Ryan Katon‘s article on Mashable highlights the Memphis Empty Bowls Project’s fundraising event to combat hunger in America’s most food-insecure city. Ryan is a copywriter on Mashable’s Branded Content team, a leading news and information source for the Connected Generation.

The art of fighting hunger in a starving American city

Satisfying Soup Fundraising Event

By Ryan Katon | Mashable | 5/27/15

For a modestly priced entry fee, attendees can participate in soup tastings — each event draws upwards of 70 gallons of signature soups from nearby restaurants — bid on original artwork in a silent auction and even go home with their own one-of-a-kind artisan bowl.

“The thing about the Empty Bowls concept that most resonates with me, as an artist, is that the creation of a beautiful bowl from nothing but dirt (literally) can, through this event, result in a tangible improvement of the life of a hungry Memphian,” says Director of the Memphis Empty Bowls Project, Jaime Winton. “That’s powerful.”


Soup Bowl Fundraiser Fighting Hunger In America

Memphis tops the lists of U.S. cities in terms of poverty and food insecurity. In Buff City alone 46% of its neediest citizens are not receiving the food assistance they desperately need.  Memphis Empty Bowls Project , is doing their part to help by combining community, creativity and compassion in their effort to fight hunger in the Midsouth.

soup bowl fundraiser

However, they know that even with all the help they provide, they alone can not solve the hunger problem in Memphis, but by holding their empty soup bowl events they are raising awareness, educating the community and planting the seed for other organizations to join in the good fight.

Satisfying Soup Bowl Fundraiser Event

There’s something satisfying about slurping that last drop of soup. Knowing that your nonprofit just helped to fill the bowl of someone that is food-insecure at your soup bowl fundraiser event is even more satisfying than that.

An empty soup bowl fundraising event idea may be just what your organization needs if you’ve been facing fundraising efforts that turn out to be less than satisfying.  By putting on the same event, year after year, with the same mediocre results every time causing your annual budget gets stretched thinner and thinner.  It’s time to revitalize your efforts and take inspiration from others who are making it work.

Benefits of Empty Soup Bowl Fundraiser Event:

  • Low cost, BIG ROI
  • Easy & simple to host
  • Engages supporters & community (from prep to cleanup)
  • Partnership opportunities (in-kind contributions = awareness & engagement)
  • Organic & effective bene”fit” event for soup kitchens, food pantries, art-based organizations, etc.
  • Attendees keep their bowl as a souvenir and they’ll think of your org every time they use it

SOUPed Up Themes
soup bowl fundraiser

How to Serve Up a Satisfying Soup Bowl Fundraiser Event:

1. Contact local restaurants– from Mom & Pop eateries to chain establishments–for donations of soups, chilis, & maybe even a few salads or desserts. Contributors benefit from having their food showcased at your event.

2. Set up a mobile-friendly ticket form for ticket pre-sales.

3. Get a local ceramics studio to donate or discount bowls (lots and lots of bowls) and some serious paint time.

4. Reach out to local artists and college ceramics students to help handcraft even more bowls. Remember: 1 bowl 1 attendee, lots of bowls = lots of attendees.

5. Ask for volunteers. Subscription keywords make this a simple and organized process when volunteers can text your keyword of choice and you can reply with mobile messages that include announcements, event updates & details, and thank you’s.

6. Advertise sponsors to appeal to attendees’ appetites.

7. Streamline check-in with smart data records.

8. Use a credit card swiper & integrated mobile fundraising app to process everything from tickets at the door (the more the merrier!) to donated art sales and silent auction items to additional donations.

9. Take a moment to taste the success of this simple fundraiser.

Dynamically display your soup bowl fundraiser donations on-screen to create an exciting moment of giving that can increase donations.

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