November 21, 2013 |

Donating prizes is a win-win for all

By Mandy Wolf Detwiler

Pizza Hut gift cardMy 10-year-old daughter, Bella, takes drama classes at a local children’s theatre. The school is “kind of a big deal” in the community, and each year they have a huge chili supper as their fundraiser. All the kids dress up and parents drop $5 a plate for a hot dog and some chili and bid in a silent auction for prizes donated by the local community.

During the event, the kids lined up for a costume contest. Bella had donned a gorgeous pink dress and feathered hat as Eliza Doolittle from “My Fair Lady” and joined the other kids on stage for judging.

When the winners were announced, the kids happily clutched their prizes –– donated by Yum! Brands, which is headquartered here in Louisville. Bella made the top 5, and her prize was a $10 gift card to Pizza Hut (because we clearly don’t eat enough pizza in this household!).

Like any normal 10-year-old, that gift card burned a hole in her pocket like nobody’s business. She begged to order Pizza Hut every night for a straight week, and the following weekend, we found ourselves –– you guessed it –– ordering Pizza Hut.

But of course we didn’t just spend the $10 value of the gift card. I like pepperoni and my husband and kiddo like sausage and bacon. The Three-Cheese Stuffed Crust caught her eye (upsell!). And cinnamon sticks accidentally (on purpose) found their way onto the order. When all was said an done, we had a $35 order. Pizza Hut gave us $10, but we spent an extra $25.

Yum! Brands also fostered additional goodwill for the hundreds of people attending the community even that night. This is a town fueled by Papa John’s, and brand awareness is everything. The winners raced to one another comparing their wins, including cards from Taco Bell & KFC. Yum! clearly came out on the winning end as well.

If you haven’t been approached to support local community events, actively seek them out. Contact local schools and see if they have any contests on the horizon (for instance, Bella’s school holds an annual Walk-a-Thon with prizes for top earners). Give community groups like the Kiwanis, Rotary or Lion clubs a ring. A couple of $10 gift cards can go a long, long way.