A Food Fundraiser Is An Easy Way To Attract Support And Donations - GroupRaise

A Food Fundraiser Is An Easy Way To Attract Support And Donations

Posted by Steven Keely

A food fundraiser is a classic way to fill charity coffers. Food is a daily experience for people, there’s a constant demand for it. Do food fundraisers well and you’ll have a steady source of donations on hand.


But there’s more to a good food fundraiser than a constant demand for food. Let me ask you this: How do potential supporters know that your nonprofit is worth supporting? Don’t say it’s obvious, because you don’t support just any charity! Nonprofits must sell the mission to the unfamiliar. So how should you do that, by telling people? Or is it better to show them? 


People don’t know that your nonprofit is honest and effective until you show them. But how do you do that? They have to see your work. Guess what? Raising funds is working for a nonprofit cause. Demonstrate–it’s a classic lesson for anyone selling a service. That’s why companies offer a free demo. Better yet, give people benefits for doing the demo. What’s your demo? Delicious food for a reasonable price. 


Are you sold on hosting a food fundraiser? No doubt you’re aware of some food fundraising ideas for nonprofit organizations, but you can get creative. This GroupRaise blog posts helps you do just that with 10 ideas to inspire you! Donations await, so don’t delay in gobbling up good information. Read on!


The Best Food Fundraisers Are Thought Through

The best food fundraisers have the details down. Do you? Sure, you’ve got the why (your community of course), but do you have the where, when, what, and how people are gonna chow down? If you don’t, you’ll find it here. 


The best food fundraisers easily sell to people:

  • Where they buy food
  • When they buy food
  • The type of food they buy there and then


Let’s unpack these bullets. 


Ask: Where do people buy food?

  • Cafes
  • Pizzerias
  • Food trucks
  • Sit-down restaurants
  • And more!


But you’re thinking, hey! we don’t own one of those! No worries, a restaurant fundraiser is an option, a great one, convenient too, and you’ll read about it below. 


I just want you to notice that good restaurants have a convenient location. So if you were selling some food, who are you selling to? 


In terms of food fundraising for students, see if you can get permission to sit in front of the school or the central part of campus where people walk by on the way to class or towards the cafeteria. 


In terms of food fundraising for companies, you’ll know where the heaviest traffic flows are in and out of the main building. (For remote work check out the section for online stuff below). 


Consider a supporter’s home as a venue, too (more on catering below!). Whatever your chosen location, be sure to tell people via social media and in person. Just be clear about the address when you communicate. Make sure the venue is convenient!


Ask: When do people buy food? 

  • Breakfast time (7-9am)
  • Lunch time (12-2pm)
  • Dinner time (6-7pm)


Ask: What type of food fits the occasion? 


The list could be endless but we’ll do examples.


  • For breakfast, consider coffee & pastries
  • For lunch, try sandwiches & juices
  • For dinner, something different to overcome end-of-the-day tiredness like a poke bowl


Ask: How will you serve the food?

  • If you’re an environmentally-focused nonprofit, what kind of eco-friendly bags and utensils will you use?
  • Will there be delivery or pick-up, or is the event dine-in only?


No need to follow what we say here strictly, just be sure to think through the who, what, where, and how to make your food fundraiser the best it can be.


10 Food Fundraiser Ideas To Draw Donations

You’ll get 10 food fundraiser ideas in this section, but before we get there, consider one more question. Letting professionals handle the food preparation and service–like at a restaurant fundraiser–is one way to do food fundraisers. I’m not saying don’t do it. But there’s much to be said for quality homemade food, the feeling that care went into what you eat.


Care, though, is shown and presented, much like the honesty and effectiveness of your organization like we discussed. People are picky about food, they may judge you on hygiene, organization, and homeliness. Let’s discuss these 3 factors now.


Make sure any volunteer or supporter made food is prepared carefully and cleanly. Equally make sure that what people see at your food fundraiser is a detail-oriented, organized, and hygienic operation. Wear gloves and masks as needed. At the same time enjoy the process and let them see your appreciation of what you do. This will convey comfort, a differentiator of homemade food over the professionally prepared kind. 


