Every year, Nicki Robinson, Director of Operations over 44 SONIC Drive-Ins in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, challenges her team to get involved in their community. Typically, her restaurants work as small groups at food banks, homeless shelters or take on projects that are specific to their communities. But this year, the market leadership team from the SONIC Restaurants Inc. group wanted to bring their Dallas-Fort Worth drive-ins together for one cause.
“We reached out to our teams and found that many of our team members, their families and our guests have autism or know someone who does. So we identified Autism Speaks as the organization we wanted to support because of the research and assistance they offer to individuals with autism,” Nicki said.
To support Autism Speaks, the SRI team in Dallas-Fort Worth established a four-week fundraiser in all 44 restaurants with a goal of $750 per drive-in, which would have brought the total amount raised to more than $30,000.
“We actually hit that goal in just 11 days. It was unbelievable,” Nicki said. “We had a wonderful outpouring of support from the community and it really energized our team when they realized they could do something big and make a difference. We had some incentives for teams that raised the most and some healthy competition that kept everyone engaged for the entire month.”
At the end of the fundraiser, the team had raised more than $61,000 to become the No. 1 contributor for Autism Speaks in the Dallas area.
As for the future of the fundraiser, Nicki is currently planning to make this a yearly partnership.
“Our team was blown away,” Nicki said. “Fundraisers require your team to buy in and I think they could see the impact they were making. It was just remarkable what they were able to accomplish in just four weeks, and we’re looking forward to partnering with Autism Speaks again.”
All funds raised for Autism Speaks is dedicated to advancing research into causes, increasing understanding and acceptance and working toward solutions for the needs of individuals with autism and their families across the spectrum.