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Sub Sandwich Fundraisers: Pros and Cons

sub sandwiches for fundraiser

The sandwich is a universal favorite food. Since its origins in ancient times and popularization by the 4th Earl of Sandwich himself, this versatile lunch option has only grown more beloved. In fact, according to the USDA, on any given day, 47% of American adults eat at least one sandwich.

This is why the sub sandwich fundraiser has remained popular for years. Selling your friends and neighbors a meal they’d likely eat anyway seems like a surefire way to generate funds for your organization. But while sub fundraisers are convenient and crowd-pleasing, there are some cons to consider.

Read on for a breakdown of sub sandwich fundraising, its pros and cons, and an alternative method that might just be even more of a hit.

What is a Sub Sandwich Fundraiser?

Sub sandwich fundraisers have long been a fundraising method of choice for schools, churches and religious organizations, sports teams, and more. The submarine sandwich (or “hero” or “hoagie,” depending on your regional persuasion) is an American classic. In fact, there are likely several sub shops in your area, whether it’s a Subway, a Jersey Mike’s, or a mom-and-pop deli.

A sub fundraiser simply involves partnering with one of your local sub shops to sell sandwiches and take a cut of the revenue for your organization. There are several types of sub fundraisers to consider, including:

Method 1: Taking Orders and Delivering Sub

With this classic sub fundraiser method, you’ll take an order form to your friends and family and have them place orders for the subs they want (with a donation upcharge added or pre-arranged by the sub shop). Then, you’ll place one big order with the sub shop and deliver the sandwiches once they’re ready.

Method 2: Selling Discount Cards

With this method, you’ll need to arrange with the sub shop to offer a discount to customers with a special card. You can then sell said cards to your community—no direct sub-peddling involved.

Method 3: In-Store Event

By opting for an in-restaurant fundraiser, you can organize an event that brings an influx of customers to your local sub shop on a specific day in exchange for a cut of the sales.

How Much Can Sub Fundraisers Earn?

There’s technically no cap to how much sub fundraisers can earn unless restrictions are imposed by the sub shop with whom you’re partnering. However, in practice, other restrictions might arise, such as your ability to sell meals within a given time frame and the restaurant’s ability to keep up with your orders. 

Keep in mind that the average upcharge per sub in a sub sandwich fundraiser is between $2.50 to $3.50. So, if you sold 100 subs, for example, your organization would take home $250 to $350. 

Sub Fundraisers: Pros and Cons

The classic sub sandwich fundraiser is popular for a reason, but it also has significant drawbacks to consider. Below are some of the key pros and cons. 


Pros of a sub fundraiser include:

  • Supporting local businesses
  • Providing a meal your fundraising participants would likely choose anyway
  • Fostering community 
  • Giving parents a night off from cooking (particularly with a restaurant event)
  • Working with minimal volunteers

Not only do sub fundraisers bring people together, but they’re also relatively hassle-free in the grand scheme of fundraising.


However, the cons of a sub fundraiser include:

  • Difficulty keeping sandwiches fresh in time to deliver them
  • Need for ample fridge space (when selling sandwiches directly)
  • Need to handle logistics and negotiate with the restaurant or a third party
  • Not much room for a reasonable upcharge; subs are typically cheap, and it might be challenging to sell a sub sandwich for $3 more than the advertised price.

While sub fundraisers can be pulled off with only one or two volunteers, they require a lot of logistical planning for little profit, and handling food comes with its own risks and difficulties.

Gift Card Fundraising: Your Sub Fundraiser Secret

Overwhelmed with planning your sub fundraiser? There’s another way — and it might even still allow you to support your local sub shop.

Gift card fundraising is a win-win, no-selling fundraising method. It’s easy for you and allows your supporters to donate while making purchases they’d make anyway. 

When you start a gift card fundraiser with RaiseRight, you and your supporters can purchase gift cards for your local sandwich shop, with a percentage going directly back to your organization.

The cut you’ll earn comes from the brand or restaurant themselves, so there’s no need to solicit friends and family for orders, host events, or do any additional planning.

With gift card fundraising, you won’t need to sacrifice fridge space or negotiate a deal. Maximize your sub fundraiser by leveraging RaiseRight gift cards to Subway, Jersey Mike’s, Cousin’s Subs, and more, or even use RaiseRight Visa or American Express gift cards at your local mom-and-pop deli. 

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 in your organization.
  3. Start a free program by completing a short, online enrollment form.  

If you’re a member of an organization looking to join an existing program, you just need your enrollment code to create an account and begin fundraising right away.

fundraise smarter not harder