Follow our Step by Step Guide to Fundraising Success:

1. Meet with your organization before starting your fundraiser and designate a fundraising project for the funds. Determine how the funds raised will be used and look at past efforts and their success.  Doing so will indicate what you can expect. Be sure to include input from all parties actively involved in the organization. Your fundraising project can be something beneficial to the entire school community and can gain momentum from the entire enrollment and teachers, raise funds for a trip, for a sports team to raise money for new uniforms, etc.  The selection of a project will ensure success for your fundraiser.  Select key dates to begin and end your fundraiser. Be sure to allow for two full weekends. Start on a Thursday or Friday and continue through two weekends and end on a Monday or Tuesday. Tuesday is ideal; it allows for a deadline reminder to be sent home on Monday. Be sure to notify all sellers and parents of these dates. The reminders will help stick to the schedule.

2. Elect a committee chairperson. This individual will be the final authority of the fundraiser. He/She will need assistance but will coordinate the fundraiser implementation process. This person will designate a responsible party to collect the orders and monies during the process. Be sure the fundraising company has a toll-free phone number to assist with the fundraising process and they are available to answer any questions as they arise.

3. Enlist volunteers to help with the fundraiser. You will need them to pass out brochures, to help tally the orders and help to recheck for accuracy, to assist with handling the money, and to place the order with the fundraising company. Be sure to check with us to see which companies offer pack-by-seller options and whether or not there is a minimum number of items sold to qualify and also check if the service is free or at a cost.  If you have a large number of items sold, pack-by-seller will save volunteer time. You may want volunteers to man a booth at local events and public forums.

Step by Step Guide to Successful Fundraising

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4. Set a financial goal for your fundraiser. The designated fundraising project will determine the goals you set. Always set a dollar amount you want to raise as a whole as well as a goal required by each participant based upon the amount your organization needs to raise.  Be realistic in the goal you set and break it down by sellers so you and your participants know how to achieve the goal. The key to achieving a successful fundraiser is making sure that each and every one of you participants understand the reasons why your organization is holding a fundraiser and that each participant makes a commitment to participate.  When each seller realizes the importance of the fundraiser and truly understands that their individual participation does make a difference they will be more enthusiastic and you'll have many more people participating.  If there are 500 potential sellers then what percentage will participate? Look at past fundraisers, participation will be an indicator of the possibility of reaching your goal. If you have a smaller group such as a group of cheerleaders who need $2,000 for new uniforms, or travel to a competition, make sure they know how much has to be raised in total and to accomplish that goal how much has to be raised by each individual.   Be cautious about making fundraisers optional because lower participation often results in earning a lower percentage of profit, having to pay shipping, etc.  As a team, they should be working together and supporting your common goals.  

5. Select the fundraising program.  Our website has a variety of different programs.  Be sure to review them all to determine what may work best for your organization.  You may even discover something new that you would have previously not considered.  Keep a list of the benefits of each fundraising program as you review the details of each program.  You can print information from the website for each program.  You can also submit a request to receive information by mail on your top favorite programs.  Determine if you want to have an in-hand fundraiser where fundraising products are ordered in advance and then sold or hold an order-take fundraiser where you will be able to collect orders and payments with a traditional fundraising brochure.  With an in-hand fundraiser,  the up-front money is a key to this type of fundraiser.  The order is then paid for with the collected funds – thus, no money is needed in advance and no product is left over after the fundraiser.  With some fundraising companies, however, you may have to round up to purchase products by the case.  The order-taker fundraiser will allow you to collect funds before placing the order through selling with fundraising brochures.  Your participants show the brochures, collect orders and payments at the time of the sale. Payment to the fundraising company is made after you have collected all of your sales and you keep your profits.   With this type of fundraiser decide if you will accept checks, and if so, how checks need to be made out, be sure to let the sellers know; this will alleviate hesitation in giving out a blank check. You can even print stickers and place them on the order forms. This will help customers and make it easier for them to make a purchase.

