While you were writing a business plan for opening your dream brewery, you probably didn’t consider the number of charities that would contact you once you opened your doors asking for donations. like free beer, swag, gift certificates or just cash. As a small brewery just getting started, it can be overwhelming to manage all the demands. How do you decide how much you can donate, and once you hit the limit, how do you say no?
These decisions can be tough, especially as a local, community-focused support manager, but there is a time when you have to look at your results and realize you can only afford so much goodwill. The decision on which charities to support is ultimately up to you, but here are some great ideas for managing requests and maximizing the impact your donations can have on charities and your brewery.
Donation request form
Creating a template form that you can add to your website or attach to email requests is a great way to organize and collect the many requests you may receive. It also gives you the opportunity to inform the charity requesting the donation of your requirements and limitations early on, while simultaneously allowing you to gather the necessary information you need to make a decision about their request. . Comrade Brewing Company in Denver, Colorado has a great sample donation request form on their website.
“Another thing I find helpful is to get all the information up front. Type of event, 501(c)(3) name, EIN, etc. You don’t want to research that stuff later in the event of an audit.
David Lin, Comrade Brewing Company
“We also get requests through our normal contact form, which we then redirect to the donation request form,” says David Lin of Comrade Brewing Company. “Another thing I find helpful is to get all the information up front. Type of event, 501(c)(3) name, EIN, etc. You don’t want to research that stuff later in the event of an audit.
Bring charity to you
Instead of sending a gift certificate, merchandise or cash donation directly to the charity, without ever interacting with them in person, turn this opportunity into a way to attract new customers to your taproom. This is a great opportunity to offer to host an event for the charity that your business can also benefit from. “Brink for a cause” to Brink Brewery and “Raise a glass and some money” at Far North Aleworks are great examples of these types of taproom events.
“We let it be known that we do [Raise a Glass & Cash], but do not actively recruit for it. When people come to us to schedule one, we look to see if it’s a cause we support and schedule them. We promote it, but we also rely on the people planning it to promote it themselves.
Lisa North, Great North Aleworks
“We have the second Thursday of the month available as a ‘Raise a Glass & Cash’ night in the tasting room,” says Lisa North of Great North Aleworks in Manchester, New Hampshire. “For someone in the community raising money for a charity, we donate $1 for every pint, vol, growler refill, 4-pack or 6-pack sold overnight. We advertise that we do, but do not actively recruit for it. When people come to us to schedule one, we look to see if it’s a cause we support and schedule them. We promote it, but we also rely on the person(s) planning it to promote it themselves.
Maximize your donations
Simply writing a check or sending money via paypal would be the easiest way to support a charity, but ultimately you should consider how this donation could also benefit your sales of taproom. As a business, you have bills to pay, but if your charity work can also increase sales and visits at the same time, it can help you be more profitable in the long run, which means more money for charitable organizations and community involvement.
Silent auction tables are a great example of an area that can be overlooked when deciding what to give away. Instead of giving away packaged beer that the guest can just take home and enjoy, consider giving away gift cards or a way to redeem your beer in the dining room. Hope they find their new favorite brew when they stop to collect their prize. Gift certificates can be small and draw a bit of attention at silent auction tables, so consider creating a gift basket containing merchandise like tin signs that clearly show off your brand image. Or consider creating a large, colorful, graphic gift certificate that’s more visible than common credit card-sized gift cards. Another option is to donate a growler with your logo on it and include a free filler of the guest’s choice.
“Our standard donation is an empty growler bottle and an attached gift certificate for a free refill. The logic is that the growler bottle on the silent auction table gives us a lot more visibility than just a gift certificate. , visible only to people who will actively watch it.
Mark Caviezel, Red Tandem Brewery
“We give freely to almost all silent auction requests,” says Mark Caviezel of Red Tandem Brewery in Oxnard, California. “Our standard donation is an empty growler bottle and an attached gift certificate for a free refill. The rationale is that the growler bottle on the silent auction table gives us much more exposure than just a gift certificate, seen only by people who will actively watch it, and the charity has to send someone to collect it.
In conclusion, managing donation requests may come as a surprise that you didn’t expect to demand so much of your time and energy. But if you look at them as a way to create new partnerships, as well as a potential new component in your marketing toolbox, they can allow you to maximize the benefits that the tavern and the charity can derive from a collaboration.