Not familiar with in-store fundraisers? Here are some basics on understanding these events, including frequently asked questions and examples of best practices when hosting an event. In-store events can be great fundraisers for charities, as well as opportunities for companies to elevate their social good and brand visibility. Read on to learn more about in-store fundraising and how you can easily find partners to host a fundraiser event!
What is an In-Store Fundraiser?
An in-store fundraiser is an event typically held during a specified day and time where a percentage of the sales earned during that time are donated to a partnered school or charity. These events may also be referred to as restaurant fundraising nights, spirit nights, or in-store fundraisers. Examples of these include Panera Bread’s Fundraising Nights, Chipotle’s Eat For Change, and Fundraising With Dream Dinners, which donate a set amount per participant.
In addition to restaurants, stores and boutiques can also host such events both in-store or online, such as the way Madewell celebrated Earth Day 2018 with a Madewell Mother Earth Tee to benefit Surfrider Foundation.
Other options may include a variety of shops or venues, such as how CoinUp, a mobile app, enables causes to earn a portion of everyday purchases from supporters who sign up and designate your organization.
How Do In-Store Fundraisers Work?
A charity or school can reach out to a business directly to ask if they are willing to hold an event for their organization. This can happen in person, by email, through forms on websites, or through the new GiveBack Program directory on DonationMatch.
We recommend being prepared with possible dates, an estimated number of attendees, and how you plan to promote the event. Keep in mind that if the company you seek is a franchise, you will most likely need to reach out to the local store manager to see if their specific location is open to hosting an event. The manager will then further coordinate event details with your organization, such as the date, time, location, marketing methods, and percent of sales being donated.
Based upon agreed upon terms, a store typically donates a percentage of sales from the customers that the organization brings into the business on the specific time period. Stores usually donate anywhere from 10%-50% of sales from referred guests, most commonly between 15%-25%. Restaurant events are often hosted on weeknights to avoid extremely busy times during the weekends.
Don’t forget to ask if the percent of sales received is limited to your specific group, or if you will receive a percentage of sales from all guests during your timeframe. At in-person events, sometimes leaders from the organization are even invited to act as servers or hosts for the night and work behind the counter, greet guests, or hold raffles with guests who make a minimum purchase.
Why Host an In-Store Fundraiser?
Hosting an in-store fundraiser is usually a win-win for both the charity organization and business. The charity can potentially raise a significant amount of funds for their cause while also enjoying a social event managed mostly by the business. Businesses benefit from hosting in-store fundraisers as well, as these are a low-cost way to give back to the local community while also providing a method for the business to increase their sales and visibility. In the long run, it can be an effective way to gain new customers, repeat customers, and loyal fans.
How Can I Ensure My Event is a Success?
Marketing is key to ensuring any event is a success. The charity must be provided with easy tools (flyers, email content, examples of social media posts) to make sure they can sufficiently advertise the event to their supporters and encourage them to attend. Since the goal is more sales, everyone should be reminded to invite family members and friends to attend the event as well. Social media can work really well as a means of advertising the event, so make sure you have an engaged community that is paying attention before you start. This can apply to both the charity as well as the business, who may choose to promote these events to their own followers.
Peoples’ tastes vary, so charities shouldn’t limit themselves to partnering with only one company. Hosting fundraisers with a variety of stores, restaurants, and fundraising platforms will enable you to engage more supporters. If you do, make sure you aren’t overwhelming your audience. Although a business benefits from hosting as many events as they can handle, charities who promote more than one event/fundraising channel per month may risk confusing supporters or making it difficult to properly market, manage, and publicize each one to generate worthwhile sales. Keeping a calendar and/or specific fundraising page on your website allows people to see their options and easily pick the ones they want.