Go out to eat and feel good

Apr 29, 2010

By: Elizabeth Warren
Branded Programs Manager, Kiwanis International

Girls posing with the Statue of LibertyTomorrow, my department is taking me out to lunch for my birthday. We are a fun group and like to socialize. We’ve even been known to get together – GASP – after hours! Today, my cubicle mate sent an e-mail regarding said lunch. She mentioned she had seen a Facebook post about an event, “Dining Out for Life” where participating restaurants will donate 25-50 percent of its sales to the Damien Center and wondered if we could have lunch at one of the locals. Sounded like a great idea as the Damien Center is the largest HIV/AIDS clinic in Indiana that provides educational programs, advocacy, testing, and assistance for this disease. And, it sure could use some extra cash.

Here you have a worthy organization teaming up with social media and area restaurants to make a profit. What a clever idea!  In fact, it's one you could mimic very easily, here's how you do it:

  1. Go around town and ask area restaurants to participate. Give them plenty of time to make a decision, and clearly explain your beneficiary’s need. Testimonials are a great way to do this.
  2. Find ways to advertise for the restaurants that agree to help. For instance, do you have a Web site about your organization or cause? If so, create a sponsor page and link to the restaurants.
  3. Post your event on Facebook and tell all your friends.
  4. Watch the money come pouring in!

Other tips for success:

  • Plan on a weekday for your dining out event, when work groups are more likely to eat out for lunch. Thursdays are good.
  • Approach non-franchised restaurants first. Unfortunately, chain restaurants often have to seek permission from a district manager, for example, to support a local event. However, this isn’t always the case – so don’t dismiss the idea altogether!
  • Don’t forget the importance of a hand-written thank you note to all your supporters.
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