Winter Fundraisers Series: How to Host a Penny Wars Fundraiser

Penny Wars Fundraiser

Penny wars are a fantastic way to get people to donate to your cause. Curious?  Read on!

What is a Penny War?

Penny war fundraisers are a style of fundraising where different teams, groups, or etc. compete to see who can raise the most money.

This is how it works:

Setup

Get a bucket or empty water cooler. You’ll need one container for each team. Design a sign or other kind of artwork that clearly shows which bucket belongs to which team.

Place these containers in a central location that’s relevant to your fundraiser. So, if you’re raising money for a school, display your penny war buckets in a hallway with high traffic. Fundraising in an office? Position your penny war buckets in your break room.

Start the War!

Now, it’s time for the war of dollars and cents! Participants in a penny war donate change to their team’s bucket. Whichever team collects the most change in their bucket during your fundraising period is the winner!

Prizes

Penny wars can have prizes, but they don’t need to. Usually the people donating to the cause will also benefit from the funds raised. However, if you want to incentivize your donors with a small “winner’s reward,” that could generate more interest in your penny war fundraiser.

How To Host a Penny Wars Fundraiser

All you need for a penny war fundraiser is buckets (or some type of receptacle), a place to keep them and two or more competing teams. Here’s a few ideas for the types of teams and groups that can benefit from penny wars:

High School Penny Wars: Freshman Vs Sophomores Vs Juniors Vs Seniors

Encourage the different graduating classes to compete in a penny war. Use the funds raised to produce school-wide benefits.

Sports Teams: Varsity Vs Junior Varsity – OR – Sport Vs Sport

If it’s two divisions of the same team, the money raised can directly benefit that sports team. If you run your penny war against competing sports, try doing it during the same season.

Penny Wars for Adults: Millennials Vs Generation X – OR – Pirates Vs Ninjas

If you’re fundraising audience is a group of adults, you can still have a penny war. If you don’t have different “teams” just choose two fun groups or ideas that people can donate to. The first example separate competitors with the year they were born. The second is silly and cosplay friendly – what are you, a pirate or a ninja!?

A Fun Variation For Your Penny War

Want to step up your penny war competition? Put meaning on the literal pennies with this fun variation:

Teams are encouraged to put pennies in their own team’s bucket. Each penny is worth a point. The team with the most points at the end of the fundraiser wins.

Each team is also encouraged to donate other forms of currency in the opposing team’s bucket(s). Each piece of non-penny currency is results in 1 point getting subtracted from that team’s total points.

For example, Team A has 1500 pennies in their bucket, but they also have $250 in other currency (nickels, dimes, quarters and various dollars.) As a result, their penny war points are 1250.

This version of a penny war can bring extra profits because it encourages higher denomination donations and creates more competition for the participants.

Increase Profits with a Penny War Party

Throw a fundraising event and include a Penny War as one of the activities.  For example, if you have a buffet dinner fundraiser, have two team buckets at the beginning and/or end of each line.  Before people begin going through the line, divide them into teams and let the donations begin!

 

Winter Fundraiser Series: Flowery Fundraiser in February

How to Do a Flowery February Fundraiser

If you are looking for a fundraiser to do during the winter months, February is a great month for which to plan. Valentine’s Day is a holiday when gifts are given, so it is a perfect time for a fundraiser.  People love giving and receiving candy and flowers, so why not have a fundraiser that supplies them?

Start Early

While this fundraiser is fairly simple, it is date sensitive so start planning early.  Because you will be delivering the flowers on a particular day, the florist will have a deadline for the order so they can deliver your flowers to your group on time.  You need time to take and collect orders.  You also need time to plan.  Therefore, pull your fundraising team together in plenty of time to get everything planned.

Planning

Planning a flower fundraiser is easy. Start by assembling your fundraising leadership team.  The team doesn’t have to do all the work. They help plan and make sure that all the work gets done.

Determine the Type of Flowers to Sell

Easy Alternative to Live Flowers

Chocolate flowers are usually chocolate lollipops shaped like flowers. This is a fundraiser that is especially good for elementary schools.  It’s simple.  Purchase the lollipops and then sell them.  Companies like The Goodies Factory offer a wide selection.

