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Contribulet Webinar: A Business Perspective with Guest Tony Lam

In the third installment of our webinar series, we welcomed Tony Lam to share his insights working with schools and other nonprofit organizations about what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to fundraising. If you missed it, you can watch the full video at the end of the article or read on.

A little about Tony Lam:

Tony Lam is an entrepreneur with over 13 years of franchise experience in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is the owner of 5 Wingstop locations, co-owner of Maven’s Creamery, and has been a PTA president at his son’s elementary school. A good portion of Tony’s time is spent overseeing the marketing and sales efforts of his business. He coordinates social media campaigns and monitors the revenue they generate, and works with platforms like Yelp and online delivery services to expand his business’s visibility and bring in new customers. All of these efforts require time and evaluation to make sure that his business is ultimately benefiting from these services.

Why does Tony participate in fundraisers?

Tony works fundraising into his busy schedule because he believes in the importance of supporting the local community, especially schools. He admires how schools want to provide enriching educational experiences for their students. From a business perspective, Tony also wants to bring in new customers and potentially convert them into recurring customers with quality food and great customer service.

What does fundraising look like from Tony’s perspective?

ony receives somewhere between 12 to 16 fundraising requests a year from schools, PTAs, and high school clubs. As a business owner, he tends to pick slower days like Wednesdays to host a fundraiser, because he doesn’t want to risk customers waiting in long lines for service or stressing his employees with a larger-than-usual crowd. He likes to get creative with his fundraisers to encourage more turnout from the nonprofit’s supporters. For example, at Wingstop, he has encouraged teachers and the school principal to participate in the Atomic Wing challenge. Students and parents came to support their teachers and principal as they finished all five spicy wings, resulting in additional money donated to their school. He has also donated food to school faculty and staff and has donated gift cards for silent auctions. With all of these initiatives, Tony hopes that it will bring in new customers while doing good for schools.

Not all fundraisers are equally successful, so Tony gives guidelines to nonprofit organizations about how to better promote their fundraiser, and he incentivizes them as well: the more revenue they bring, the greater percentage they get of the revenue. Fundraisers take quite a bit of time from his own schedule: from meeting and emailing with organizations, to estimating turnout to make sure his business is properly staffed, to manually calculating the funds raised by the organizations, Tony spends a lot of time organizing these efforts and making sure they are successful as they can be.

You can watch the webinar with Tony Lam here.

We hope that this gave you a new perspective to consider when organizing your fundraisers and understanding the businesses you work with better. Visit our blog for more tips to make your fundraiser a success!