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The Scoop on Junk Food and Fast Food Fundraisers


No one can deny the delicious power of a slice of pizza or an ice cream sundae — the proof is in the numbers. In the U.S. alone, the fast food industry is worth over $382 billion

Interestingly, many charitable groups and organizations use this fact to their advantage through junk food and fast food fundraising. 

There are several different ways you can use junk food in your fundraising efforts — from hosting in-restaurant events to throwing reward parties for your volunteers.

In this guide, we’re breaking down everything you need to know about fast food fundraisers and looking at some healthier (and often, more profitable) alternatives.

Fast food restaurant fundraisers

Restaurant fundraisers are low-effort events with decent earning potential. They work like this: You rely on the restaurant to provide the service, while you receive a portion of each sale. The restaurant gets more business, while you earn money for your cause. Keep in mind that most restaurants require buyers to bring in an event flier for their purchase to count towards your organization. 

If you’re looking to plan a restaurant fast food fundraiser, follow these three simple steps:

  1. Choose a restaurant
  2. Speak with the managers to decide on what percentage of sales will go to your cause
  3. Market the event to get as many people there as you can.

Restaurant fundraisers can be one-time events, or you can make a deal with the restaurant to host a monthly or weekly fundraising night. 

Additionally, fast food fundraisers are convenient for most communities — odds are you have at least one fast food place in your area. Not to mention, the food is generally more affordable than other restaurants, making it accessible to a wider audience.

Selling junk food to raise money

A majority of fundraising activities revolve around selling products to make a profit, and junk food just happens to be a top seller. 

The most popular junk food fundraising items include:

Despite the popularity of these types of fundraisers, it can be difficult to make a significant profit from selling junk food products. It takes a lot of time and effort to sell goods, and the suppliers typically take a large chunk of your earnings or make you pay upfront for a certain amount of product. 

Unfortunately, if your organization doesn’t have a large, dedicated group of volunteers, these fundraisers may be more trouble than they’re worth. 

Junk food rewards parties

If you’re looking for effective fast food fundraisers for schools in particular, junk food can be a fun incentive for kids to raise money.

It's often the prize of friendly competition: the class that earns the most money for your cause gets a celebratory reward party. Enticing junk food rewards include:

  • Pizza
  • Ice cream
  • Popsicles
  • Baked goods

Incentives can be powerful tools, especially in the classroom. 

If you’re worried about disappointing the kids who don’t win, there are other options to consider. For example, instead of only rewarding the top-earning class, you can reward any class that earns a certain amount. This way, everyone can win and enjoy a delicious treat.

Healthier alternatives to junk food and fast food fundraisers

While junk food and fast food fundraisers can be successful, they don’t promote the healthiest behaviors — for children or adults. 

To avoid the extra calories and sugar crash, consider choosing healthier restaurants for your fundraising event, finding different products to sell, or opting for selling coupon books or discount cards

And if you want to avoid the hassle of organizing restaurant fundraisers and selling products altogether, try gift card fundraising with RaiseRight

Gift card fundraising takes the unnecessary hassles out of traditional fundraising. There’s no need to sell products, host events, or worry about sharing the profits with restaurants or suppliers. Instead, whenever a participant buys a gift card through your organization's RaiseRight program, your group gets to keep a percentage of the sale. Rebate percentages range from an average of 6% to up to 20%, and that money comes straight from the brands you’re buying from. 

The best part? There’s no limit on how much you can make, and you can earn 24/7, 365 days a year.

Download the guide

Gift card fundraising: a better way to earn

Instead of getting elbow-deep in cookie dough or pizza grease, switch to gift card fundraising and see your earnings climb. Gift card fundraising is a proven method to raise more money with less effort, and RaiseRight makes this easier than ever. 

If you still want to incorporate fast food into your fundraising campaigns, you can encourage participants to use RaiseRight gift cards at your restaurant fundraiser to maximize your earnings. RaiseRight partners with over 700 popular brands, including fast food restaurants like McDonald's, Domino’s, Taco Bell, Burger King, and more.

Check out all of RaiseRight's fast food partners.

Ready to start earning?

Here are some next steps to get the ball rolling:

  1. Learn more about how gift card fundraising works.
  2. Download the Gift Card Fundraising Playbook and share it with others at your school or organization.
  3. Start a free program by completing a short, online enrollment form.  

If your organization is already earning with RaiseRight, you just need your enrollment code to create an account and begin fundraising right away.