A few months ago I created a program for our nonprofit that would have three objectives: Give back to the local organizations that do so much for our communities, Raise money for our organization and Drive mid-week traffic to a local pub.
Cocktails for a Cause was born! It is Third Thursday event each month. We rotate to a different pub and support a different cause. Supporters pay a $10 cover, and the location gives 33% of the drinks purchased during the 2 hour event. This is then split evenly to the two organizations. We raise anywhere from $350 - $850 an event.
To advertise we use our Constant Contact email list, a Facebook Event and send it out through our own email contacts. We ask that the nonprofit also send it out to their contacts. We don't print or pay for any advertising for the event - it would take too much out of the profits.
It's fun, it is easy, and it is a constant flow of dollars into our cash-flow and a little boost to the nonprofit and the pub on a slower day. Plus folks that wouldn't normally visit any particular location are exposed in a fun, non threatening way and might just go back.
It also creates amazing PR. We get a photo with the checks the following week which is great for the location and then we also work for a month talking about the nonprofit which helps put their name out there.
This idea happened, it was voted on at the board level, a committee met the next day, the venues and nonprofits for the year were decided and we went to work. Simple, effective and fun! That is my kind of Main Street program.