How To Increase Bar Traffic With Charity Events

Apr 14, 2015 Mike Hanna


A bar owner’s primary concern is how to increase bar traffic… nothing new there. What I have found interesting is the ability to support a local charity as a great way to give back to your community, while also creating a lasting effect on the traffic to your bar. Since the community is a huge factor in your bar’s success, this strategy has proven to be successful time, and time again.

A myriad of local fundraising opportunities want your support. Actually the biggest issue will be choosing the right local charity to promote with a fun event. Being magnanimous with your bar’s support is great, but chose a local charity.  There are so many worthy causes, and all will be appreciative, however my suggestion is choose a local charity tied to your community, like a school booster club. A large charity drive for a national cause will provide you little support.

Your efforts should be a quid pro quo arrangement – your support should be rewarded by the charity members returning to have fun and enjoy your establishment.  

So, here’s how you do it for maximum results:

  • Choose wisely.  Start by talking with your neighbors and friends about your desire to support a local (school) charity.  The right opportunity will surface.
  • Interview the charity leaders about the charity and about successful events they have produced.
  • Determine the greatest draw for charity members via their age and interests; Karaoke Contest, Dance Contest, Talent Contest, Dinner and Drinks, Vodka or Wine Tasting, Masquerade party, etc. Keep it simple and fun for attendees.
  • Set a date that won’t interfere with your normal business, such as a Monday when your business is closed.  Determine a minimum ticket price and at the event encourage more donations “If you are having fun!”
  • Have the charity and their supporters create a landing page about the event on their website. Ask them to have an email created or provide you with a link to it that your bar will distribute.
  • Send out a press release to the local papers and businesses that support and benefit from charity members; have each of the charity members post the upcoming event on their Facebook page and send emails to their friends.  Use the social media sites of all members to promote.
  • On the evening of the event have a charity member with photo talent take pictures and video of the people having fun, laughing, dancing and really enjoying themselves.
  • Make arrangement to gather the email addresses of attendees for your list, or if prohibited, hand out the bar’s business card that provides an email signup.
  • Invite the press and local TV stations.  Media is constantly looking for newsworthy positive events and yours will be right at the top.
  • Immediately after the event post the pictures and video on yours and the charity’s website. Tell the world about the event’s super success (“It ain’t bragging if you can do it” ~Dizzy Dean famed baseball star).
  • Send out a press release after the event extolling the virtues of the fundraiser and how the money raised supports the community.  Do it big and do it right and it will payoff in spades.

Give the attendees a well planned terrific time and they will return to your fun spot again and again. You have now figured out how to increase bar traffic while creating goodwill for the community. Some of them will ask if you will support their charity, and why not?  The number of success opportunities that will arise from your good deed will be astounding.  Do it right and a charity event at your bar will be a huge success and will reverberate far into the future.

Michael Hanna

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