Was wondering how you guys handle donation request? What do you guys give? Do you give more to certain events or benefits? Any promotional items you give? (tshirts, koozies)

We get around 3 or 4 request a week, mainly from people who are holding a benefit for family member in need and I would love way to help them optimized the amount of money they raise with out breaking the bank.

In most cases we simply give a small Gift Card, it still is valued by the charity/receiver, and has the bonus for us as requiring them to come in. Any money we give this way comes back to us, at least in face value. In our situation, and I’m sure yours too most of these are folks gathering for a raffle, or silent auction so it’s not as if we’re counting on the charity recipient themselves to spend money with us which would be a bit tacky.

There are WAY too many requests to do them all.

If the request has to do with kids and is for something IN our delivery area we will give something. Usually a certificate for a “Pizza Party” which seems popular with the silent auction crowd. Our usual thing would be a certificate for 3 Large 5 topping pizzas. Two family size salads and Three pints of Ben & Jerry’s. Face value of the donation is about $110.

We also provide free pizza to the local blood drive every time they do it (4 times a year) which is 6-10 pizzas each time and to the local river club that does river clean up for the crew that volunteers after the cleanup which has been as little as 6 pizzas and as many as 20.

We donated 100 large pizzas to the effort to build new play grounds in town and another 100 to a hurricane relief effort some years ago.

We also give boy scouts, DARE, youth hockey, soccer, ski club… you get the picture.

Big four we do:

  1. We have Gift Certificates for 8" 1-topping pizzas that we donate when multiple prizes are needed like at Blood Drives and school Read-a-thons. We just printed off 900 yesterday for the largest elementary school in the district. I like to do these for well-organized events that allow us to get involved in the promotional side with social media and box toppers. Cost: just over $1 for each redemption.

  2. A different Gift Certificate for a 14" Signature Pizza is given to those needing door prizes or raffle items. I usually send one or two out depending on the size of the event. I try and fill every request I receive for these. Cost: about $4.75 for each redemption.

  3. When asked for a food donation for a charitable event, my standard offer is 4 free large pizzas if someone from the event is willing to pick them up from one of the stores. I will do this for most people that contact me as long as it’s not “last minute.” Cost: about $12 depending on what pizzas I decide to make for them.

  4. We also do dining-room fundraisers (but allow carry outs too) where we give back 20% of the total the organization can bring into the store in a week. They promote it among their group, we mark the tickets of anyone that mentions the fundraiser, and we cut a check at the end of the week. I will actively solicit these and would do one every week if I could book that many. Cost: Possibly negative? We have excess capacity at night in the dining room, so I would say this is at worst a breakeven proposition for us depending on the split between lunch buffet, dine in and carry out.

I’m a big fan of sampling and I view donations as a form of by-request sampling. Heck, it goes beyond that… it’s like marketing that generates Good Will! Given the choice between dropping $1,000 on a carpet-bombing mail campaign or distributing 900 personal pizzas as prizes, I’ll choose the give-away pretty much every time.

If you’re worried about it getting away from you, set up a weekly or monthly budget. Grab a calendar so you can track/schedule your donations out into the future. Figure out what works for you and your business and start giving.

Typhoon Haiyan,

If you’re doing a donation via Western Union, use the promo code “HAIYANRELIEF” for a free transfer.