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Percent Night 101

Hey there! First of all, thank YOU for being a hero and supporting the kids at Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital! There are so many different ways to help the kids, and organizing a percent night is definitely one of the most lucrative. This guide explains how to organize a percent night and raise hundreds of dollars FTK!

Prepare, prepare, prepare!

  1. Plan to reach out to one or two restaurants. Try to find a restaurant near you and your friends; a shorter driving distance yields a higher likelihood of people coming. Here is a quick list of friendly national chains and local ideas:

    1. Panda Express

    2. Moe’s

    3. Insomnia Cookies

    4. Jason’s Deli

    5. California Pizza Kitchen

    6. T.G.I.Friday’s

    7. UNO Pizzeria and Grill

    8. 54th Street

    9. Arby’s

    10. Popular local restaurants

  2. Use the percent night template in this packet to quickly craft a percent night letter.

  3. Google “insert restaurant name percent night” to see if there is a percent night form to fill out or if there are any additional requirements for the restaurant.

  4. Figure out when you want to host your percent night. Memorial Day week and the month of July are good times to avoid if possible since many people are on vacation. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays are good nights for percent nights.

Visit the restaurant!

  1. Ideally visit between 2:00pm-4:00pm between the lunch and dinner rushes. Managers will appreciate your thoughtfulness.

  2. Walk into the restaurant and talk to the hostess or cashier: “Hi, my name is ______ and I’m with Dance Marathon at the University of South Carolina. I’m interested in setting up a percent night with restaurant name. Is there a general manager or marketing manager I could speak with?”

  3. Speak with manager: ““Hi, my name is ______ and I’m with Dance Marathon at the University of South Carolina. Have you heard of Dance Marathon before?” (yes/no) “Okay, great! Just as an overview, USC Dance Marathon raises money for the local children’s hospital near my college, and 100% of the funds go directly to the kids. I really love this cause because ________________. Would you be interested in helping us out by hosting a percent night for USCDM?”

Follow up!

  1. Call and ask to speak with the manager to see if he or she has made a decision. Great times to call are 9:00am-11:00am and 2:00pm-4:00pm.

  2. Keep calling until you get a response!

Get the word out!

  1. Make a Facebook event! Invite your friends, family, high school teachers, pet rocks, etc. Make sure to include the location, date, and time of the percent night. Feel free to include a link to your Donor Drive page as well!

  2. Tweet about it - ideally, tweet once a day for the last four days before the percent night.

  3. Post about it on Instagram - post early in the day before the percent night so your friends see it.

  4. Talk to your neighbors- personal contact is one of the best ways to convince people to attend your percent night. Make a night out of it!

  5. Remind people to mention USC Dance Marathon when they pay! This does not apply to every restaurant, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

The percent night itself!

  1. Confirm the percent night with your restaurant contact on the day of your event. Miscommunication is always possible.

  2. This is a great opportunity for a reunion with your high school friends or a family dinner! Or you could eat twice :)

  3. If you see anyone there, thank them for coming and remind them to mention USC Dance Marathon when they pay!

  4. Take some pics and tweet them @USCDM! We’d love to feature you on our social media

After the percent night...

  1. Reach out to your restaurant contact and find out when you can expect the check. Ideally, the restaurant can mail the check to USCDM’s mailing address. If not, you can mail it when you get it! Please make sure your name is written on the memo line of the check so we can credit your fundraiser to your Donor Drive account and your student organization, if applicable.

USC Dance Marathon

1400 Greene Street

Suite 115

Columbia, SC 29225

  1. Keep reaching out until you get the check! Don’t let your hard work go to waste :)

  2. Write a personal thank-you note to your restaurant contact! Establish a good foundation for future percent nights, either with you or another Hero.


And that’s it! Please feel free to reach out to the hospitality director, Emilie Brady, at if you have any questions.

Need help writing your email or letter asking a business to host a percent night? Click on the icon to download a template!

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