Student organizations, businesses both benefit from fundraisers
For many on-campus organizations and businesses looking for easy fundraising, percent nights serve as a mutual benefit.
An organization contacts a business and negotiates a percentage of total sales profit that will be donated to its cause for each sale made that night to people who reference the fundraiser. Then they get the word out to the student body, which serves the business as free advertising and results in increased business.
For Ray Cormany, the fundraising committee chair for the professional engineering fraternity Theta Tau, percent nights are indeed worthwhile.
“Percent nights benefit Theta Tau in two ways: Our name gets out there, and we receive usually 10 percent of the money from those who said they were with us,” the second-year chemical engineering student said. “Percent nights for us are fairly effective. We are a fairly young fraternity that is about to become a chapter, so anything that gets our name out is extremely helpful to our growth.”
USC’s Club Volleyball, Tri Delta sorority and Alpha Kappa Psi business fraternity are also among organizations that have held percent nights.
Second-year business student Johanna Norman is a member of all three of these organizations.
“Percent nights are effective,” Norman said. “The profits vary for each organization. The bigger the organization, the more profit we make.”
Some of the local businesses that work with the student organizations also speak highly of percent nights.
“Some groups do really well,” Jay Ellison, Main Street Firehouse Subs manager, said. “Some fraternities get sororities in and we can have a busy night,” he said.
Ellison said that they like to do percent nights between 5 and 9 p.m. because lunch is really busy for them.
“We try to have the group to get the word out to their friends so they can tell us that they’re with the group,” Ellison said. “That way, some random person can’t come in and say they’re part of the group.”
Different businesses have different rules for percent nights, including how they are advertised and how student organizations are paid. Some may require groups to do their own advertising, but others will even do it for them.
The Moe’s Southwest Grill on Main Street has its own particular set of rules.
“Customers must present a flyer to the cashier. It is attached to the receipt, and a set percentage is donated back to the organization,” Matthew Saxon, the general manager of Moe’s, said.
Percent nights can be effective, but both local businesses and student organizations say that advertisement determines just how effective they are.
“It varies greatly based on the organization’s efforts to get the word out,” said Saxon.
Norman agreed with Saxon and emphasized the importance of letting many people know about the percent night.
“You won’t make much without advertising,” Norman said. “If you spread the word, you can make money.”