Grow Your Charitable Arm Without Being Overwhelmed

​Having a nonprofit background helps, but Wrightsville Beach Brewery owner Jud Watkins said that the Wilmington, North Carolina facility has found ways to streamline the charitable arm of the facility while not overwhelming its staff.

​Many breweries are sought daily to help either host, give or promote nonprofit endeavors and making sure to have a set guideline can help a brewery on the right path.​

​For ​Wrightsville Beach, Watkins told Brewer that the management team screens applications and selects the organizations at the beginning of each year.

“We require they be locally based, and be a 501c3,” Watkins said. “We also try to ensure we don’t select redundant causes if possible and the overall goal is to focus on organizations that assist those who can’t necessarily advocate for themselves — children, environmental causes, and such.”

Having worked for and partnered with a large number of nonprofits in the past, Watkins said he finds it best not to attempt to micromanage how donation dollars are spent.

READ MORE: Giving Back to Communities a Key in Business, Awards & Honors

“We try to do the screening on the front end and then donate to ‘general funds’ rather than ear-marked spending so the nonprofit can spend the money where they feel they need it most,” he said. “The last thing a nonprofit needs in a post-COVID fundraising environment is for a brewer to tell them how to spend their money.”

​Topa Topa has​ a dedicated person to help manage giving​, explained Jack Dyer.

​”It does take up a lot of time​,” he said. “We justify this expense of staff time because it aligns with our core values and essentially works as marketing for our company.

​”​Many times folks who join us for nonprofit fundraisers haven’t been to our brewery or aren’t craft beer enthusiasts, so we feel like it’s an opportunity to make “customers for life” with each event we host.​”​

Having one central staff member organize all the logistics and paperwork was a big turning point for Dust Bowl. All the donations, said Michelle Peterson, are picked up at the taproom locations.

“We order the beer from the brewery to be delivered on the specific day of the donation pick up,” she said. “We have a master donation binder that our taproom managers refer to verify the donation. It works well.”

​The​ Indeed We Can program ​for Indeed Brewing ​has grown through the various organizations’ willingness to partner with Indeed for a special taproom night. Through​ this program, Indeed donated ​nearly​ ​$​1​2​5​,000​ to more than 100 Wisconsin​ and Minnesota​ organizations in 2021. ​A​ big part of its growth is employee engagement in selecting and managing the Indeed We Can nights.

There is no set format​, said Milwaukee Sales and Market Manager, Jeff Gray. The organization​, ​with the help of the employee who selects the NPO​, has the chance to utilize the space and make it their own​, he said​.

​”​We have seen successful Indeed We Can nights that have had anything from organized neighborhood bike rides to jazz concerts​,” Gray noted.

​Topa Topa has shifted toward a set format for nonprofit events in its taprooms.

“Typically we donate a percentage of sales (usually 15%) from the day of the event from the taproom and try to loop in a music partner and a like-minded business to do a pop-up shop or something,” Dyer said. “This helps spread the net a little wider to market the event and hopefully leads to a busy taproom that benefits all parties involved in the event.

“This simple formula has been working well for us for the past six years since we opened.”

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