The 2012 Dine Out for No Kid Hungry Event Success

During the month of September, restaurants across the country, both large and small, participated in Share Our Strength’s Dine Out for No Kid Hungry. This annual event enables restaurants and their customers to work together and raise money for the No Kid Hungry campaign, which has a goal to end childhood hunger.

The No Kid Hungry campaign connects needy children to effective nutrition programs such as School Breakfast or Summer Food Service.  The campaign also teaches families healthy cooking methods and how to obtain affordable meals through the Cooking Matters program.

Each year, donations toward the No Kid Hungry campaign from the Dine Out for No Kid Hungry event continue to rise.  Restaurants helped raise $1.5 million in 2010, and $2.4 million in 2011.  So how did 2012 do?

“This year our goal was $5 million and we definitely surpassed that, and it looks like by a lot,” Jessie Sherrer, senior manager at Share Our Strength, said.

There were 8,283 participating restaurants this year compared to 5,611 last year.

Each year there is a designated week in September for Dine Out for No Kid Hungry, however Share Our Strength is open to and encourages restaurants to extend the campaign as long as they like during the month.

“We saw many different types of promotions, but the biggest difference is that we had restaurants that participated for longer than just the official week this year,” Sherrer said.  “Many participated for the full month of September, some for three weeks and some for two.  Denny’s actually extended their promotion at the last minute and participated for two months!”

Promotions restaurants ran this year included bounce-back coupons (customers are given an incentive to return upon making a donation)  and multi-tiered promotions (the larger the donation, the larger value there would be on a coupon).

Sherrer added restaurants were creative with non-traditional types of promotions, especially using Facebook and Twitter.  It’s all up to the restaurant and what they would like to do.

What’s so great and convenient for restaurants that participate in Dine Out for No Kid Hungry is Share Our Strength does all of the work.

“We do create tools to make participation easier: standard and customizable coupons, posters, menu cards, etc.,” Sherrer said.  “The restaurants are welcome to use them or create their own in-store POP.  We also create customizable pre-event and post-event press releases, employee training guides, talking points, etc.  We try to make the program as turn-key as possible so that the restaurants don’t have to do all of the heavy lifting.”

As an added bonus this year, independent operators (five restaurants or less), received a complimentary in-store marketing kit with two front-of-the-house posters, two back-of-the-house posters, 50 check stuffers, 50 sticks and a window decal.  Sherrer noticed this added bonus had to have paid off as there were many impressive donations from this sector–higher than in previous years.

Also, restaurants that participated in the event were given exposure on Dine Out for No Kid Hungry’s interactive search map.  This is very beneficial for restaurants because Share Our Strength makes September “No Kid Hungry” month and has a call to action for those involved with the event to search for participating restaurants and dine at them.

“Restaurants that commit to certain fundraising goals, get extra benefits such as logo placement on the restaurant registration page, interactive map page and partner page,” Sherrer said.  “We also conducted a Radio Media Tour in major markets.  Executives from the featured restaurant companies were able to be interviewed by radio stations to promote their participation and talk about why participating in Dine Out For No Kid Hungry was important to them, their employees, the communities they serve and the country overall.”

So what’s on the agenda for 2013?

“We have lofty financial goals for next year and hope to raise between $8 million and $10 million,” Sherrer said.  “We haven’t yet set a final goal for participating restaurants, but will likely need about 20,000 to hit that number!”

If your restaurant is interested in participating in Dine Out for No Kid Hungry 2013, registration has already begun. You can also make a donation to the No Kid Hungry campaign to help curb childhood hunger.

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