So you have decided on discount cards for your fundraiser, now what?
This article will give you a brief overview of what it will take to have a successful discount card fundraiser. You most likely will need detailed step by step instructions as you go through your campaign. For this reason it is absolutely vital to choose a company that continues customer service even after the cards are ordered. This brings us to the most important step, choosing a full service fundraising discount card company.
Choosing a full service fundraising discount card company.
When choosing a card company for your fundraiser there are many items you will want to take into consideration. Most importantly; will the card company get the merchants for your fundraiser card or do they expect you to do the hard work? Getting the merchants takes a bit of skill, if you tried and the merchants aren’t popular or are not offering great deals then the value of the card won’t be as great. A company that SPECIALIZES in fundraising discount cards will be able to gain popular merchants in your area and negotiate great deals. This increases the value of the card and makes them easy to sell. Additionally, gaining the merchants takes a lot of time, between your regular life and volunteering your time, you have enough to do, so leave this up to the professionals. The quality and feel of the card is of utmost importance, a card made of credit card stock with your logo and colors will have a much greater value and will be easier to sell than a generic thin paper card would be. Additionally, make sure support does not end after the order is placed, whether this is your first fundraiser or you are a pro, the experts can give you great tips.
Selecting the optimal number of cards
With most companies you will be able to place quick reorders, this gives you the chance to be conservative with your numbers, but don’t be too cautious! If you were to order 1,000 cards at $2 each your cost would be $2,000 and selling them would raise $8,000. This great but what if you could have sold 1,500 cards? If you had ordered 2,000 for $1.50 and you sold only 1300 your cost would have been $3,000 but your profit would have been $10,000, even throwing 700 cards in the garbage your group would have raised more funds. If you have a bunch of cards left you can always have a “secondary” campaign to raise even more. With large groups you will want to order 5 to 7 cards per participant (remember if there is a price break you might want to go over that a little). With a small group you can increase the numbers because you will be able to work more effectively towards a common goal. With a 15 person group the local grocer might let you sell cards at their entrance. Greater traffic means more sales.
Creating an incentive for greater sales
The children and parents must have a specific reason for the fundraiser. “Just to raise money” does not give anyone a reason to put themselves out to sell the cards. However if the fundraiser is specifically to “get new uniforms” or “Pay transportation so the band can march in the Macy’s day parade or compete at Disney” or “buy a concession stand”, you will get much greater results. People want to be part of a cause. If Christopher Columbus had just wanted to go sailing, would he have gotten the funding for a trip that made him world famous? Secondly, motivate the participants by offering a prize, like a Wii or bike to the top seller. The better the prize, the greater the effort. Think about it, if you could win a brand new car by selling the most Fundraising Discount Cards how much effort would you make? For obvious financial reasons the prize can not be a car. But what if the prize for your little league fundraiser was two tickets to a sold out professional base ball game? How motivated your peewee football team be if they were competing for an autographed football by an all-star from your local NFL team? Be original and work towards a prize that will be the most motivating to your group.
How to distribute the cards
If you have a registration or start to a season or an event where you collect money, the cards should be set up as a “pay to play” sort of situation where everyone pays for their cards in advance of selling them. With a “pay to play” set up you will want to give each person a reduced number of cards (5 is fair) as you do not want to prevent anyone from joining your organization because of the cost. You will want to offer the availability to take more cards without paying for them to try to win the top prize. However, you will want to limit the number of cards given out as extras to avoid fraud and underselling. Give them a number of times that they can turn money in for extra cards, then get more cards to sell. If your organization does not have a formal start or registration, like a church or highschool marching band or you just got a late start, you will want to distribute cards and set a specific date the money is required back in, again extra cards can be gained from turning in money from previous card sales. In general you do not want distribution of cards and money to go through many hands, there should be one or two people that are in charge and allowed to hand out cards and collect money. Don’t give out 100 cards to a coach to distribute to their team and collect the money. They signed up to coach or teach and they are already volunteering for your organization, additionally if they are not motivated or believe in “the cause” the results from that 100 cards will not be as great.
Tracking your progress
If cards are given out in a prepaid distribution (pay to play) you will not need to keep track of those particular cards, and the accounting of the money will be very easy, multiply the number of registrants times your required up front money. In a prepaid distribution tracking need be done ONLY on additional/extra cards. The person(s) in charge of the fundraiser or their assistant will want to track the number of cards that are out for which money has not been received and also the money that has been received. At the very least all remaining cards or money for the cards needs to be turned in before the set deadline. You will find on “turn in day” many will have “lost their cards” or “forgotten them at home” (the old, “dog ate my homework routine”) In these cases you should ask them to pay for the cards and reimburse themselves when they sell them, most people are ok with that, (Note: make sure not to push too hard as some might have some financial hardships). Even if they try to turn in unused cards, remind them of the importance of the fundraiser and the reason for it, then ask them to write a check for the $50 rather than turning in the 5 cards, then they can sell the cards and keep the money.
Fundraising discount cards can be a very easy and profitable way to raise funds for your organization. Once you have a system in place, with help from your card provider, it will run smoothly. You may even decide to swear off other types of fundraisers for your organization.
About the Author
Mark South started in fundraising as a reluctant volunteer for a small soccer organization in Florida, now fundraising has become a way of life for him. You can contact Mark at his web site: <a href=”http://www.easyfundraisingcards.com”>www.easyfundraisingcards.com</a> or
7010 SunnyBrook Blvd
Englewood, Florida 34224