Every person, group, or organization who does a fundraiser wants it to be successful. One of the most important parts of fundraising success is choosing the right fundraiser. But how do you do it?
There are many important factors that you should consider if you want to meet or exceed your goals, as you compare the various fundraisers available to you. One of them is the fundraiser you choose must match your group.
What motivates your group members?
Is it about the goal? Some groups do very well with fundraising simply because the members are motivated to reach the goal. I know one teen right now who is motivated to raise money (and is doing it very successfully), because she wants to go on the trip with the Madrigals choir in which she sings.
Is it about material prizes? One recent elementary child told me that he was going to win a particular prize by reaching a fundraiser goal. He was determined, and he sold with gusto. He didn’t wait for sales to come to him. He went and got them.
Is it about the social scene? Some groups enjoy event fundraisers like car washes, because they enjoy doing the events together.
Get the idea? Figure out what motivates your group and then focus on fundraisers that fit that motivation.
Will your members support your choice?
I know of a small school in East Tennessee that “missed out” on raising an easy $1000 a few years ago. There was a fruit fundraiser available to them. If each family in the school purchased just one box of fruit, they would easily have made $1000 for the school and had some awesome citrus too!
I spoke with the parent in charge of fundraising and learned there was a reason that the school passed on the opportunity. The parents and students never did well selling products for fundraisers. They simply didn’t want to sell (other than a school coupon book that everyone wanted). They focused on fundraisers that did not involve selling. They wisely passed on what seemed like it would be an easy fundraiser, because the fundraiser coordinator knew her group.
Is the fundraiser appropriate for your group?
In elementary school (forty years ago) I had grand ideas about winning great prizes by selling the most spice grinders. However, I remember thinking, “Why does anyone need these?” Though I wanted to win the prize, I think I only sold 2 grinders, because I didn’t understand how to sell them.
Be sure that your fundraiser fits the majority of your group members. For example, groups with younger children shouldn’t sell large items or products they don’t understand. Everyone loves cookies and kids understand that easily.
Go with what you know
Bands and FFA groups are known for selling fruit, and they typically do well. Elementary schools do well with cookie dough and Christmas shops. If you have a track record doing a particular fundraiser, and you’ve done well with it in the past, that just might be perfect for you. As the old saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
We would like to know what works for you. Tell us in the comments below about what fundraisers you have done and whether or not they worked. What works best for your group?
High-Performance Fundraising is the Norm for Non-Profits such as Schools, Sports, Churches and Special Projects
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Easy-to-Sell Dinner and a Movie Card
Selling Price: $10
Gives buyers a 50% discount at 100,000 merchants nationwide
The Dinner and Movie card is ideally suited for groups of all sizes. It is an easy sell at the $10 price because purchasers receive a 50% discount at 100,000 merchants nationwide. Your group makes a profit of 65%. The purchasers of the card get unlimited use of it for a full year.
Major Plusses with the Restaurant Discount Card
Selling Price: $20
The $20 card gives buyers $50 to spend at over 18,000 eateries around the country
The Restaurant Discount card is accepted at over 18,000 eateries around the country, and it provides a great savings for your supporters. By spending $20 on the card, they receive a $50 card that can be redeemed at local restaurants or at eateries nationwide.
The profit to the seller ranges from 50% to 65%, depending on the number of restaurant cards sold. In short, the greater the number of cards sold, the larger the profit per card, which, of course, would have very beneficial results for your organization.
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Selling Price: $10
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The Christmas gifts sit under the tree all aglow – tucked in neatly with ribbons and bows. There are Christmas decorations placed about, and Christmas wreaths adorn the door. It’s that wonderful time of year again when mysteries are unveiled. So, why do we give Christmas gifts during this holiday season? Have you ever stopped to wonder about the history of gift giving? When did Christmas gifts become the highlight of the season and why? The idea of giving gifts most likely originated when the Three Kings brought offerings to baby Jesus upon his birth. Throughout history, there is documentation of gifts being exchanged during Three Kings’ Day as well as on Christmas Eve.
However, gift-giving as we know it today began in the early 19th century when some of the first few ads were posted in newspapers by store owners. By the late 19th century, giving gifts at Christmastime was in full swing as large retailers such as Macy’s began leaving their doors open late on Christmas Eve. Today, Christmas Day wouldn’t be the same without gifts under the tree. Another item you won’t want to leave off of your list when it comes to Christmas is one that’s as popular as gift giving itself – a fresh evergreen Christmas wreath.
The Christmas wreath is another tradition that has been around for a long time and was initially created from fresh evergreens. Since evergreens are green year-round, they were the obvious choice during the winter months. The word ‘wreath’ is derived from an English word meaning to twist, such as in a circle. Some believe that initially wreaths were hung on doors in Ancient Rome to represent victory.