The first step is to determine which type of flowers you might want to sell — live or otherwise. For this article, we are going to focus on live flowers.

Research which type of live flowers you would like and where you will get them. Get in contact with your supplier to find out when you need to place your order so that you receive them on or around February 14th.

You also need to determine if you want to sell individual flowers or arrangements.  This can be determined by profit made per sale as well as by simplicity. It is much easier to sell and deliver individual roses for Valentine’s Day than to deliver whole arrangements.

Finally, plan for prizes to help motivate sellers.  The amount spent on prizes should be a very SMALL percentage of the profit.  Don’t be afraid to go to local businesses and ask for donations to use as prizes.  You’d be surprised at how motivating a free pizza or hamburger can be.  Offer a large prize for the top 1-3 sellers.  If possible, offer a small prize to anyone who meets a certain sales target.  For example, it could be a $5 Starbucks gift card for anyone who sells 30 roses.

Organize Your Group

Once you know your product and deadline, recruit and organize participants to do the selling.  How you organize depends on the size of your group. Smaller groups can simply distribute order forms to your participants and have them take orders.

Larger groups will need to break your sellers into smaller groups with each group having a leader.  Some organizations naturally break into groups such as schools. Each classroom becomes a group with the teacher as a leader.  Group leaders are responsible to distribute and collect order forms from the participants.

Promotion and Sales

Get the word out!  Make up the fliers and distribute to friends and family. Use social media to your advantage. Send out invites to order your fundraiser flowers. Take orders as they come in and do not be afraid to follow up with people you have contacted but have not yet placed their order or said they would rather not.

Collect the Orders

Depending on the size of the group, you may want to give 2-3 days for participants to turn in their orders.  However, set a specific date and time by which all orders need to be turned in.  Be sure to emphasize this deadline to participants and group leaders.

Distribution

Some groups, especially larger ones, set a date and time during which customers can come pick up their orders.  Others prefer to deliver which is more personal and shows a bit more customer service.

If you are selling individual roses, it is easy enough to have a list of all participants and have them come and pick up the number of roses they need to deliver to their customers.

If you are selling arrangements, hopefully the florist sorts the orders.  If the florist does not sort orders, you will need to have a team to sort the various flower orders for distribution to individual customers.

If you have a smaller group, simply give the flowers to the participants and let them deliver them.  For larger groups, distribute the orders to the group leaders who, in turn, give the orders to individual participants.  The participants can then deliver the orders.

Throw a Prize Party

The goal of the party is to create a final fun memory associated with the this fundraiser so that your group is motivated for the next one.

Most groups need to fundraise more than one time per year.  Therefore, it is important to keep your group energized and motivated.  Once the fundraiser is done, throw a party for the participants.  It doesn’t have to be expensive.  Just make sure it’s fun.  While at the party, award the top sellers in front of the group and then make a big deal out of distributing the smaller prizes as well.

 

Winter Fundraisers Series: Bowling Fundraiser

Bowling Fundraiser

Fundraising is often done through outdoor events.  Races and golf tournaments raise money for worthy causes.  However, as the cold months roll in, warm clothes and coats get brought out.  During these chilly times, event fundraisers still need to go on.  What can you do for a fundraising event in the winter?

That’s the focus of our Winter Fundraiser Series — fundraisers that can be done in chillier climates.  One event fundraiser you might not have considered is bowling!

Bowling has Wide Appeal

During the cold, winter months, bowling is a great sport to keep people active, and it is comfortable and fun for all ages. The entire family can participate in a bowling night fundraising activity.

It also appeals to athletes and those with a competitive spirit regardless of their ability level.  Bowling provides the friendly competition that they love with bragging rights for the winner.

Done correctly, a bowling fundraiser becomes a great way for everyone to have fun and feel like a winner while raising the necessary funds for your group!

Preparation for the Bowling Fundraiser Event

Organizing a bowling fundraiser is much easier than it may seem.  It doesn’t matter whether your group is large or small.  You simply plan for the number of bowling lanes that you need.

