Choosing a restaurant fundraising portal that fits your brand
As more and more brands are discovering, fundraisers are fantastic events to have in your restaurant. They boost sales, attract new customers, create positive brand impressions, and best of all, they help deserving organizations in your community – what’s not to love?
The one drawback to these wonderful community events is that they can be difficult for a busy restaurant to facilitate manually. From scheduling to creating marketing materials, collecting accurate tax information and tallying sales, there’s a ton for a restaurant manager or marketing team to take on for a single fundraiser, much less multiple events per month.
However, with the rise of , the days of busy fundraiser admin are over. Restaurant teams and field marketing managers are tapping into these powerful platforms to streamline and automate their fundraising programs, allowing them to make fundraisers easier than ever to plan and execute with a fraction of the hours and effort of the old days. One famous Mexican burrito chain increased their amount of fundraisers held per year from a few thousand to over 50,000+ unique events per year using a fundraising portal similar to Force4Good.
If you’re leveling up your brand’s fundraising program, you may be wondering what to look for when choosing a restaurant fundraising portal. We’ll break down the must-haves that should top your list.
Feature #1: Intelligent calendar and scheduling functions
Scheduling (and rescheduling) fundraisers isn’t very complicated if you only host one event per month – but if you host multiple events per week, it becomes tedious quickly. Fundraiser portals like Force4Good feature intelligent calendar and scheduling functions that allow restaurants to set their own availability, block unavailable days, and make updates instantly that reflect on the applicant’s side. Rescheduling events and adding or removing restaurants is also a breeze in the admin portal. If a partner modifies their fundraising date or time, restaurants are kept in the loop via automatic emails and through the Force4Good fundraising portal.
Force4Good has the ability to host group, regional, or national fundraisers too, giving brands the ability to host large-scale events – game changer!
Feature #2: Streamlined fundraiser application and request management
The next piece to look for in a fundraising portal is how they handle fundraiser applications and how requests are reviewed by the restaurant or field marketing team. Is the application thoughtfully laid out and does it capture critical information, such as group size, the type of organization they are, and their tax classification (more on that in a moment)?
Once a request has been submitted, top fundraising portals like Force4Good feature admin queues that allow team members to review all active applicants at once and approve or deny them quickly. Force4Good even features built-in replies that can be programmed by your brand for specific reasons for rejecting an application, a huge time-saver. Partners are automatically notified via email with the status of their application, too.
Feature #3: Smart tax information collection and integration
Tax information is a vital piece of the process that many fundraising portals don’t want to touch if they can help it. Collecting tax information is often complicated, varies by partner and restaurant, and as such, takes a ton of thought and planning to do through a platform.
However, the IRS requires brands to verify tax information for organizations they partner with – restaurants shouldn’t just write checks to random individuals. Due diligence must be done to ensure organizations are valid and able to accept donations. Force4Good has created a smart workflow that runs partners through a series of questions, narrowing down the information that needs to be collected while holding partners’ hands through the entire process.
This results in accurately completed W-9 forms and no guesses from the partner’s end on how checks will be written after the fundraiser’s conclusion. Force4Good provides everything your brand needs to be tax compliant, also collecting donor acknowledgement letters from each partner before funds are dispersed. This peace of mind from all parties involved is a huge benefit to a brand’s fundraising platform – entire teams have existed at restaurant brands to collect this information accurately.
Brand managers, restaurant managers, and accounts payable teams, rejoice!
Feature #4: Robust marketing materials
Now that your fundraising partner has scheduled their event and supplied accurate tax information, it’s time to get them marketing materials to promote their event to supporters. While many platforms provide base marketing assets with the organization’s name filled in on a pre-approved flyer, Force4Good takes this a few steps further by providing fundraising partners with their very own custom event landing page.
This landing page not only provides event information like the date, time, and address (with the restaurant mapped out), it also contains several types of flyers in different file formats (e.g. PDFs, JPGs) for various social media applications. Direct share buttons for Facebook and Twitter are built into the page, as well.
Partner promotion is the key to fundraiser success – the more they advertise to their network of supporters, the better their turnout will be. With this in mind, be sure any platform you approach has this functionality.
Feature #5: Automated calendar and email reminders
What good is all of this technology if the fundraising partner or restaurant doesn’t remember they’re hosting a fundraiser? People are busy and sometimes things slip through the cracks on both sides of the equation.
Force4Good tackles this by including calendar invites in the fundraiser approval email that goes out to the organizer and restaurant. These calendar invites will even update automatically to reflect reschedules or cancellations. There’s also an automatic series of email reminders that fire off a month before the event, the week before, and the day before to both parties to make sure all are aware.
If a fundraising partner doesn’t show up to their own event or a restaurant is unaware or unprepared for their fundraiser, the relationship and program are hurt – any fundraising portal worth its salt will have reminders built in.
Feature #6: POS, promo code, and QR code support
This feature may sound like a given, but you’d be surprised – be sure any fundraising portal you’re considering has the ability to sync up with your restaurant’s point of sale (POS). Force4Good prefers to connect using APIs when possible to receive fundraiser data as quickly and accurately as possible.
On top of this, having the ability to utilize promo and QR codes is a huge benefit and gives your restaurant the flexibility to include online orders and even catering sales, if applicable. The more avenues you can give your partners for sales, the more successful they’ll be.
Feature #7: White label services, including customizability and flexibility
Last on this list, but certainly not least, is the need for white labeling your platform and having a team that can work with you on specific customizations. “White labeling” is the ability to rebrand your fundraising platform to better fit your brand’s look and feel. The software may be from Force4Good, but the site is modified to look more like your brand’s, meaning the user experience will feel familiar and cohesive to your website when fundraiser applicants visit your site. This is a great brand move, but also builds trust with your fundraiser supporters when they use your site.
Secondly, while out-of-the-box fundraiser portals may be cheaper or quicker to implement, these usually come with significant drawbacks. From restaurant to restaurant, no business is the exact same and teams have different needs across the industry. Your fundraising service should be able to adapt to you and your team’s requests, making updates where possible.
Both white-labeling and customizability are core features of Force4Good’s platform. Custom updates will often come with a price, of course, but having a team of developers that can work with you and your team’s specific needs is a massive benefit and one that shouldn’t be overlooked.
When it comes to fundraiser portals, there are tons of features to be aware of and each platform handles them differently (or doesn’t at all). Be sure to consider these important elements and make sure the platforms you’re considering have them built in.