Whether you’re running your school fundraiser or just hoping to help your child sell enough to win the coveted prize, you most likely will be reaching out to friends, family, neighbors, co-workers and just about anyone in your contact list for help. Using a fundraiser catalog has consistently proven to be the top sales technique for school fundraisers: you take the catalog around and collect orders on the enclosed order form with a check or cash. However, with iPads, iPhones and tablets galore, tapping into online fundraising techniques is a great resource for reaching out to people that may not otherwise see a catalog.
Many fundraiser chairs ask our consultants when is the best time to contact those out-of-town friends and family? Of course, you don’t want to cannibalize your catalog sales – those orders tend to be larger and bring in more profits for the organization – however you don’t want to miss out on the potential impulse purchase that online shopping provides. Here are two ideas on timing that we have gathered from successful school fundraisers across the country that have used online fundraising to skyrocket their total sales.
1. Send out emails even before the fundraiser starts. One elementary school fundraiser in New Jersey decided to really push the online friends and family option – they were promoting it even before they handed out their catalogs! “We decided to send out the friends and family promotional emails early on in our fundraiser to take advantage of the momentum that builds up at the start of a fundraiser,” explains the chair. Capitalizing on the excitement of the fundraiser and potential prizes, this fundraiser chair forwarded the email to the parents at her school and had them forward it out to as many out-of-town family as possible in the first week of the fundraiser. To further entice the parents, she offered a gift certificate to a local pizzeria to any seller who forwarded the email on or posted the fundraiser’s link on Facebook.
2. Contact friends and family halfway through the catalog sale. A more traditional approach to catalog fundraising is to send an email out about halfway through the catalog sales. One elementary school in California explained, “We like to send out emails and post on our Facebook about halfway through the catalog sale. That way, if there are out-of-town family members that want to hand in orders with the catalog instead of shopping online, we don’t confuse the message.” At Mixed Bag Designs, we offer up to a 50% profit on all catalog sales, and a 40% profit on online sales that are shipped direct to the online purchaser. Although the online option is virtually hassle-free (the fundraiser chair does not have to do anything with the order, only publicize the option and send out an email or link), some fundraiser chairs prefer to collect that extra 10% wherever possible.
If you choose to promote the online fundraising option halfway through the fundraiser, at the beginning or even at the end, we strongly suggest that you don’t miss out entirely on the online fundraiser. It is a simple way to gain extra sales without having to manage distribution or collect any orders. And better yet, it increases your potential customer reach tenfold – think of all your Facebook contacts and those of the parents at your school? Just post a link asking them to support your fundraiser by purchasing a reusable bag – it doesn’t get easier than that!