A guide to charitable giving for restaurants

After the Charleston City Paper posted Angel Postell's piece, "Constantly asking restaurants to give freebies to charities has got to stop," we had some...feelings. After all, we love nonprofits. The work they do is integral to the communities they serve, and we would never encourage our restaurateur friends and clients to be anything but gracious to them. And likewise, we would never suggest that the nonprofits have a responsibility to stop asking for what they need.

But, clearly, judging by the "hell yeah" response the article garnered from many chefs, there are underlying issues with the nonprofit-restaurant relationship that need to be addressed. So, we came up with this guide to charitable giving for our friends at Performance Foodservice.

Restaurants are an integral part of the fabric of a community, employing dozens of people and providing a gathering place for guests. It’s no wonder that restaurant owners so often give back to their communities through charitable donations of food, time, expertise, and of course, money. According to the National Restaurant Association, 94% of restaurants make charitable contributions, 70% of which are cash contributions totaling $3 billion per year. 

But often, the work of aligning with nonprofit causes and the reality of having to say no to some inquiries can be points of stress and frustration for business owners. Having a plan in place for how to handle inquiries, engage with nonprofit partners, and maximize the effect of your business’s charitable contributions can go a long way in alleviating those burdens. Let’s break down charitable giving into its basic components: Who, how much, creating a Nonprofit Plan, and marketing.