Ken Goldstein, MPPA

Ken Goldstein has been working in nonprofits and local government agencies from Santa Cruz, to Sacramento, and back to Silicon Valley, since 1989. He's been staff, volunteer, board member, executive director, and, since 2003, a consultant to local nonprofit organizations. For more on Ken's background, click here. If you are interested in retaining Ken's services, you may contact him at ken at

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

About Restaurant Fundraising

Many restaurants will allow your organization to claim a night (or day), promote it to your supporters, and earn anywhere from 5-15% of their order as a donation. So, are these restaurant worth it?

First, you need to put together the numbers. What is the average cost of a meal at the restaurant? Usually, these offers are available at low-cost, family eateries, not top-of-the-line dinner places. What is the percentage offered? And how many people (staff, , clients, etc.) are likely to show up on any given date (be realistic, not everybody is going to come)?

So, let's take an example of an average meal costing $8, your agency collecting 10%, and a possible turn-out of 150 supporters and their families. That's $8 x 10% x 150, which give us a possible gross income of only $120.

Figure in that you've got to spend some resources on printing and distributing a flier or other means of promotion, and you can see that this is a much better deal for the restaurant than for your nonprofit. You've just filled their restaurant for the day, and not put a dent in your fundraising plan.

If yours is a large organization, with lots of money to be raised, you probably won't want to put any staff time (and certainly not a consultant's time) into this. If a volunteer or board member wants to take it on as their own project, great. Otherwise, leave these restaurant fundraisers to the small, all-volunteer community groups who will be thrilled to have another $120 to spend.

1 comment:

  1. Ken - good post. it's funny how these things really don't add up once you do run numbers. ultimately these programs are more nice marketing vehicles for the restaurant than anything else. the price they pay to get new customers through an organization is probably lower than the acquisition cost of getting new customers through other channels.