6. Have a kick-off assembly.  Review the fundraising brochure with all of your participants so that they will become familiar with the products, pricing, your goals as an organization, the individual goals of each seller, share tips for increasing sales, being offered, methods of payment, and if you are collecting extra funds for tax, turn-in dates, etc.  Tell the students why they are raising funds, and how those funds will be used – show pictures if they are available. It will help the student enthusiasm if the principal agrees to perform a fun task, or if the faculty performs a fun task. Tell about the incentive program being offered to the participants. Be sure to schedule a party or event for the top-selling class. This will also help build excitement among the sellers.

7. Sell-Sell-Sell … Motivate the participants as much as possible and promote your fundraiser through every avenue possible. Consider promoting your fundraiser by sending home an informative cover letter explaining how the funds will be used to gain the commitment of the families to participate in the fundraiser, suggest participants ask several people they know to assist in collecting sales by taking the fundraising brochures to work for a day, to show to their friends and family.   Advertise your fundraiser everywhere possible.  Include your fundraiser in your organization's website, newsletters, emails, and be sure to take advantage of social media such as Facebook, Twitter, messaging.  Encourage your sellers to take their fundraising brochures with them everywhere they games, to work, to other activities because they will never know who they may run into that will provide opportunities for more sales.  Be sure the participants collect funds as the orders are taken, this will alleviate collection later and your group will have the funds upfront. Collection upfront will make the fundraiser essentially over when the products are distributed to the sellers. There is no money to collect or turn in – it is all done.

8. Tips for your participants. Encourage each participant to write up a list of everyone they know to ask to help support your fundraiser by purchasing, and also a list of people who may be able to help collect sales. Begin with your family and immediate friends, then acquaintances, neighbors, and anyone else who is willing to provide support in helping your participants to increase their sales.   Please don't forget to tell children to not sell door-to-door without adult supervision.  Don't forget to have fun!

9. Remind Frequently. Be sure to announce daily about the fundraiser and remind the students and faculty of the selling time available. Announce the ending date and when and where orders need to be turned in as completed. Stress the importance of turning the orders in on time.  Build the hype about the project the funds will provide.  When a chairperson is enthusiastic and stays extremely positive throughout the fundraiser the foundation is set for achieving a successful fundraiser for their organization.

10. Designate a shipping location and be sure to schedule volunteers to help when the order arrives at the designated location. Orders will need to be distributed to the sellers when they arrive. Send a letter home with students to announce the upcoming fundraiser, goals, and how the funds will be used. This will help build excitement and increase sales. Be sure to include the key dates for the fundraiser and all information available. 

11. Allow for orders to be turned in late before the order is completed and turned in to the fundraising company. Assemble orders and verify all funds have been turned in before completing the order. Fill out the order form designated by the fundraising company properly. This will make distribution easier and go more smoothly when the order arrives at the designated location. Be sure to calculate who the top sellers are and who will win the prizes if a prize program was offered.

12. Have a wrap-up assembly to announce the outcome of the fundraiser. Recognize the top sellers, top group, or who sold an X number of items to earn an invitation to a fundraising celebration event. Announce the prize winners and the date for the group prize. The principal can perform whatever fun task they have agreed to do, or they may be attending a special event to award participation in the fundraiser.

13. Be sure the fundraising company will schedule your delivery with your location as soon as the order ships from their location. This will allow you to announce a delivery date and plan for parents to pick up the orders to deliver to customers. In many instances, particularly with smaller orders, a designated time is not available but ask for an estimated delivery date for when you can expect your fundraising order to be delivered.  Be sure to notify the parents as soon as possible so they will be available to help the students if the merchandise is heavy.

14. Distribute merchandise. Be sure to have plenty of help on hand for this task. There will be multiple boxes and some may be heavy. You may want to arrange for a two-wheel dolly to help with this task. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes, this may take time depending on the number of volunteers scheduled to assist.

15. Recognize the success. If there is a participation prize, be sure to distribute the prizes as soon as they arrive. Announce the party date if the top-selling group wins a group prize such as a pizza party or ice cream party. Make all the arrangements for the party. Be sure to invite the parents to attend the party.

16. Evaluate success. Schedule a wrap-up meeting for the committee. Critique what was done well and what was done not so well. Evaluate the fundraising brochure you selected and determine whether or not you wish to use that program again.  Be sure to evaluate all aspects of the fundraiser no matter how small the details. This will only help the next fundraising efforts of your group. Be sure to keep files of all notes and hand-outs.  This is the most critical step in any fundraising group.