Candle Fundraisers are Profitable but Not a Field of Dreams

Sailaway Candles offers over 130 scents for your fundraiser.
Sailaway Candles offers over 130 scents for your fundraiser.

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.

If you would like to compare different candle fundraising providers, our candle fundraiser site presents a profile of many of them.  Click here to view a list of the providers. For each one in the list, you can click “Profile” and view more detailed information about their program(s).

3. Equip Your Sellers for Success

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.

Choose candle scents that will appeal to your customers.
Choose candle scents that will appeal to your customers.

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

The Fundraising Network provides information about all sorts of fundraisers. For candle fundraising, we have quite a few candle fundraiser companies on our site candle-fundraising.org.  Be sure to check it out.

A Quick Way to Find Candle Fundraisers

With the launch of our new site full of candle fundraisers, we have been adding new candle fundraising programs and companies as quickly as we can. On the site, you can view a listing of all the companies offered as well as profiles of each one so you can decide for yourself which candle fundraising program is right for you.

If you are simply looking for the latest candle fundraisers that we have added, you should follow us on Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook — but especially on Pinterest. As we add the programs to our web site, we post pictures there so you can see quickly what is offered.

Scentsy Fundraisers “Make Perfect Scents”

Are you tired of doing the same old fundraisers every year? Why not let Scentsy take care of your fundraising goals for you? Scentsy fundraisers are perfect for Church Groups, 4-H clubs, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Cheerleading Squads, Gymnastic Teams, Youth Sports Teams, Competitive Dance Teams, Pre-Schools, Day Care Centers, School and Marching Bands, Booster Clubs, Drill Teams and many other clubs, schools, community groups and organizations. Basically every organization that you can think of who could use a little extra help throughout the year.

There Are Two Types of Fundraisers:

Fairs and Special Events

You can have a fundraiser at your organization during a fair or special event by simply setting up a table with some catalogs and order forms. You just take orders from participants and at the end of the fair I will collect the order forms and get the products ordered for you.

Traditional Door to Door

One of the most popular forms of fundraisers is the community fundraiser where members of your organization go out into the community and collect orders from family, friends, and neighbors. After approximately 2 weeks of gathering orders, I will collect the order forms and get the products ordered.

Your Scentsy consultant should provide all the materials needed such as, catalogs, order forms, envelopes, and instructions and, in addition, should be available to help answer any questions that may arise.

What Will Your Organization Receive?

You will receive cash in the amount of 25% of all the products sold. Therefore, if your fundraiser generates $2,000.00 in sales (very easy to achieve), your organization will get a check in the amount of $500.00. Shipping on the products are free and each order will be inventoried, labeled and sorted. They will then be delivered to you individually packaged for your customers to pick up and enjoy. Products will be delivered to you approximately 2-3 weeks from the time that the orders are entered into the computer. Contact me today with any further questions that you may have!


About the Author

This article was submitted by Shannon Bacallao, a Scentsy Consultant.

Spotlight on Bella Grace Candles

Looking for a unique and profitable way to support your group’s programs?
Bella Grace Candles and accessories are the perfect compliment to your fund raising efforts. Our fragrant, clean burning candles are an enjoyable, healthy and profitable alternative to high calorie junk foods.

Why are candles such a good alternative?
Candles provide an ambiance that no one else can match with any other product. The ability to soothe someone therapeutically with a genuine candle allows for them to realize what cause they truly bought the product for. You even have the option to provide a logo or custom label on the candle due to the size rather then other everyday retail items. By choosing candles you are taking a great wholesome homemade product to raise money for your support group. This is something that can be burned in an office environment as well as a home where other individuals can see your logo to understand the reason behind your cause. Something as good as a candle is something that will last longer and will provide a more in depth longer lasting impression.

Candles provide as such a good alternative for fundraising because you will not run into a problem of them melting or going bad if they do not sell as quickly as anticipated. The perishability factors of candles are non-existent. By selling candles your customers will not feel obligated to purchase they’ll want to; and they’ll come back for more!

Benefits to fundraising with candles…
1.) The option to customize every candle with a clear logo or quote for that continual representation of your organization.
2.) Something anyone can burn and enjoy year round. Not something that can only be hung for a season or can be consumed immediately.
3.) A great handmade product that you can easily earn your money with.

Candles allow you to create your own rewards and the possibilities are endless!


About the Author

Learn more at Bella Grace Candles.

How to Conduct a Fast, Fun, Profitable Candle Fundraiser

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 robin@lovethatsmellcandles.com or web site www.lovethatsmellcandles.com