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Four Favorite Ways to Fundraise with Food


If your philanthropic organization is looking to raise money for a local charity, it’s easy to immediately think about hosting a bingo night or raffle. Instead of going the predictable route, incorporate the fun of food into your fundraiser, because everyone has to eat! There are a handful of creative and out-of-the-box ways to sell food. Here are four of my favorites.

Partner with Local Restaurants

You’d be surprised that quite a few chain restaurants have fundraising programs! Below are a few examples.

  • Rita’s: With spring around the corner, our local Rita’s Water Ice will soon be open for the season! You can schedule a day when members of your organization will be “celebrity scoopers” at your local Ritas. Your organization can earn money in return. Feel free to invite friends, family and colleagues for the opportunity to get served by their favorite “celebrity scooper.”
  • Applebee’s: Although they are not open for breakfast, Applebee’s offers a pancake fundraiser during non-operating hours. Customers can pay at the door and will be served breakfast plates filled with pancakes, sausage and scrambled eggs by members of your organization.
  • Friendly’s: You can earn a portion of the store’s sales if customers dine with a voucher created specifically for your event. In the days leading up to your fundraiser, distribute vouchers around your local community and advertise for your event with flyers.

Hold a Non-Traditional Bake Sale

Tired of the predictable bake sale with traditional chocolate chip cookies and brownies? Add a pop of excitement to your baked goods with bright colors and complex flavors — people will be more enticed to take a took at what you’re selling and make a purchase! Take the time to get creative by tie-dying icing on cupcakes, baking a patch of decadent salted caramel pretzel brownies, or shaping cupcakes like shamrocks in time for St. Patrick’s Day.

Coordinate a Customizable Food Bar

This easy charity event requires minimum preparation and has the allure of personalization to suit everyone’s tastes. Coordinate a customizable potato or macaroni and cheese bar complete with chili, cooked broccoli, sour cream, shredded cheese, bacon bits, chives, spices and more.

Wine Tasting

Although participants will have to be over 21, an evening of wine tasting will be very enjoyable for participants looking for a night out while still making a difference. Try contacting local wineries to see if they will sponsor the event and provide a variety of wines for participants to try. It’s also very important to provide light refreshments, so think about putting together a fruit, nut, cheese, and cracker plate that will pair well with the wines being served.