Prepare the Bowling Alley

Contact your local bowling alley and get the rates and available times for your tournament. Many bowling alleys offer hourly rates as well as per game rates.  If your group is large enough, they may offer group discounts based on the number of lanes needed.

Also, ask the bowling alley if they have a room that you can use for a few minutes for the awards ceremony at the end of the event.

Once you have completed your participant registration (see below), be sure to call and reserve the lanes you need.

Set the Registration Price & Prizes for the Winners

Determine the Prizes Offered

Prizes are important.  They are great motivators.  If participants have fun, they will want to do this again, so be sure to have lots of winners.  That is easily done by having many different categories for the prizes.  For example:

  • Highest individual score & highest team score
  • Lowest individual score & lowest team score
  • Most individual gutter balls & most team gutter balls
  • Funniest bowling style / Best professional bowler style
  • Most individual strikes (or spares) / Most team strikes (or spares)
  • Most encouraging person to others
  • Best non-offensive trash talker

Choose what you will offer as a prize for each category.  You might consider bags of candy, inexpensive trophies, homemade trophies, baked prizes, etc.  Get the idea?  The event is meant to be fun, so have fun prizes.  They don’t have to be costly.  Just make sure they don’t look “cheap.”

Be sure to ask individuals as well as local businesses for donations as prizes.  A free pizza from the local restaurant or a free coffee from the local Starbucks makes a great prize.  You can even ask the bowling alley if they will give coupons for free games to use as prizes.  Be inventive.  The less you have in prize cost, the more potential you have for greater profit.

Bowling Prizes
This is a picture a group took of their bowling prizes and sent to TFN. The person in charge of prizes collected old plaques that people were going to throw away. He designed the front of them on his computer and printed them on cardstock. He then pasted the cardstock to the front of the plaque.

Set the Registration Price

Estimate how many people you expect to sign up.  Figure an approximate cost for the prizes and the bowling lanes.  Determine the amount of money that you want to raise from this event.  Now figure out your registration price.

Number of Registrants * Registration Fee = Total Income

Total Income – Bowling Expenses – Prize Cost = Fundraiser Profit

Example for a Small Bowling Group:

Partipants expected:  25 (5 lanes with 5 bowlers each)

Fundraising Goal:  $200
Bowling Alley:  $16 per lane per hour * 5 lanes needed = $80/hour
Prizes:  $50

If you plan to bowl for 2 hours, here’s how it works out.

$160 (alley) + $50 (prizes) = $210 total cost

$200 (goal) + $210 (cost) = $410 minimum amount of money needed to be made

$410 / 25 participants = $17 per bowler for registration fee.

$17 * 25 bowlers = $420 revenue

$425 revenue – $210 cost = $215 profit
(or increase your profit by $75 if you charge a $20 registration fee)

Example for a Large Bowling Group:

Partipants expected:  75 (15 lanes with 5 bowlers each)

Fundraising Goal:  $1000
Bowling Alley:  $16 per lane per hour * 15 lanes = $240/hour
Prizes:  $150

If you plan to bowl for 2 hours, here’s how it works out.

$480 (alley) + $150 (prizes) = $630 total cost

$1000 (goal) + $630 (cost) = $1630 minimum amount of money needed to be made

$1630 / 75 participants = $22 per bowler for registration fee.

$22 * 75 bowlers = $1650 revenue

$1650 revenue – $630 cost = $1020 profit

Start Promoting 4-6 Weeks Before the Event

Set a sign-up deadline and then start promoting.  Whatever you do, make sure that each announcement sounds fun and inviting.

Online Promotions. Send out invitations via email and on social media.  Set up your event on Facebook.  You might also promote it on your web site if you have one.  In each of these cases, include a link to a registration form.

Group Meetings.  If you have group meetings, be sure to announce the bowling fundraiser at each meeting in the 4-6 weeks prior to the event. Have a sign-up sheet at the meeting and let people know where it is.

Register Your Participants & Reserve Your Lanes

Getting your participant count is very important.  Based on the headcount, you will know whether you need to reserve an entire bowling alley or just a few lanes.  You will also know which costs less: reserving the bowling alley per lane or per game.  (The lower the cost, the greater the profits.)

