Fundraising For Free!: Dining Out Days Part II: We are in the midst of planning our 2011 Dining Out Days and there are several ideas that I am thinking about and want to share.
Your Dining Out Day can be a HUGE success for your agency AND the restaurant. Make sure you tell everyone. You can send an email blast, use Twitter, and use Facebook, all for free. In addition, we have found it helpful to design and mail a postcard to our donors. Many cities have newspapers that print events for free and you will definitely want to take advantage of that.
The bottom line is that you want the restaurant to be PACKED.
In all of your information make sure people know the date, the time, the percentage being donated, the address, and the phone number for reservations. Ask people to make reservations as that creates energy at the restaurant.
Communicate frequently with the restaurant and create a document that they can pass to staff. You want to ensure that everyone knows about your event and the importance of it. There is nothing worse than showing up at a restaurant to set up before the meal and finding out that staff have no idea what is happening.
If your local paper has a food section, send a press release to the food editor. An event that supports a non-profit and a local restaurant is a great story.
Make sure you check in with your contact at the restaurant several times before the event. Keep them in the know of everything happening around your event.
If having volunteers help you during the day, find people who are outgoing and know about your mission. More than half of the money we raise comes from people who have made an additional donation during dinner, and it's vital that the ask comes from someone who is really friendly and knows about your agency.
Speaking of making the ask, we use past remit envelopes and leave them at the table. When I approach a table I simply let the guest know what we are doing, that it's OK to eat a lot,including dessert because this is a fundraiser, drop off the remit and make the ask, then make my exit.
Dining Out Days can be so successful that you will be able to add it as a budgeted event next year.
Now create a plan and think of where you want to have your first Dining Out Day!