1. Keep your target market front of mind
Choose a product that both parents AND children will love – children will ask for them and parents will be happy to support buying them. Even though kids love things like chocolate, parents may not always be keen to spend a lot of money on things that are (a) unhealthy and (b) can be easily found at the supermarket. Best to find a fundraising idea that appeals to the parents (or grandparents, friends or relatives!) just as much as it does the kids – if not more! It’s the adults that are ultimately your target market for a fundraiser.
2. Make it useful
We’ve found the best fundraising products are items that can be used and reused in everyday life. Or perhaps something that also makes a great gift. Again, chocolates and lollies don’t leave much of an impression once they are eaten! It’s good to be selling quality and useful products that leave your buyers with a positive association with your organisation. Parents are more likely to agree to spend money on things that are practical and helpful and have utility for their kids or themselves, or something that promotes learning or skill development. We all know it’s easier to justify spending when it’s on something practical and useful!
3. Make it affordable for parents
Keep the costs reasonable for parents – $20 or less is what we find to be the most successful in terms of fundraising product prices. It means that it is affordable for parents to buy one item, and those that would like to buy multiples (perhaps as gifts) can also do so. If your fundraising product price is too high, it can scare away a lot of parents and your participation rate will be a lot lower, ultimately making less money for your organisation. Keep it simple and affordable is our top tip!
4. Make it profitable for the organisation
A good benchmark is that a minimum of 50% of the purchase price should go to your organisation, ideally with no initial outlay. The last thing you want is to have leftover stock that you have already had to commit to! So make sure you negotiate with the company supplying the fundraising products so that you earn a healthy margin and agree on practical payment terms such as being able to pay just for the goods purchased by parents, once you have put in your final order with them. And ideally, find a company who don’t enforce a minimum order quantity to save you the stress of having to get a certain number of orders in!
5. Gather the troops
Set up a fundraising committee with some volunteers from your organisation. Ensure everyone on the committee has different skill that can be utilised – eg marketing & promotion, organising getting all orders returned and collated, perhaps someone who can design posters and flyers, someone to head up finances and can report and track how much has been spent and how much has been made – and make sure you give everyone a clear role and tasks to be in charge of. Set a fundraising target and communicate this to the committee (and also what particular thing you are fundraising for) – teams work better with a clear goal to achieve! It’s also much more motivating when you communicate your progress and successes to the team throughout the fundraising process (but also make sure you celebrate your success at the end!)
6. Promote, promote, promote
Use lots of different ways to protect your fundraiser – eg school newsletters, local flyer drops in letterboxes, put posters up in high-traffic places in your building, print flyers to give out to parents or send home with the kids, post multiple times on your organisation’s Facebook and Instagram pages, even contact your local newspaper and try to get your fundraising story published! Get a sample of the product so parents can touch, feel and try before they buy. Other ideas to promote your fundraiser include getting your parents to share with their social networks via email or social media, putting on your organisation’s website, advertising in local Facebook groups (many suburbs have a Buy, Swap, Sell Facebook page or an active community Facebook group), asking local cafes and shopping centres if you can put up posters or leave flyers for people to pick up.