In Christianity, the Christmas wreath was used to symbolize Christ. The circular shape, with no beginning or end, represents eternity or life never ending. The wreaths were typically decorated with four candles, three on the exterior and one in the middle. The middle candle was lit on Christmas Eve to symbolize the arrival of the Light of the World – Jesus Christ. A tradition began in the early 19th century to lay evergreens shaped into wreaths or crosses on graves to honor the dead. Family members would bring them home to use as part of their Christmas decorations during the holiday season.
At Christmastime, it only makes sense to combine two of the most symbolic icons together, giving wreaths as gifts. Who wouldn’t love to display the beautiful colors of the holiday season upon their door during this festive time? Christmas wreaths come in many styles and designs. There are traditional wreaths with velvet red bows adorning noble fir branches speckled with berries to the more regal choice such as gold satin bows atop pine boughs embellished with juniper berries.
So why doesn’t everyone have a Christmas wreath hanging on the door as part of their Christmas decorations? Many people simply don’t realize how much a Christmas wreath can illuminate an entranceway and provide festivity and cheer to visitors both old and new. As well, it can be hard to find the time to do the extra things that make the holiday season so special. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to share such a rich holiday tradition with your friends and relatives when selecting their Christmas gifts this year? And while you’re deciding which Christmas Forest wreath to send their way, shorten your holiday to-do list by purchasing one for your door too.
Share this story with your supporters when you do your wreath fundraiser this holiday season.
Christmas Forest has a great fundraising program that works for both large and small groups (or even motivated individuals). Click here to read our review of their program. If you think you might want to even consider doing a wreath fundraiser, please get the information now. Don’t wait. Your fundraiser needs to be set up in early fall and it’s already October! And after you do your fundraiser, let us know what you think of Christmas Forest.
Over the years, the staff of The Fundraising Network has had the opportunity to speak with many different groups who try to raise funds. Sometimes they are disappointed, because they didn’t do well with their fundraiser, and, typically, they blame it on the company who provided their fundraiser. In our experience, that’s sometimes the case. You need to be sure to choose a reputable, experienced company who fits well with your organization. Unfortunately, more often than not, the fault is not with the fundraiser provider. Rather, the group did not execute well their fundraiser or they had unrealistic expectations.
If you were a movie-goer in 1989, you might remember the phrase, “If you build it, they will come,” from the movie Field of Dreams. In the movie, Kevin Costner, the main character, hears a voice telling him to build a baseball field on his Iowa farm so that the ghost of his dead father and some famous baseball players would come play a game. He listened and built it against all odds. He was convinced that people would come from miles around to see baseball played there, and, as movies go, at the end hundreds of people were headed to watch baseball, and he made a mint. (Sorry for the spoiler if you haven’t seen it.)
When most people think of, “If you build it, they will come,” they are describing the idea that if you just start something, that everything will fall together and your dreams will come true. Unfortunately, that’s rarely the case for anything worth doing, and it’s especially not true for fundraising. An excellent, profitable fundraising program takes some work, but, if it is done correctly, it is a little work for several people (so one person doesn’t get overwhelmed) and the fundraising effort brings great profit.
So why are we talking about this with regard to candle fundraisers?
A candle fundraising effort is a basic order-taker fundraiser. Your members take the brochures and order forms and go make sales. Simple right? It is simple, but you need to do more than just show pictures to have it be greatly successful. Therefore, here are ideas to help you have a wildly successful candle fundraiser.
Candle Fundraiser Ideas
1. Choose a Fundraiser that Fits your Market’s Price Range
I remember a time when a small group in a lower economic rural area called wanting information about a very profitable fundraiser. The problem was that the fundraiser products ranged from $22-$34 and that was a price too high for the people living in the group’s area. On the other hand, they would have done much better with a candle fundraiser which typically are priced in the $10-$12 range and sometimes higher.
The goal is to choose the fundraiser with items that fit the price range of your market. Candles fit most markets because they have such a range of prices. You will most likely get more sales.
2. Choose a Fundraiser that Fits your Group
It’s been interesting to watch trends over the years. Most often, we see sports groups selling discount cards or scratch cards, and bands and FFA groups often sell fruit. Motivation is everything though. If your members aren’t motivated to sell, your fundraiser will be a flop. And while children have great intentions and great desire, it usually takes the involvement of the parents to make a fundraiser very successful. Do your parents really want to sell something or would they rather just give a donation? Know your group and choose a fundraiser that fits.
