1. Select the best fundraiser for your school.
Decide which fundraiser will best meet your needs and goals. You will be successful if you choose wisely. Look for tips on choosing a fundraiser further below in this article.
2. Plan ahead.
Start planning at least one month in advance. Select your fundraiser early to assure ample time to execute it successfully. Schedule fundraisers to avoid competing with other groups. Order fundraising materials early to avoid rushed shipments, delays and to avoid sold out merchandise.
3. Set goals and deadlines.
Establishing a clear financial goal is absolutely necessary if you want to achieve success. Set a reasonable dollar amount you need to earn and then decide what it will take to reach it. Set deadlines to insure progress.
4. Limit fundraisers to 2-3 per year.
Stay focused on a few great fundraisers per year instead unlimited, ongoing fundraisers. Kids and parents will both participate more if they know this is the only fundraiser for the season.
If they think another fundraiser will come along any day, they will toss the current fundraiser to the side and wait for the next one. Two or three strong fundraisers will yield more funds than several poor ones.
5. Have a campaign kick-off.
Motivate to participate. Give ideas on how to sell. Let your group know why they are fundraising and what they are selling. Get excited. If you are, they will be too!
6. Promote and publicize.
Send home a letter of information to each parent explaining the fundraiser. Spread the word to generate enthusiasm. Get everyone involved.
If you can get each person to participate in some way, then the goal is that much easier to achieve. Make a list of potential buyers – family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, and acquaintances. Let everyone know why you are fundraising.
7. Provide incentives.
Some fundraisers have prizes included with the program, use them! Make up your own incentives like donated prizes, cash prizes, pizza party, hat day, gum day, etc.
Be creative. Set a goal for each class or group or a contest to raise more money than the others. Give them another reason to sell.
8. Keep the fundraiser short.
We recommend no more than a 1-2 week selling period, including 2 weekends. Allow time for late orders to come in. Most sales are done in 2-3 days, so don’t let the fundraiser drag on for weeks. This will keep your participants motivated and on track.
9. Assign a quota to each seller or group.
If you can get each member to commit to the goal, then it will be achieved. Give incentives for reaching their quota.
10. Get volunteers to help organize.
Delegate to lighten the load. Assign jobs to each volunteer. Communicate before during and after the sale. The more volunteers you have, the easier, smoother and more successful your fundraiser will be.
Choosing a Fundraiser
Asking yourself or group these questions can be the best way to decide which fundraiser is right for you.
When do you want to start your fundraiser?
Start planning at least one month before you want to begin. If you need to start immediately, please consider that some products may take longer to get than time allows. Other fundraisers are easy to get quickly if necessary. If you plan ahead, then you can choose the best fundraiser for you.
How much time do you have to sell?
We recommend a selling period of about 2 weeks, including 2 weekends, for most fundraisers. Allow time for late orders to be turned in after your deadline date.
How much money do you want to raise?
You need to have a goal. This helps you plan how much each participant must sell to reach your goal. Consider the profit potential.
How many participants will you have?
Do you have 10 kids or 1,000 kids? Divide your goal by the number of participants to see how much each child will have to sell to reach your goal. A fundraiser with a higher selling price will need fewer items sold per person.
Most order taking fundraising small groups (20-30) can expect average sales of $100-$150 per person. Large groups (over 200) can expect average sales of $80-$120 per person (approximately 1/2 of group will participate).
Not all kids will participate in every group unless it is mandatory, and some kids will sell lots of items, while others will only sell a few. See if the average sale is reasonable to attain your goal.
When do you need the funds?
If you need the money right away, then you will need to collect while you take orders or sell. This also applies if you think you will have problems collecting money later on. However, if you can collect when you deliver, your sales will usually be higher than collecting upfront.
Do you want to take orders or sell items in-hand?
Pre-sell fundraisers normally have a higher selling price and total dollars sold per person. They do require taking orders, possibly tallying or sorting orders, and scheduling delivery after the sale.
With in-hand fundraisers, you must carry the product with you to make the sales. However, purchases are on the spot and have no need for collection or delivery.
Do you have space for inventory?
Some fundraisers require space to sort items or store them while they are being sold. Other fundraisers are perishable and need to be kept cool or refrigerated if not distributed immediately.
Do you have a volunteer base to help organize and run the fundraiser?
Extra volunteers are a must with any fundraiser. Dividing up the work helps things go smoothly and is less stressful.
Can your students carry home the products or will parents need to assist?
Fundraising products that are heavy or bulky need parents to help move items from place to place. A letter to parents reminding them of delivery day will help insure their availability to help.
What fundraisers have you done before?
If you sold something before that bombed, maybe you need to try something else. Likewise, what sold well in your community before should sell well again.
What fundraisers are other groups in your area doing?
If everyone else is already selling one fundraising option, try selling another fundraising option. People will appreciate the choice and be more likely to buy.
What fundraiser are your kids or parents most excited about?
If they are excited about the product, then they will sell it a lot easier. Listen to what your group has to say about the fundraising options. Trying to push a fundraiser on others that they are unsure of does not produce the best possible results.
This information is courtesy of Resource Solutions, which offers fundraising solutions to non-profit groups, www.resourcefundraising.com.