Encourage people to sign up in teams of 5.  (Most lanes will hold 5 bowlers.) Have them choose their own team name.

About 7-14 days before the event, do a final push for sign-ups with a final registration deadline.  Get your final participant count and reserve your lanes at the bowling alley.

Have the Event

 

On the day of the event, everyone shows up at the bowling alley and has lots of fun.  Later, you will need lots of pictures with people having fun.  (See below.)  When you are shooting the pics, include participants bowling, smiling and enjoying themselves.

Here are tips to make coordinating the prizes easier.

– Be sure to have judges (preferably people who are not bowling) who record individual and team scores as the bowling is happening.  Each judge should be able to cover two lanes (since the lanes are side by side).

– If you are bowling by the hour, let everyone know how many games will  count towards prizes.  For example, if you are bowling 2 hours, some teams might be focused and bowl 4 games while others may only bowl 2.  Tell everyone that they can bowl as many games as possible in the 2 hours, but that only the first 2 games (or however many games you choose) will count toward prizes.

– Have a designated “Scoremaster” to whom all the judges turn in the winners in each of the categories for the lanes they were watching.  The judges list should also include the actual scores.

Have the Awards Ceremony

Once the bowling is finished, quickly gather everyone into the side room.  (See “Prepare the Bowling Alley” above.)  The Scoremaster should quickly tally all the results to determine the winners in each category.  In as fun a way as possible, announce each winner and give them their award.

After the Event

Go through your pictures and choose a large number of the best ones.  Post them to your web site or social media.  Be sure to include a list of the winners and say something about how much fun it was.

And remember:  If you do this event well, you might have created an annual fundraising event for your organization. The more fun people have and the more enjoyable memories they create, the better chance they will want to do it again next year!

How to Raise Money with an Ugly Sweater Party

How to Raise Money with an Ugly Sweater Party

Ugly sweater parties are a fun, hip way to raise money. Today, we’ll tell you how to use an ugly sweater party as your next fundraiser. Just follow these simple steps.

1. Source Some Ugly Sweaters

The first thing you’ll need are some ugly sweaters. Start by clearing out your own closet. Next, ask friends to donate unwanted sweaters to your cause. Finally, take a trip to you local thrift shop. Your goal is to spend as little money as possible.

Yes, some people will have their own sweaters to wear. But you’ll want to provide sweaters to the volunteers helping you with your fundraiser. Also, your ugly sweaters are going to be the first item you use to make money!

At your party, you can invite guests to wear their own ugly sweater, or you can give them one in exchange for a donation. It’s like charging an entry fee to your party, where each guest covers the cost of admission with a donation, and gets an ugly sweater in exchange.

2. Plan the Party

Like every type of party, there are common logistics you need to take into account. Here’s a few to get you started:

Guest List. How many people are you inviting? How many do you expect to attend? How are you inviting them?

Venue. Are you renting a hall or event space for your ugly sweater party? Or can you host the fundraiser at someone’s house?

Food & Drink. What food will you serve? Will this be included in the cost of entry? Will you be serving alcohol?

Making Money At The Party. What other items or services can you monetize at your fundraiser? Will you have a 50/50? Raffle off any prizes? Or are you just taking direct “sweater donations?”

3. Promote Your Ugly Sweater Party Fundraiser

Get the word out! Tell people all about your party and why you’re having it. Don’t just promote the ugly sweaters. Use this opportunity to let everyone know about your fundraiser’s cause.

Word-of-mouth is the most effective way to get people interested in your cause and event. Invite everyone in your personal network. If you’re running a public event, consider using social media to promote the event.

Don’t forget to let people know that when they donate to your fundraiser, you will provide them with an ugly sweater at the party!

4. Have an Awesome Ugly Sweater Party!

Do everything you can to prepare for the party… and then have a great time!

Make sure you have plenty of ugly sweaters to trade for donations. Have some kind of live entertainment for people to enjoy – even if it’s just music and room to dance.

Take lots of pictures and interact with all your guests. If they have a good time, you have a better chance at getting more donations!

