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It’s the principle of supply and demand. Most parent groups plan a monthly restaurant fundraiser, but Nicole Kudarauskas says the PTO at Myron Francis Elementary in Rumford, R.I., works up a bigger appetite among its members when the events are less frequent. Restaurant nights at Rumford Elementary are usually limited to three or four a year and sometimes even just two—one in fall and the other in spring.

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Are you planning to run your group’s restaurant fundraising committee next year? Or are you a current chair who’d like to add some new restaurants to your program? We’d suggest heading over to our listings page, which includes contact information and program summaries for more than 60 restaurants.

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The La Costa Heights Elementary School PTA put a spin on the classic restaurant fundraiser by teaming up with several local food truck vendors in its community of Carlsbad, Calif., to provide food at big school events, like open-houses or family nights.

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Ana De Campos, the recording secretary at Ben Franklin Elementary PTO in Lawrenceville, NJ, will tell you: it’s all about positioning. The parent group’s two big restaurant fundraisers are promoted heavily as a monthly “Night Off From Cooking” and an annual spring flapjack event at Applebee’s, “A Short Stack for a Tall Cause.” The two bring in a nice chunk of funds for the school with the monthly Night Off raising an average of $700 a year and the most recent Applebee’s pancake fundraiser bringing in about $380.

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If it’s the first Wednesday of the month, it must be time for Dante’s. The families of North Elementary School in Colonial Heights, Va. regularly participate in the PTO’s monthly restaurant fundraiser at the local pizzeria, enough so that they helped their school earn nearly $700 in the last academic year.

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Mix it up. That’s the primary mantra that Kate Neville and Jennifer Stevens stick to when it comes to restaurant fundraisers at Johnson Elementary in Natick, Mass. Neville and Stevens are restaurant night coordinators for the school’s PTO. At the beginning of the school year, they chart out which restaurants to target for monthly events. The proceeds for 2014-15 have already tallied up to $663.

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The Gold Hill Elementary PTA in Tega Cay, S.C., knows a thing or two about restaurant fundraisers: It raised $6,000 last year with monthly events! Sheila Kauffman, PTA president, says the group has been successful in part because it focus on the kids.

So if you aren’t sure where to start with restaurant fundraising, Kauffman suggests you ask yourself where your kids like to eat.

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Welcome! We know many parent groups and nonprofit organizations are looking for new ways to develop a sense of community and raise funds. Hosting a restaurant fundraiser is an easy and quick way to do both. We'd like to help you with your restaurant and spirit nights by offering you a variety of free resources for planning and promoting these events. 

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