We see a wide range of groups that sell candles. It’s one of those products that can be sold just about anywhere to anyone by anyone. Just make sure it’s the right fit for you. If you have a small group of 10, don’t choose a candle fundraising line that requires a huge purchase to get the best profit percentage. JustFundraising has several selections of candle fundraisers to fit groups of all sizes. Regardless of whether you have 10 people or 100, you can be successful with their candle fundraising program.
A candle fundraiser follows the same basic concept of any order taker fundraiser. Your sellers have a brochure, order form and basic sales script. The brochure shows the candle selections and provides details about color, aroma, size, shape, weight and container type.
Did you know that you most likely will raise more money by have candle and fragrance samples for your customers to see and smell? The boost can be dramatic! Candles are not perishable and most buyers will sniff several samples and imagine how the candles will fill their homes with the pleasant aroma. Therefore, give your sellers a few samples to carry with them.
Sailaway Candles is perfect for this. They have a no-frills fundraiser that any group can do. They are a candle wholesale company that offers healthy soy-based candles (no carcinogens from paraffin). You choose 6 scents (they currently offer 130) that you want to offer and whether or not you want to have the candles be your own private brand (for example, Longhollow High School Candles) with your logo on them. In their fundraising kit that you purchase (at a very low price, we might add), it has samples of the candle scents and colors that YOU CHOSE. The samples are in candle tart form (small cubes) that make it VERY easy for your sellers to carry. Some groups prefer not to pay anything up front, but the boost in sales should far surpass the cost of the kit.
Need ideas for which scents to choose? Food scents such as french vanilla, bayberry, apple, pumpkin spice and apple cinnamon are always popular. (So are melon and citrus.) Holiday scents such as clove and pine usually do well too. Whether you are selecting a brochure or getting a custom candle fundraiser, choose scents that most likely bring back fond memories for your customers.
4. Take Advantage of Every Opportunity for Candle Sales
When you schedule your candle fundraiser, think about your community event calendar. Bazaars, community garage sales, banquets and other events present fantastic opportunities for a candle booth. Make sure you have samples for display if you are taking orders, or, even better, purchase candles in advance that people can buy from you so that you don’t have to worry about deliveries. The bigger the event, the more potential customers you may have, so think big!
5. Get the Best Price and Highest Profit
Most candle fundraisers offer 40-50% profit and minimum orders can vary. Where you really want to pay attention is the breakpoint for the higher profit. The higher the profit percentage, the more money you make. For example, the average seller makes about five to seven sales at $12 each.
Candle Fundraising Company A
40% profit for less than 120 candles, but 50% if you sell 120 or more.
Group of 10 sells 70 candles = 40% profit each
$12 candles * 40% = $4.80/candle * 70 candles = $336 take home profit for you To get the best profit, you really need 16-24 sellers to get the best profit.
Candle Fundraising Company B
40% profit for less than 60 candles, but 50% if you sell 60 or more
Group of 10 sells 70 candles = 50% profit each
$12 candles * 50% = $6/candle * 70 candles = $420 take home profit for you This fits a small group
Candle Fundraising Company C
50% profit with a minimum 12 candle order
Group of 5 sells 36 candles = 50% profit each
$12 candles * 50% = $6/candle * 36 candles = $216 take home profit for you This fits any group! Even the smallest group can sell 12 candles and the larger groups make more profit too!
And, by the way, Company C exists! The great deals are out there. Be sure to look for them. You also need to figure shipping into your calculations as well. Candles are not cheap to ship, so be sure to ask. Many of candle fundraising companies offer free shipping if you meet certain minimums.
Your Candle Fundraiser Starts with Good Information
Amazingly, Thanksgiving weekend is only about six weeks away. Many individuals, families, schools, and groups, among others, engage in fundraising activities around Thanksgiving time to provide Thanksgiving meals to the homeless, shut-ins, and needy people of all ages around the U.S.
Holding a fried-turkey fundraiser is a very “out of the box” idea but merits serious consideration by your group or organization.
There are several very important tips, however, which should be observed when planning such an event. www.Easy-Fundraising-Ideas.com has developed a few recommendations which are very important:
The location should be easily accessible. If, for example, parents are planning to hold a school fundraiser, the school cafeteria would be the best place to do so given the large amount of table space and ease of access to kitchen facilities. If the fundraiser is to benefit some other type of group or organization, a community center could well be the best place to hold the event.
Good advertising fuels the success of a fried-turkey fundraising event. Brochures, fliers, letters, newsletters, social media, and word of mouth all form effective ways of publicizing the event. Advertising should be started well in advance of the event and should be done consistently.
The group or organization sponsoring the event should ensure that several cooks would be available to fry the turkeys and to prepare all the other fixings that go along with Thanksgiving dinners. The cooking of the turkeys and the preparation of all the trimmings would be very time consuming so the cooks and helpers should be prepared to start very early and to work all day.
