Choosing a fundraiser for a sports team, school, cause-marketing organization or civic group can be a dizzying experience for any coordinator or group director. From magazines and wrapping paper, to cookie dough, to foreign-made “stuff”, the choices are limitless. It is important to consider a number of factors when selecting and planning a fundraiser, whether it’s for an entire school of 1,000 students or a sports team with less than 20 members.
1. Consider the size of the selling group and choose golf fundraiser ideas a program accordingly. Fundraisers for an entire school or group of several hundred sellers may require a bit of fanfare to bring in the necessary profit. Using a national fundraising company with a large catalog of merchandise and prize incentives can yield big profits, but parents often do not appreciate the aggressive nature of these fundraisers. Many schools will forgo one big fundraiser in favor of 2 or 3 smaller ones in which their members are selling superior products. Smaller groups and sports teams have the luxury of conducting fundraisers that feature specialty or unique products that supporters like and look forward to buying every year.
2. Go with a fundraising company that gives the selling group a minimum of 40% profit. Many fundraisers will yield 30-35% profit for a group. Forty percent is very good, and 50% straight profit is the ultimate goal for a group. Be aware of the fine print from companies with an enticing claim of 70-90% profit, and understand exactly how this level of profit is obtained. It could be difficult to find a quality product line produced entirely in the USA that has the capability of providing a 50% profit, but they do exist. Consumable products like gourmet food items and scented candles are the most popular items in this category. In fact, candle fundraisers are a new trend that groups are implementing to earn big profits, particularly during the fall and winter months when holiday parties and gift giving are top of mind for consumers.
3. Sell reputable products that members will be proud to present and supporters will be excited to purchase. Big school fundraisers whereby students are motivated by prizes, entertaining shows, limo rides and other incentives do tend to sell more than those without prizes. Unfortunately, these types of giveaways are only offered by the big players in the fundraising industry. They are able to give maximum profits and seller prizes because of the extremely high margins they have on the products in their catalog. Much, if not all, of the items are imported, and all are overpriced and of inferior quality. While the school appreciates the profits, parents seem increasingly irritated at their school for running these fundraisers year after year. Many parents would rather write a check directly to the PTA to avoid buying overpriced wrapping paper, trinkets, figurines, kitchen gadgets or magazines. Furthermore, they are frustrated with the manner in which their children are bribed to sell “just 5 items” to get to earn a cheap prize or see a special show. With this in mind, a new trend may be fundraisers in which the products sell themselves. A successful fundraiser is one in which sellers and supporters look forward to each year.
4. Run the fundraiser for 7-10 days, and expedite processing. Any less than seven days will not give sellers enough time to reach potential supporters. A fundraiser that runs longer than ten days runs the risk of sellers losing interest, and turnaround time for delivery will be too long. A supporter who purchases and pays for goods on day one of a fundraiser will become impatient waiting upwards of two weeks for a fundraiser to close, and another two or more weeks for processing, shipping and customer delivery of the goods. Upon closing, the fundraising coordinator should collect forms and money in a timely manner and submit the order as quickly as possible.