Now let’s dig into some awesome food fundraiser ideas, starting with homemade-styled ones.


1. Leverage Local Brand Power

Try partnering with a local cooking school, cooking class at a community college, or local chefs. The point is to leverage name recognition, trust, and credibility. We’ll give you some brand restaurant options, but this is one way to blend brand power at the local level with the value of homemade food. 


2. Make it Health Week

In terms of food fundraising ideas for nonprofit organizations, many of whom focus on health issues, offer nutritious and prepared meals for an entire week. Advertise it as a way to save on eating out while hitting fitness goals. Tell people they’ll feel good about getting fit and giving funds to nonprofits. 


Flat-lay Photography of Vegetable Salad on Plate

Photo by Ella Olsson on Pexels.


3. Quick & Tasty Meals for Students & Employees

Interested in food fundraising for schools or companies? Students and employees are busy, busy, busy. Offer them the quickest and tastiest treats and deals you can! Try selling cups of fresh roasted coffee with pastries. Some like it fancy, like french-styled croissants, others a good danish. Make breakfast sandwiches, usually premium-priced at cafes, but not at your little shop!


4. Happy Hour

Have a happy hour at a supporter’s home. Find someone who knows how to make drinks. Better yet, find a bar that’s down to help with a give back on total tabs. Context: Restaurants usually don’t give back donations for alcohol purchases.


Four Women Chatting While Sitting on Bench

Photo by ELEVATE on Pexels.


5. Catering

Catering is a great way to get high quality, professionally prepared food brought to your choice of venue. Pick a good caterer and you’re pretty much guaranteed to impress your guests. Have photos ready once you reach agreement because you’ll want to show people on social media why RSVPing is a great idea. It does cost a bit to cater but then again there’s often a discount for volume. On the other hand you have way less work to do, which frees you up to think about design and attracting people to the event. 


6. Dine-in restaurant fundraiser

A restaurant fundraiser is an easy way to set up a food fundraiser. There are plenty of great well-reviewed kitchens who host fundraisers with generous give back percentages (up to 30%). You can send a date & time request in as little as a minute! Once the restaurant confirms, you’ll receive customized social media content to make racking up RSVPs a breeze. 



Group of People Making Toast

Photo by fauxels on Pexels.


7. Barbecue for a Better Community

Nothing’s better than barbecue on a hot day. Or a cold day. Or really any day. Do you know someone who can really grill it up? Will they help? Make sure you have the details down–the equipment, the process, the meats. You really need to focus on the photos, close-in and on the important details of how juicy and tasty the cuts will be fresh off the grill. 


Try Online Food Fundraisers To Reach More People

Online food fundraisers are a great way to reach people who can’t make it in person to an event. A lot of people are happy to order online but aren’t able (or willing) to physically get up, get dressed, and go on over–especially if your event is a weekday evening or weekend morning. Rest is blessed, and you can help people get it! 


Try fast food fundraisers with online ordering–via drive-thru, carry-out, or delivery–for a wonderful night of comfort food. Plenty of places partner with GroupRaise to offer substantial give back percentages. Do a quick search in your local area here


What about a Monday morning cup of joe with a classically glazed Krispy Kreme? Your supporters can sell boxes of dozens of donuts easy peasy, just make sure they don’t gobble them up before the customers do! 



box of Krispy Kreme glazed donuts


For well-made, homemade food fundraisers, share what you’re selling–with nice pictures–on Instagram and Facebook. Take orders online via your DMs with clear physical locations to meet up. To be efficient, do it in the same place over and over.


Try tried-and-true food fundraisers to tempt supporters

The best food fundraisers offer what people need on a daily basis, when, where, and how they want it. They show, not tell, what a worthy nonprofit looks like in action. That’s clean, detail-oriented, and happy to do work for the betterment of the community. 


If you want to send a date & time request in 5 minutes or less to a local restaurant, the typical give back percentage with GroupRaise is 15-20%. GroupRaise also sends social media content (like a Meal Page) customized to your event, once the restaurant confirms. 


After scheduling and sharing, all you’ve really got to do is go eat. Sounds fun!