Planning fundraisers can be stressful for the volunteers and for the fundraiser chairperson, but a few ahead-of-time planning can really cut down on the stress levels and late-night scrambling with all those orders! We are always happy to help our fundraisers not only maximize their profits but also have an easy, hassle-free experience. After all, fun is a part of FUNdraising (sorry, couldn’t resist!). At Mixed Bag Designs, we have created a special Chair’s Office that offers a step-by-step process for the fundraiser chair – with helpful information and guidance for everything from signing the agreement to distributing your orders. However before we jump into organizing the fundraiser, start with a helpful checklist to organize when to start and when you should get things going.
The first step is actually starting from the end (it’s not as tricky as it sounds). The easiest way to plan out a fundraiser is to start at your distribution date and then work backwards. When do you want your supporters to receive the orders from the fundraiser? For example, if you’re doing an end-of-year school fundraiser, you will definitely want to distribute the orders a couple days or a week before the end of school to make sure everyone is available. If you’re doing a team fundraiser to raise extra funds for an upcoming competition, you’ll want the fundraiser to end well in advance of your fee due date to ensure that all of the orders are in and the paperwork is settled.
Next, factor in delivery times and shipping. At Mixed Bag Designs, we ship using FedEx ground from San Francisco, CA, so organizations in California can often count on a short delivery turnover. Our East Coast friends have to wait a bit longer and it’s important to factor in the delivery when planning out those start/end dates. Delivery is also dependent on payment receipt.
A good rule of thumb is to plan to close your fundraiser and have all orders reviewed and submitted about three weeks before your planned delivery date. That way you can ensure that there won’t be any problems with getting the orders in, ensuring the payment is in on time and having a smooth delivery process.
Four to five weeks before your delivery date, plan to collect the order forms and payment from your volunteers. It’s a good idea to enter orders as you receive them rather then waiting until the end, as you can space out the order entry into smaller groups. Many fundraisers choose to have participants enter their orders themselves, which we also offer on our website.
Planning ahead, mark the 6-8 week mark before delivery to start promoting your fundraiser. This can be creative and is the fun time when you get people excited about your fundraiser. Let them know the cause and why you’re doing the fundraiser so they get excited! The more you promote the fundraiser and tell the story of why you’re doing it, the more interested people become and the more they want to support you! We offer a ton of different ways to promote your fundraiser including offering display tips, fun signs and posters, customized cover letters, the opportunity to be featured in our blog and on our Facebook page… the more you promote, the higher your profits will be. So get creative and don’t be afraid to ask for help! Have some friends ready to help distribute fliers and catalogs, and you can always ask us for some extra publicity! The key for all fundraising promotions is to let people know exactly what you are offering, why you are offering it and how they can support!
And now you’re back at the start of the fundraiser! With your dates in mind and all of the activities pre-planned, you’re now set to confirm the start and end dates of your fundraisers and recruit volunteers to help with everything you have planned! Now it’s just time to get that fundraiser going! Good luck and have fun!
Check out our full Fundraiser Checklist.