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School Fundraisers - It's All About Being Organized

Organizing your school fundraiser can go much smoother than you may think. Here are some things to consider:

Using a consultant
Consider using a fundraising consultant to assist your organization with larger fundraisers, first-time events, or mission critical efforts. Among the benefits of using professional help are the following: increased market penetration, increased sales per client, higher average sales volume per participant, and smoother logistical flow.

Use a fundraising consultant to take the hassle out of organizing your event and put the 'fun' back in fundraising again.

Protect your reputation
Offer only high quality products. Remember that no one feels good about overpaying for something or getting shoddy merchandise in return for a contribution. Take the high road and build loyalty within your customer base.

Profit percentage
Place less emphasis on the percentage profit offered by the supplier and focus more on the total net profit generated. Higher unit prices will mean higher total sales revenue and often, higher profits per customer.

Thatís not to say that percentage isnít important, but consider other factors as well. Look at whether sales incentives are included, hidden costs that may arise, sales brochures that cost extra, poor quality merchandise that can hurt future sales, and so on.

Incentives
Rewards will increase participation and that can positively effect the net proceeds from your efforts. The quality of the incentives is an important motivator. If appropriate, consider rewards from among the products youíre offering. Look to local merchants for supplemental prizes.

Insist on best value
People will be more inclined to buy if youíre offering quality goods at the right price. Higher-priced goods will actually generate more net from each sales transaction to your organization than the cheap stuff that offers a higher percentage profit to your group.

Price points
Many times, different organizations conduct similar fundraisers at coincidental times. Make sure that the prices asked are comparable to other fundraisers in your community. Check prices ranges via the Internet and with other nearby organizations. Look at other catalogs, retail merchant pricing for similar goods, and trust your gut instincts.

Beware of perfuming the pig
Thereís an old saying about making a silk purse out of a sowís ear. It means that someone is trying to assign a higher value to an item than it is worth. Another phrase often used to reference the deceptive selling of overpriced goods is 'perfuming the pig.'

If you overcharge your customers for common items, theyíll resent it, consciously or subconsciously. Compare results with records from past fundraisers to check what price points were offered before on similar items. Be certain to give fair market value for the items your group is offering. You want those customers back the next time, donít you?

Setup calling trees
Once your fundraiser has begun, donít forget to utilize your calling tree for immediate feedback. Ask if there are any problems, check on initial reaction from participants and their families, keep the enthusiasm level high, and donít let your initial positive momentum slip away. Regular polling of team leaders and participants will keep you informed.

Doubling Up
Double check all order forms and check payments to be sure theyíre correctly filled out. Double-team all money handling facets of the fundraising process. Have double dates (makeup days) planned in advance in case of inclement weather or other unforeseen delays on delivery day.

Use co-chairs for each mission critical function. Cross train on all tasks. Keep duplicate records of important details in a different location as part of your backup plan. In the world of technology, this is called disaster recovery or disaster prevention. Double count all deliveries coming in and going out.

Record Keeping
Accurate records are a lifesaver and a source of information for future fundraisers. Follow audit guidelines just as if you were a small business. As a non-profit organization, you have to be able to document the source of your funding as well as how those funds were spent.

Setting goals and deadlines
Do this well in advance, mapping out campaign timelines and strategies before the school or fiscal year starts if possible. Your goals should be realistic and based upon solid data from previous results. Take some time to think what extra offerings you could add that would double the net proceeds from each customer.

Always have a hard deadline for the sales period to end, nothing more than 17 days. Seventeen days is two weeks plus an extra weekend, the prime selling time.

Donít forget to smell the roses
A well-planned and well-executed fundraiser will leave you time to bask in the glory of your success. Remember to have fun and good luck!


About the Author: Kimberly Reynolds writes about fundraising and tips on organizing your school fundraiser on her website. Find hundreds of fundraising ideas on her website.




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