How These Breweries Sort Charitable Needs

​You’ve all gotten them: Donation requests from nonprofits to help fund an event. How do you know when to say yes, when to say no and when to even reply?

Having a consistent message and sticking to it can be a key to ​developing a rapport with local, regional, and even national organizations.

“Nonprofits tend to be short-staffed and under-funded by nature, so we have made the “application” for our program only one page long,” explained Jud Watkins, owner, and brewer for Wrightsville Beach Brewery.

Watkins and his wife both come from a nonprofit background so this aspect of the business has always been near and dear to the heart of the Wilmington, North Carolina brewery.

“Because of the overwhelming number of requests we get for money, free beer, and even merchandise, we have established annual nonprofit partnerships,” Watkins said. “Our goal is for the nonprofit to get as much out of our help as possible with little to no work required of them.”

Most breweries try to endear themselves to a community and partnering with nonprofits is a great way to ingrain into your local neighborhoods.

Charmayne Malloy said Honolulu Beerworks would like to help everyone, but the charity does need to align with who the brewery is.

“We do all sorts of things for charities. You name it, we probably did it,” she said. “It isn’t always smooth but we are getting better at it every year.”

Donating Space, Time

As a 1% for the Planet brewery, Topa Topa tends to focus on giving to nonprofits who are approved as part of the 1% network, explained co-owner Jack Dyer.

“But we don’t limit it to that,” he said. “We give generously to the communities we are a part of and try to focus almost hyper-locally on our five-taproom network.

“By supporting the causes that are important to our communities, we find that we see an incredible return on investment.”

One of the things Topa Topa always pitches to local nonprofits is the ability for them to use the taprooms as a space to host fundraisers. The brewery donates a portion of the sales from the day of the event and the organization gets a space (for free) to welcome supporters.

“This has been a win-win situation for countless nonprofits in our area,” Dyer said.

Jeff Gray, the Milwaukee Sales and Market Manager at Indeed Brewing Company, said they first encourage nonprofits to explore partnering through Indeed We Can, a weekly event in the brewery’s taproom where 100% of all sales are donated to the partnering nonprofit for the night.

“IWC is more than just giving out beer for a nonprofit event, organizations have our taproom as a platform to engage the community into their organization’s mission in whatever way they see fit,” Gray said.

Application Process

Michelle Peterson at Dust Bowl said they are constantly being asked to support charitable organizations. So the Turlock, California brewery has developed a formal request process and has a staff member who serves as the central contact person to help keep it organized and tracked.

“We tend to only donate cans now, which is much easier than tracking down kegs that don’t get returned after events,” she explained.

The brewery requires a request form to be filled out — which covers the date, organization, number in attendance, cause, Tax ID, and such.

“We tend to work with established local organizations who are raising money to help our community (scholarships, school equipment, assisting the underprivileged),” Peterson said. “For smaller events or causes, we offer gift cards or swag baskets for silent auctions and raffles.”

Once Wrightsville Beach selects nonprofit partners for the year Watkins said they try to utilize their own social media platforms to give the work being conducted by the organization a “signal boost.”

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