Obligations to Charities?

Joined Mar 1, 2011
For me, this is a kind of slow time of business, after Christmas and before Mothers day, and it seems like I am getting more and more people coming to me looking for charity based orders. Just last week gave away 35 wraps/burritos for a local high school club.

Today I gave away two 25 dollar gift certificates for a local Chowder Challege type of thing, and this weekend I am catering for 250 for a relay for life activity. And its not cheap stuff. Maple Glazed Pork Loin, Chicken and Sausage gumbo, Roasted Chicken and Potatoes, Individual Beef Wellingtons, Lobster Bisque, and an assortment of sides and salads. I am getting paid, but I am only charging 4$ a person, which just about covers food cost and overhead.

I love helping our local schools, churches, organizations as well as local and national charities, but its ALOT of time, and almost no money coming in, if any.

Any of you guys have this going on recently? Any words of wisdom?




Staff member
Joined Mar 29, 2002
It is a form of advertising and good will to your business. That has to count a little.
Joined Oct 10, 2005
Get it a lot.  With some, I give heavily discounted packages, free stuff for prizes/silent auctions etc., and some....

Well, the aggresive ones I have a special:  I have a catalouge of all my products, a fund raising catalouge if you will and I give 'em the gears: Hit target X and you get "a" discount, Hit target Y and you get "b" discount, and so on.  The aggresive ones never take it,  even though it can bring in serious coin--it's too much effort.  It does however provide me with a golden exit.

Charitable donations does bring in recognition, but for all the wrong reasons.  Once you 're on a list that's known for charitable efforts, you don't get business, you just get more requests for freebies.  Love to say it ain't so, but it is.
Joined Mar 1, 2011
I know, usually never bothers me. Always give to the same people/organizations every year. Dont know if its just coming at the wrong time or what, but I'm trying to make it work.

Thanks for the advice guys.

Joined Dec 15, 2010
I also volunteer at my kid's school and have (in the past) been the one to pound the pavement trying to get donations. For every 1 donation we get we get at least 15 No's. So just know that when you do donate the schools are so grateful. That being said, when you do say yes, your name does get passed around as a "friendly" business (at least in the PTA circle) to other schools, etc. So you will get more people asking, but seriously, consider it a complement.

I will say this, there are some businesses in our town that never say yes, or that are very rude about it and that gets passed around too. And at least in the PTA circles, our members don't patronage those places on a personal level.

I am president of the City Council PTA and this last year we had a local pizza parlor provide lunch for one of our meetings. They were pretty new, and the majority of us had not heard of them, but their food was fantastic (way better than Papa John's) and everyone loved it. They passed out their cards and menus at the meeting and I'll tell you, they are our new go-to pizza place. A lot of the other PTA moms order from them for class parties, teacher lunches etc. They have gotten loads of business from that one donation.

From my restaurant's side of things, we are not really equipped to provide lunch for 60+ people. I always offer organizations a gift certificate. Even just $10 they are grateful for. I also have made pans of marshmallows or brownies for some of the council meetings. Just doing that has brought in the school district employees for lunch on a regular basis who never knew we served lunch.

If you can donate, just a little something it's great and the schools will talk you up to anyone that will listen, but if you can't donate, just be honest, not dismissive otherwise your name will get passed around too, and not in such a good way.


Staff member
Joined Jun 11, 2001
Your giving does not have to be tied to your business.  You can give in other ways too.  I believe it all comes around.
Joined Oct 10, 2005
Of course.  Every Christmas we donate 3 heavily decorated 18 x 26 slab cakes to a charitable homeless shelter, in addition to this, we also collected all of our tips AND a 25% from every beverage we sold from the month of Feb. to purchase 1000 pairs of socks for another homeless shelter.  For the schools and chruch it's usually about 4 prizes/silent auction give aways per year.

It's just the aggresive fundraisers that really get to me.  In our first year of business, I was greeted by a woman I never had known with:

"Hi, I'm "X", fundraising for "Y" school.  The reason I don't shop here, and why the parents of Y don't shop here is because you don't support our school".

Wow....My first experience with fundraisers.

I get alot of requests from small movie/film producers too, begging for donations, offering a mention in the credits for $1000's worth of food.
Joined Aug 11, 2000
my donations are for "teaching people how to cook local food"....either for culinary scholarships.....
Joined Feb 17, 2011
Yeah, we give and give and give ... rarely say no to a reasonable request. Just hope it's part of being a good neighbor and citizen, and that people will give us business for doing so. Not a good way to measure it, though.
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