It would be nice if a product fundraiser miraculously raised money on its own, right?
You offer something for sale that benefits a nonprofit, and people scoop it up!
You must be in the driver’s seat and have a solid grasp of best practices when running a fundraiser, including a product fundraiser.
Here are some important elements that we’ve found essential to success throughout our company’s 16 years in the product fundraising space.
Choose a Quality Company and Product
Roll up your sleeves and review/compare several companies’ track record of success. Your choice is very important for your group and your supporters.
As a leader, you want a smooth, easy to run, well-supported product fundraiser with help just a phone call away.
Your supporters want to purchase a quality product, with good value, and something they may not find every day.
What can you do?
Keep an eye out for user reviews that could help identify pitfalls and hidden costs. Previous customers will speak the truth, and if the profit says 50%, you want to make sure the bottom line doesn’t include shipping costs or fees that were not identified on the front end.
Identify a selection of products that are unique and tantalizing to your supporters! Run the ideas by your inner circle for some buy-in.
Make sure the product has a good price point but will also deliver a solid profit for your group. You don’t want to work really hard for barely any return.
Organize Your Fundraiser Details
You’ll never regret being organized from the moment you hit the ground running!
Make sure you answer these important questions before you get started.
- Why are you fundraising? Both sellers and supporters will get behind a clear goal.
- Who are your powerhouse sellers and supporters? Identify both.
- What are you selling? Get into the nitty gritty of product attributes, timeframes, and strategies.
Set Tangible and Achievable Goals
Do think about goals on two fronts: for the group and for the individual.
Be very clear! The overall goal is the north star for everyone involved in the fundraiser.
Set goals for individuals to keep them motivated and on a winning path.
Educate Your Sellers
Keep everyone in the know! An informed team is an effective team, which translates into dollars.
Be very specific about what they are presenting to supporters. Offer specific selling points about the product, what makes it unique, and reasons to purchase.
Help them understand the tools of the trade: brochures, websites, apps, etc.
Be very clear about the sellers’ goals and timeframes.
Round Up Volunteers/Helpers
Many hands make the work light, right? The more volunteers the better for all involved AND for your chances of reaching your goals.
Getting these lined up early helps – here’s to teamwork!
- Identify an array of people with specific skills: email communications, social media, etc.
- Assign the right people to the right tasks so they are effective in marketing and organizing the fundraiser.
- Have people ready to help with distribution. Volunteers are essential whether you’re picking/packing your order from a company OR passing out already pre-packaged items.
Create and Map Out Your Marketing Plan Early
My grandmother used to tell me that a job well planned is half done. She was so right!
Follow this marketing roadmap for your product fundraiser:
- Map out your communication and marketing plan early. Identify key dates such as the last day to turn in an order and the estimated ship date.
- Create a plan for communicating with all parts of your organization. Communication will be different for your sellers, Board, etc.
- Make a separate plan for outsiders: your potential supporters!
- Create a calendar and stick to it.
- Formulate emails, messaging, etc., ahead of time so you can simply copy and paste when the product fundraiser begins.
- Be consistent. Volunteers, sellers, and your nonprofit leadership need to feel like they are being informed on a regular basis about progress toward the all-important goal!
Take Advantage of Technology
There are so many ways to communicate these days!
If you’re not super tech savvy, ask someone who is for ideas.
The goal is to tap into where your sellers and supporters “live.” And we all know people live on their phones!
That means you’ll need to use some combination of text, email, Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok, or other forms of digital communication you have with your audience.
Assign volunteers to the specific technology where they excel, embrace, and enjoy. You may uncover some new ideas!
Encourage and Motivate Sellers During the Campaign
Product fundraisers are a significant – and worthy! – commitment of time and energy for all involved on the selling side.
Your job is to keep the momentum going.
- Maintain a positive tone and stay in touch with your sellers. Remind them how the proceeds from the product fundraiser will make a difference.
- Consider incentives: Prizes? Extended lunch periods? Think of ways to motivate your sales force without breaking the bank.
- Make your product fundraiser a fun experience to participate in!
Stay Engaged Throughout the Process
Leadership and success start at the top!
Your product fundraiser’s success will be directly tied to good planning, communication, and enthusiasm throughout the promotion.
So, be in it to win it!
Gather a strong team and don’t be afraid to ask for help at all times.
People love to feel wanted and needed…and they are!
Acknowledge and Thank
Last, but not least, make sure to follow up with the proper acknowledgements and thank yous to those who worked hard to raise funds and to those who provided the dollars.
Everyone is important and their roles should be recognized in a timely manner.
So, now that you’re armed with best practices for running a product fundraiser, off you go!
Whether you run a product fundraiser for the first time, or you are a seasoned veteran, following these best practices can help ensure a successful event.
May you have the BEST time planning and reaching your fundraising goals!
About the Author
Guest post by Carey Aron of Fun Pasta Fundraising
Carey Aron is President of The Pasta Shoppe & the Fun Pasta Fundraising team. For more than two decades, they have been creating innovative, healthy, fun pasta for families! Fun Pasta offers a unique, online, and contact free product fundraising program for groups of all sizes. When not in the kitchen whipping up a pasta recipe, Carey can usually be found hiking in local parks, ripping recipes out of food magazines, or binge-watching Netflix with her husband and 8-pound Maltipoo.