5. Thank Everyone Who Came & Share The Memories

After the party is over, reach out to everyone who came. Thank them for attending your party and supporting your fundraiser.

Share the photos you took during the event with guests. Post the pics on your fundraising website or social media. Show everyone how much fun was had at your ugly sweater party!

New Year’s “Game Day” Fundraiser

New Years Game Day Fundraiser

When family and friends get together, there is often a fundraising opportunity that presents itself. Close friends and family are perfect prospects when it comes to raising funds. Everybody likes to help a good cause, especially when they care for the person that is presenting the opportunity. Loved ones are there to support one-another.

New Years is one of those perfect times to present a fundraiser. You may often overlook the men in the family when it comes to fundraising, but this fun way to raise money will have everyone all in — even the men!

The idea is centered around football.

The big game is just as much a part of New Years Day as pumpkin pie is to Thanksgiving. Everybody will have fun with this particular game.

The Fundraiser

The idea is that everybody involved picks a team during the game. Whenever the “other” team scores one or more points against “your” team, you put a contribution of a quarter or more (perhaps even a dollar) in your collection jar (details below). Everybody is bound to get into this one, as it makes for friendly competition that contributes to a great cause.

This game not only brings more fun to New Years, but it is easy to perform. The plan-ahead preparation is even easier than most fundraisers. You do not need much to add this to your holiday.

The Set Up

Getting Organized

It is best to start planning and collecting the materials needed as soon as possible. You will need a set of collection jars (or other containers) to hand out and retrieve. Plan your collection method prior to making your announcements. It is best to have everything in order prior to presenting the fundraiser.

Make a list of the participants. Think of as many people as you can. The fundraiser does not need to be limited to your household. Invite neighbors, teachers, friends, family and, if you make it online too, even people you know across the country to participate in this online version that will contribute to your fundraiser.

Set Up Your Donations Method

There are two primary methods used to collect the funds afterward.

Collect the Money in Person

In the past, this has been the most common way to collect the money.  Designate one to two people to collect the funds.  Plan for the collection.  If you are collecting the actual funds, make it as convenient as possible.  Though you could have participants “bring in” the money, you might consider offering to pick the jars up.

Online Collection

With the internet, you literally can make this fundraiser nationwide.  Therefore, you need a way to collect the funds nationwide.  First, you need to set up a donations page.  HelpaFund has been working with all sorts of groups doing just that.  Click here and set up your donations page with them.

Instruct all your participants that once the fundraiser is completed, they should count the money in their donation jar and then use your donations page to send in the money.

HelpaFund keeps a very small percentage, but it’s worth it.  They take the headache out of collecting funds, they allow you to collect funds nationwide, and they provide many other benefits.  Check out our two other articles for more information.

Promoting Your Fundraiser

Promoting the fundraiser will be simple, especially using social media. Create an event on Facebook that has all the details, then get the word out.

  • Schedule one or more Facebook live sessions to present the idea.
  • Tweet a picture about the event with a link to your Facebook event page.
  • Have a group meeting where you present the fundraiser.
  • Present this idea face to face with whomever you think would benefit from that interaction.
  • If you have a place where people frequent (such as a school or church), put up flyers.
  • Send out letters and/or emails. Emails are very good when you are collecting online donations (see above).

Doing Your Fundraiser on New Years Day

If you are Doing the Fundraiser Online

Game watchers who are doing the fundraiser online do not necessarily need  a jar.  As their team is scored against, they can either write IOU’s that they drop in a hat or jar, or they can simply write down their donations on a piece of paper during the game.  At the end of the game, donations are totaled and made online on the donations page.

Build Excitement on Game Day

Use your Facebook event page to get your participants to tell you which games they are watching.  Post the game scores.  Get your participants commenting and posting pictures on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  Get people interacting about the games and the amounts donated.

Collect Your Donations

Think of the  best way to collect the donations after the event for your group or organization.  After the fundraiser is done, either the participants bring all the money collected to the collector(s) or the collector(s) visit each participant and get the jars.

