Wednesday, March 22, 2017

SPIRIT NIGHT - Fundraisers for Baseball & Softball, Part 1

Fundraising. The never-ending story. We practically play ball year-round in my house so we are constantly raising money. You’re pretty safe if you’re playing rec ball (though they will shove a box a chocolate or a stack of discounts cards at you at some point and tell you to sell them or don’t come back). But once you get into all-stars, club ball or travel ball, the need for cash becomes imperative.

Before softball, AB did competitive cheer for seven years. I have been a Team Mom or managed fundraising in some capacity for almost 10 years so I have learned which fundraisers work and which don’t.

I will be doing a 4-part series about running successful fundraisers for you team sport covering:

SPIRIT NIGHTS
CATALOG & DIRECT SALES 
YARD SALES & CAR WASHES and
SPONSORSHIPS

Today’s post is on SPIRIT NIGHT. This is where your team pairs up with a local restaurant for one evening. The restaurant donates a portion of the day or evening’s sales to your team. It’s a WIN/WIN for both your team and the restaurant. They make a donation and in return, your team drums up business for them.

FIND A RESTAURANT
Here is a list of franchise restaurants that offer Spirit Nights (aka Benefit Night, Restaurant Night, Fundraiser Night, etc).

Most donate a minimum of 10%-15% of sales. One thing to consider when choosing a restaurant is finding a place that will yield relatively high average tabs. I like to choose places that serve alcohol for this reason but check to make sure these sales are included in the donation (most are).

How to run a successful Spirit Night Fundraiser for your team in 3 easy steps

Applebee’s 
Arby’s
Boston Market
Bruster’s
Buffalo Wild Wings
California Pizza Kitchen
Chick-Fil-A 
Chili’s 
Chipotle 
Friendly’s 
Fuddruckers 
Panda Express
Panera
Pizzeria Uno 
Ponderosa
Texas Roadhouse
T.G.I.Friday’s

To find other restaurants in your area who offer fundraising nights, visit GroupRaise 

SPREAD THE WORD
Most restaurants will provide you with some sort of ticket, flyer or voucher that customers are to give to their server or submit when paying. This ticket prompts the cashier or server to make the donation to your team.
  • Hand out the tickets. Give those tickets out to your friends and family then beg, insist, demand ask them to come. 
  • Share tickets on social media. Create an image/pic from the ticket (flyer, voucher, etc.) the restaurant provides you then share on social media (tag your friends! They LOVE that! Not really but you need that money so do it anyway!). Customers can show the image to the server on their phone or tablet so the team gets the donation.
  • Text your tickets. Create an image/pic from the ticket (flyer, voucher, etc.) the restaurant provides you then text it to friends and family. Customers can show the image to the server on their phone so the team gets the donation.

RUN IT RIGHT
Don’t just show up and eat. Get organized before your event and make sure every parent and player has a roll to play. There’s nothing worse than running or participating in a fundraiser event and everyone’s just standing around looking at each other.
  • Man the door. Assign 30-minute shifts to parents and players to greet customers at the door. While opening the doors for customers, hand each party a ticket and quickly explain that the restaurant will make a donation to the team if they simply hand in the ticket when they pay the bill.
  • Make a donation station. Set up a table (or ask if you can commandeer one of the restaurant’s tables) with information about your team, becoming a sponsor and have a big, fat, highly visible jar for donations.
  • Work the room. Pick one or two folks to float around the room (discretely – you don’t want the manager to toss you out on your ear for panhandling) to speak with guests who are there specifically for the team. Thank them and let them know how important the event is to your fundraising goal... “Thank you so much for coming! Man, we’re trying so hard to plan that trip to State (buy new helmets, pay for the hotel for regionals, get new uniforms, etc.) so every dollar means so much. If you’re able, there’s a donation jar on the team table we’re trying to fill too. Tell your mama’nem hey and y’all come by the house to see me soon!” That last part is just how it would sound if I were doing the talking 😊
  • Make placemats. IF the restaurant will let you (some will, some won’t) print a disposable “placemats” to set at the tables in between seatings. Print information about your team and why you’re raising money on copy paper and place them on the tables for customers to read while they wait for their food.
How to run a successful Spirit Night Fundraiser for your team in 3 easy steps

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