Fundraising is an essential activity for any church, school or non-profit organization. The combination of high demand and low public funding makes fundraising down right critical to the success of a school. Schools rely on fundraisers to improve the quality of the education they offer from replacing old text books to upgrading playground equipment and more. Churches often rely on fundraisers to help offset expensive business costs such as printing programs, paying staff members, and a variety of community action programs. Without successful fundraising activities services would require cutbacks and the well being of the students and patrons of these organizations would suffer.
The bottom line; it’s important to make every fundraiser a successful one. But how do you guarantee your fundraiser will fall on the right side of that line between success and failure? For many fundraisers, it starts with proper planning. Not all fundraisers are created equal. And while some fundraising ideas are better than others, it’s really up to you to choose a fundraiser for your school or organization that you know can be successful. Here are some tips to maximize the profitability of your next fundraiser:
Avoid bake sales
Small fundraisers that require participants to contribute their own goods or services rarely generate much revenue. Activities such as bake sales can generate a great deal of philanthropy within the community and often result in record participation, but participation doesn’t always result in revenue.
Stay away from fundraising retreads
If you have children you’ve probably had your student come rushing through the front door waving an order form and prize sheet in their hands at least once in your lifetime. Your child is so excited to “win” that glow in the dark stapler and the talking alarm clock they all but demand you buy no less than one of everything on their list. The only problem; there’s only so much wrapping paper a parent can use.
Many companies that offer school fundraising partnerships fall into the trap of focusing entirely on exciting the students with fun and exciting prizes to drive sales. Some focus so heavily on exciting the kids; they forget to excite the friends and relatives who make up their customer base with unique and original products. Instead they offer the same old assortment of boxed candy and chocolates, wrapping paper, and coupon books. Even more concerning is the fact that your school or organization might not be the only one using that particular catalog at any given time. I’ve actually had two of my children in two different schools bring home the same fundraising catalog within a week of each other. Needless to say the kids didn’t end up with a big order out of that experience.
Maximize Your Revenue
There are things you can do to ensure your fundraiser is a success. First choose a fundraising partner that has plenty of experience and success, and can help you navigate the fundraising process like a pro. Next, pick a product offering that is unique and clever. Some great fundraising ideas I’ve seen include t-shirt sales and logo apparel, cookie dough, and scented candles, soaps, and the like. Each of these offers something different and not normally seen in the usual fundraiser catalogs. And because the majority of these items are things parents and relatives already want and need, they will enjoy placing large orders (especially when it’s for a good cause) rather than begrudgingly picking one small scale item from the catalog. Finally, stay engaged throughout the fundraiser. Don’t hand out a stack of catalogs and flyers and sit back waiting for the checks to roll in. Hold contests to track sales and encourage your fund raisers to fundraise a little more. Everyone loves recognition for a job well done, and everyone appreciates the opportunity to earn a little something extra for their hard work, be it a candy bar, magazine, or even a bookmark. By offering small rewards and recognition throughout the fundraising process you’ll keep your team engaged and enthusiastic. Ultimately you’ll sell a whole lot more and get one step closer to that new basketball court or P.A. system your school or church is looking for.