At this time of year, groups are often looking for ways to do a little more fundraising before school wraps up, but they don’t have the bandwidth to start planning a big-production event. One option is to hold a few restaurant fundraisers this spring.

While restaurant fundraisers—also called spirit nights—aren’t huge moneymakers, they can be planned quickly and they don’t require lots of volunteer time. Depending on the size of your community, you could make a few hundred dollars per event. One PTA we spoke to made $6,000 one year from monthly events.

To get started, read “How To Hold a Successful Restaurant Fundraiser”, where you’ll find a step-by-step plan covering everything from how to contact local restaurants to ideas for promoting your event.

We also have links to more than 50 restaurants that offer fundraising programs. There are a variety of restaurant types, so your group will most likely find something that your school community would enjoy. The listings include many national chains, like Chuck E. Cheese, Chick-fil-A, and Chipotle, where you’ll find details on their programs. Many of the programs are similar in that they involve you working with a restaurant to host an evening (or other block of time) for your community. The restaurant, in turn, donates to your group a percentage of sales that come in from your supporters.

You’ll see differences in how restaurants calculate what they’ll donate. Most will donate somewhere between 10 percent and 20 percent of your group’s sales. Others donate a percentage of total sales.

Some restaurants offer more help than others with promotions, with some even sending mascots to your school. Regardless of the support you get from the restaurant, we have tools to help promote your restaurant fundraiser, including free flyers you can download and customize for your group and a letter template for writing a thank-you note after the event; there’s also clip art that you can use in your emails or on Facebook.

For more tips, a planning timeline, and all these tools in one place, download the Restaurant Fundraiser Planning Kit.

Originally published in 2014 and updated regularly.