Everyone’s gotta eat! That’s the basic premise behind the Restaurant Fundraiser Nights. Think about it, the restaurant makes the food, does the dishes, has plenty of parking; all you have to do is get people there: a true turnkey opportunity. What could be easier?
Last year we received word that a superstar was going to tweet about one of our campaigns. I mean a major A-lister! This was the first time someone with gigantic social following would post a link to our site. The excitement mounted, and then…oh snap! The tweet went out to nearly 50 million people. 50,000 visitors hit up our site - even causing the site to go down for 10 minutes due to volume. We had high hopes this activity would convert to donations for the cause. The harsh reality: 50,000 visitors, only dozens of donations, for a total of $500.
Are you kidding me?! This was a rude awakening, but upon further reflection, it shouldn’t have surprised us. There were several reasons for this poor conversion rate. In summary:
Last week, I was leaving the gym after my daughter’s high school basketball game. As I walked, I overheard a family trying to figure out where they were going to go for pizza. My ears immediately perked up when I heard the family talk about a restaurant that was one of the team’s sponsors. Just a few days prior, the restaurant gave away a few free pizzas and t-shirts as part of a game sponsorship. Sure enough, the family made their decision for the sponsoring restaurant. Was this a result of the restaurant's generous sponsorship? Was the wall banner and game giveaway paying off? One example is not proof, but it’s something worth exploring.
For years, pro sports teams have embraced the concept of partnering with charities to give back and improve community relations. It’s now industry standard for pro teams to provide donations, scholarships, and programming for a variety of important causes. In the last few years, the pressure for teams and even the leagues themselves (think NFL’s breast cancer partnership and Cleats for a Cause) to do bigger, better and more public events has increased substantially. Yet, the teams often underperform in a truly important part of these efforts: engaging their fans to help the causes.
I'll be totally honest with you. I hate fundraising. I hate when my son brings home a pledge sheet for the jog-a-thon or the candy-bar/magazine/wrapping-paper sales drive. And then he wants to canvas the neighborhood and call every relative just so he can win movie passes to a theater that’s over an hour away. Or when I'm supposed to take my high school daughter around to local businesses asking for auction items or selling outfield banner. And the spaghetti feed, barbecue, crab feed...ok, I actually kind of like those, they can be really fun...but I hate the auction gift baskets or that whale watching gift certificates (true story) which is still in my drawer after FIVE YEARS!!!