Selecting The Right Fundraiser: Part 1 - Ideas
This is the first part of a two-part series report on selecting the right fundraiser for booster clubs.
By Kimberly Reynolds
Kimberly Reynolds is the author of Fundraising Success and maintains her Web site, Fundraising Ideas for Fundraisers, at: www.fundraiserhelp.com.
Selecting the right fundraiser is the most important decision you'll make. Among the key factors are the timing of each fundraiser, the quality of the merchandise, selling considerations, delivery considerations, and ultimately, the net profit to your organization.
Think of yourself as running a small business building a reputation for innovation and quality products. What are your financial goals versus expected unit volume numbers, sales revenue versus profit percentage, quality of goods versus cost, acceptable market price points, etc?
If you think like a business leader, then you're on the right track.
First, Choose a Type of Fundraiser
There are different types of "best" fundraisers and you have to select what's best for your organization at this particular time. There are event-based fundraisers, direct donation fundraisers, fundraisers with immediate product delivery, and fundraisers with delayed product delivery. The first decision you have to make is on the fundraiser category, followed by the fundraising supplier, and then the actual fundraiser itself.
How do you make those decisions? A professional fundraising consultant can often help. You can also check the web, use personal contacts, review your group's past records, etc. Things to consider when evaluating offerings:
- Quality of the merchandise items offered
- Quality of support materials provided, such as catalogs
- References of supplier
- Availability of free sample kit
- Service level of supplier, such as pre-sorting goods, etc.
- Hidden costs such as freight, paying for brochures, etc.
- Hassle factors like replacement goods and refund policies
- Special delivery needs, such as refrigeration for some foodstuffs
- Specific needs of organization
- Past performance
Seek Wisdom from Past Experience
Results will vary with the amount of fundraisers done previously, number going on at same time (yours and others), time of year, etc. Look at this fundraiser in the context of others. Have we've done this one before? We've done it it every year. A competing group just did it. Or, our cheerleaders did this one before and it was a big hit.
Successful past fundraising ideas could and should be repeated, but remember that your customer base is usually 80 percent to 90 percent the same year after year. Spice it up; try something new and different.
Don't Overdo It
Keep your numbers to two major fundraisers, one in the fall and one in the spring with a possible third one at pre-winter holiday time. Any others should be service or event related like a carnival, a car wash, or an auction. These are usually one-day events and don't require the same level of support as a full-blown fundraiser.
Beware of Profit Drains
Watch out for hidden costs when evaluating different plans. Consider things like freight charges, return policy, freshness guarantee, or special needs during delivery like refrigeration.
Break Down Your Decision Factors
Break your decision factors into major and minor categories. There are some that are critical such as how much money you need to raise, how much time you have to raise the money, and how many people you have to help reach the goal. Other factors may only influence the decision such as your previous results, community income level, and current enthusiasm level.