For online donations

As discussed above, if you are using online donations, collections are easy and convenient for everyone.  You should have already instructed people how to make the donations.  After the fundraiser, your designated collector simply needs to be available to answer questions in case any donators need help.

 

Fundraising can be enjoyable. This holiday and sports event will greatly benefit your efforts, while providing family fun. Enjoy your New Years!

 

How to Use Crowdfunding for Your Next Fundraiser

How to Use Crowdfunding for Your Next Fundraiser

Crowdfunding can be a great way to bring together you donor network and surround them around your cause. Today, we’ll show you how to use crowdfunding for your next fundraiser.

Here’s three steps every cause can follow to successfully crowdfund a campaign:

1. Choose The Right Crowdfunding Platform

Before you can launch your campaign, you need a platform to host the fundraiser.

Crowdfunding with Expertise in Fundraising

If you are looking for a platform that has experience in the fundraising industry with both large and small groups, HelpaFund is a great platform.  It was developed by a gentleman with years of working with fundraising groups and individuals.  They provide all sorts of helps to aid you in your crowdfunding fundraiser.

  • Audio tips for your campaign set-up stages
  • Provide music on campaigns if you want it
  • Provide Entertainment discount cards for rewards (see details on their web site)
  • They even let you create your own rewards.
  • They have share tools.  All crowdfunding uses Facebook of course, but not everyone has a Facebook account. You can also share on Instagram (younger people use that over Facebook) and a Text tool that can be done from a smartphone. (About 98% of people read their text messages, so this is an extremely effective tool.)
  • They even help your crowdfunding campaign get found in search engines.

Product Development or Creative Fundraising

If you have a product that you want to get off the ground, then Kickstarter might be right for you.  People can pledge money to your cause through their site. Your project only funds if you meet or exceed your fundraising goal. If your project is successful, Kickstarter takes a 5% fee of the money raised – and there is a 3-5% payment processing fee. Keep in mind, Kickstarter can only be used for “creative projects.” For more information check out the Kickstarter FAQ and their Creator Handbook.

General Crowdfunding Service

If you are just looking for a general crowdfunding service, GoFundMe offers fundraising services for all causes. Set your crowdfunding goal and you get every donation your campaign raises. The type of campaign you run determines the fee GoFundMe.com attaches to your fundraiser.

2. Make Sure to Provide Compelling Information on Your Crowdfunding Page

This is your opportunity to let donors know who you are, how much money you need and what you’ll use it for.  The old saying, “A Picture Paints a Thousand Words,” is true.  Be sure to provide pictures along with compelling information about your fundraiser and how the funds will be used.

If possible, set up a video for your crowdfunding page.  That way, when potential donors visit your crowdfunding page, the first thing they will see and hear is a video about your cause.

If you need to raise a lot of money or explain an in-depth cause, see a professional filmmaker (think local) might donate part or all of their services to make your crowdfunding video. Tell them what you need the video to do and let them actualize your vision. Some crowdfunding campaigns budget their video production into their fundraising expenses.

3. Launch and Monitor An Engaging Campaign

After you’ve created your crowdfunding page and populated it with information, it’s time to launch your campaign!

The first few days are your best chance to gain traction. Get as many eyes on your crowdfunding page as possible. Share your fundraiser across all social media platforms, and get your network to do the same.

Release daily content related to your crowdfunding campaign. This could be photos of the people / project your fundraiser will benefit, or status updates on how much money you’ve raised so far.

Check out how your promotional content is performing. What posts drive the most traffic to your crowdfunding page? What kind of donors are you attracting? Use this information to refine your crowdfunding efforts.

You want to constantly engage your audience with meaningful updates. Keep attracting new donors until your campaign ends!

 

So what you waiting for?  Start your crowdfunding!

Why You Really Need to use Crowdfunding for Your Next Fundraiser

Why You Really Need to use Crowdfunding for Your Next Fundraiser

Fundraisers are crucial when collecting money to support what is important to you. It opens many doors that would otherwise remain closed. There are many ways to raise funds for your need.

The amount of strategies are endless. People often only consider one option: selling items. This category can include bake sales or other craft sales. You may have only considered fundraisers to be events such as these. However, you can truly get creative with ways to raise money.

