’s no more:

  • late nights designing flyers in Microsoft Word
  • white-knuckled drives to the bake sale hoping your cupcakes don’t tip over
  • feeling obligated to buy your kids’ entire chocolate bar inventory

Have you been looking for a way to fundraise for your community? Find a Force4Good partner restaurant and get ready to make some impact:

A listing of all participating Force4Good restaurants

Restaurants: We’d love to share how Force4Good can be an incredible growth platform for your chain. Schedule a no-pressure demo or contact us to get the conversation started.