To raise more money, it’s a good idea to hold a raffle during the fried-turkey fundraising event.
In sum, plan the fried-turkey fundraiser well in advance, ensure that a sufficient amount of advertising is done on a regular basis, make sure that an adequate number of cooks and kitchen helpers would be available the entire day of the event, and be sure that the event venue is easy to access and that it has adequate kitchen facilities and a sufficient number of seats and tables for the guests in attendance.
Here are a few more suggestions you may want to seriously consider.
Keep the Important Parts Primary. The bulk of the income usually comes from the sale of the turkeys. While raffles and other games can result in additional income during the event, be sure to sign people up for the event by selling them turkeys. After all, if the people don’t come, you won’t have people there to participate in the raffle. If individuals buy turkeys prior to the event, they are more likely to have a “sense of ownership” relative to the fundraiser and are more likely to attend.
Keep It Simple. The more complicated it gets, the more work it is.
Have a Coordinator. Even if you have a group leading the event, one person needs to have the responsibility of coordinator. In addition to completing his or her own individual tasks, the coordinator’s responsibility is to make sure everyone is doing their part and that all tasks are done on time. The coordinator should also be the go-to person if questions arise during the event or if any snap decisions need to be made.
Delegate. One person cannot do it all – most of the time. Make a plan and break it down into steps. Assign a person to complete each part and follow up with them, on occasion, to see how they’re (he/she) doing and ask them if they have any questions or are having to tackle any problems in what they’re doing. Fundraising is much like project management which requires careful planning, delegation, follow up, a very positive attitude, and a willingness to make decisive decisions when necessary.
More Ideas for Your Turkey Fundraiser
If you want to get some other ideas for your fried turkey fundraiser, do a quick search on your favorite search engine for “fried turkey fundraiser.” You will find a number of groups providing details to their members. For example, in 2010, a group (“All Walks of Life”) sold turkeys, but they also made turkey snack packs available at the event for people who didn’t order a whole turkey. Dawnbusters (a Kiwanis group) used an online form for ordering. All Around the World Children’s Center didn’t do an event at all. They simply took the orders and had people come by and pick up their fried turkey. Get the idea? You don’t have to “reinvent the wheel.” Look at what others have done and get ideas for what you’d like to do.
Dave S. Morse is a freelance writer/editor (published in the NY Times and other media) and serves as a community volunteer in Knoxville, Tennessee. He is also a strong social justice advocate. His years of experience in teaching as well as studies in Political Science (BS from Univ. of Oregon) and Public Administration Management (Masters from Univ. of Phoenix) give him both the passion and knowledge to help groups and underserved communities overcome their challenges.
“Going Green” is a buzzword any more, but it is a great thing. The better care we take of our world, the longer it will last and the better condition for our lives. That’s why those who are environmentally conscious like to “buy green” whenever possible. That means doing your best to purchase products that use renewable resources. As we reviewed Christmas Forest fundraising, The Fundraising Network learned that it is a fundraising company that is concerned about protecting the environment. Here’s why.
Real Evergreen Wreaths, not petroleum-based plastic
When it comes to deciding between a fresh Christmas wreath and an artificial wreath, more people than ever are choosing real evergreen wreaths. You probably know that artificial wreaths are made from plastics and other petroleum based products, and you also know that petroleum is not a renewable resource. The artificial wreaths most likely will end up in a landfill, and they are not biodegradable. In addition, most artificial wreaths are made overseas; therefore, even more petroleum is used to ship the artificial wreaths.
Real Wreaths can be recycled
There are many more ‘green’ reasons to buy a fresh evergreen wreath. They can be recycled by removing the fir from the wreath rings for a potpourri. There are also many free recycling programs where the greens will be chipped and used for mulch, another plus for the environment. Of course, a fresh evergreen wreath is just so beautiful too and everyone loves the forest fresh smell!
No Tree Harvesting, Christmas Forest helps tree growth
Our fresh wreaths are a renewable resource. Christmas Forest does not cut down any trees to make our Christmas wreaths. In the foothills of the Cascade Mountains, Christmas Forest harvests the tips of the branches, and this promotes the growth of the trees. Trimming the branches of the noble fir tree is actually beneficial to the trees and thus great for the environment.
More oxygen for us all!
The aromatic noble fir trees from Washington state are the longest lasting evergreens. These majestic trees are nature’s way of fighting against global warming. Trees take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and release oxygen. The process of producing plastic to make artificial wreaths burns fossil fuels while adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.
So consider going green with your fundraiser this year.
Knowing that fresh Christmas wreaths are recyclable, renewable and less of a contributor to global warming, those who are concerned about our Earth are choosing a fresh Christmas Forest wreath. Go green…buy a fresh evergreen Christmas wreath this year.