I. Understand your sale-type options and determine which would be best for your group:
1. Have candles “on-hand” to sell directly, collecting payment at time of “sale.”; or,
2. Using order brochures, filling your orders on a specified pick-up or delivery date and collecting monies at time of “sale”; or,
3. Using order brochures, filling your orders on a specified pick-up or delivery date and collecting monies when candles delivered.
II. Brochure candle sales:
1. Order and distribute brochures with an informational selling tip-guide (include information below) and a money collection item (e.g. envelope) to each participant or parent. Be sure to include your sale start and stop dates, as well as the expected date of expected candle distribution with your selling tips. It is always best to provide information to participants in writing with a contact phone number to alleviate confusion. If you have a large group and your group leaders time is limited, divide your group into teams and have each team report to one team captain who will total and tally their candle numbers and monies. Then all sales/monies can be totaled by the group leader prior to ordering. You may also consider requesting or purchasing a sample of each candle to show possible supporters. If you can keep from burning these candles yourself and don’t let someone buy them before your order comes in, you can sell them after your orders are filled.
2. Keep copies of your participant’s sale sheets. After your total sales are tallied and monies collected and verified, order your candles, distribute them to your participants/parents, or team leaders, with their original order sheet. Check with participants in one week to ensure candle delivery to supporters, and offer delivery/contact assistance as needed.
III. On-hand candle sales:
1. Sort/mix candles as needed and distribute our to fundraiser participants, dividing into teams if group size necessitates, using a tracking form to log participants name, phone number, parents name (as necessary), home address, number of candles received, and date due. Have participant or parent sign waiver or payment agreement as necessary and maintain with your records. Give each participant, in writing, information on selling tips, contact phone number, available scents/types, sale price and date monies and candles due back.
2. Selling tips for participants should include: Information on candle contents, any quantity or top-seller incentives (if your candle provider does not offer this, you should consider incorporating it into your program yourself if your participants are children or youth to increase your profits), burning safety and selling ideas.
3. Example of selling tips:
a) Friends, Family, and routine contacts: Ask family members and relatives to purchase candles to support your cause, and remind them that these affordable candles make great gifts! Ask friends and acquaintances to support your cause. Ask people at places you go throughout the week to support your cause (e.g. bank, library, hair salon, fitness center, restaurants, etc.) Keep a few candles with you at all times during your sale period so that as routine opportunities arise, you are prepared to sell.
b) Selling at the supermarket: A fast way to sell many candles is to set up a small table and chairs at your local supermarket.
– Phone the store manager, explaining what you are doing, and get permission to raise your funds at the store.
– Be sure to display a sign and always keep the table full of candles (avoid direct sun-light!).
– The best time to sell at the supermarket is on the weekends.
– Working in pairs, one person can let people know about the fund-raiser as they walk in the store and extend an invitation to stop and look at the candles on their way out. The second person can approach the shoppers as they leave the store and ask if they would support their effort by purchasing a candle. It is best to ask them to buy on their way out of the store.
c) Workplace, School, Office: You can place a basket of candles on your desk or work area with the price and group’s name. You usually do not have to ask people to buy. Often candles sell themselves. Always check with your employer to obtain permission.
d) Social gathering selling and special events: Most people are willing to support fund-raising organizations during social gatherings.
– Make sure you have permission, set up and fill a table with candles.
– Display a sign indicating the purpose and price.
IV. Wrap it up:
1. If possible, call each participant or remind them at your previous meeting of the date candles/monies are due back.
2. Receive monies and unsold candles, logging transaction on your original tracking sheet and “zeroing” out each participants obligation.
3. Settle up with your candle supplier as agreed to maintain a good working relationship for many more successful sales to come!
About the Author
Robin Ramirez is the owner and founder of “Love That Smell” Candles, LLC, a wholesale candle manufacturing and fund-raising support service for non-profit and other group fundraising programs (no retail sales here — a true heart for the fundraising groups!). She has been developing tailored, successful candle fundraisers for hundreds of diversified fundraising groups throughout the United States since 1999.
Robin resides in Church Hill, Tennessee, with her husband and two teenage children. You can contact her at “Love That Smell” Candles, PO Box 886, Church Hill, Tennessee 37642. Phone toll free 866-585-3638. e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or web site www.lovethatsmellcandles.com