Have you considered crowdfunding? You may have heard of it, especially with so many people opening up a crowdfunding account to raise significant amounts of money. You may have seen people sharing a funding page on social media. Huge amounts of money have been raised using this method of fundraising.

There are several reasons to use crowdfunding for your next fundraiser…

Crowdfunding

Extends Your Reach for Funds

Crowdfunding has brought fundraising to the internet. Never before has it been this easy reach sources for fundraising. You will literally be reaching a crowd, as crowdfunding is a form of crowdsourcing.

Crowdfunding allows your fundraising abilities to reach further heights. You can share your crowdfunding account over social media. People who care about you and your cause can also share it with their friends and followers. This creates a nearly limitless reach for funds.

Size Doesn’t Matter

Larger groups have the power of numbers, but small groups and individuals often face a much harder battle of trying to raise money.  If you or someone that you know has ever been faced with the burden of raising a large amount of money, you know how overwhelming it can feel.

You may have heard of people raising large amounts of money for trips through this type of funding. There are also many tragic situations that people feel compelled to support through crowdfunding. It is truly an easy and effective way to raise funds for your cause.

With crowdfunding, any person or group can use social media to amplify themselves.  Your online friends suddenly are an opportunity to turn yourself or your small group into a large one as they help you get the word out.

Every Cause Matters

Crowdfunding can be used for any and every cause. The range is limitless, so do not count your fundraiser out. Crowdfunding is used for a variety of needs. People have fully funded travel using the method. Entrepreneurs have been successful with funding their business ventures. Artists have also benefited from crowdfunding.

It’s Easy!

Set up a donations page and then use social media to get the word out.  HelpaFund has been working with all sorts of groups and individuals to do just that.  Click here and set up your donations page with them.

There’s No Up-Front Cost

There’s no cost to set up an account, and you don’t have any fees unless people actually make donations.  As for fees, HelpaFund keeps a very small percentage, but it’s worth it.  They take the headache out of collecting funds, they allow you to collect funds nationwide, and they provide many other benefits.

 

There is no reason that you should not incorporate crowdfunding into your fundraising strategies. You will be shocked at the reach your fundraiser has through crowdfunding. If you have a steep goal, then you should definitely consider crowdfunding. The amount of money you could raise is limitless. Do not underestimate people’s willingness to contribute to your cause. Reach the power of human kindness by using this crowdfunding resource today!

Five Star Fundraising’s Choice for Holiday Shops for Schools

The holidays are just a few short months away, and they provide a fantastic opportunity for an elementary school fundraiser:  a holiday shop.  There are a number of shops from which to choose, but the one that Five Star Fundraising likes best is the Lil’ Shoppers Shop.

Holiday Shop from Five Star Fundraising
During the holiday season, parents can rest assured that their children will shop in a safe, non-commercial setting. Teachers love it… Your faculty can teach their students about budgeting and spending wisely at the school holiday gift store, and emphasize the joy of giving.

Lil’ Shoppers Shop is an in-school holiday shopping program that has been around for 35 years.  As a family-owned business, they have helped literally thousands of volunteers raise money for their school or organization.

Lil’ Shoppers Shop is simple and straightforward. Choose your preferred dates to run your shop. This fundraiser then gives you everything you need to run a successful holiday shop from posters to parent letters to gift bags. They also provide pre-priced tent cards, box inventory sheets, closing sale sheet, and they all have pictures of items to make set up, shopping and closing your holiday shop easy!

The Shop features over 110 quality holiday gift items carefully priced within a child’s budget ranging from a pocket change to $10.00. Most of the gifts are around $3. What’s good about this shop is your child can buy gift items for their whole family as well as their friends.

Features Of Lil’ Shopper’s Shop

One of the best features of Lil’ Shoppers Shop is that it is risk-free.  All items are on consignment.  After the fundraiser is over, return the unsold merchandise (no freight charges).  There are no hidden costs.  You pay after the sale is over!

The gifts are considered top quality and are approved by Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA). There is something for everyone. Of course, they are priced for kids as well.  You can see the gifts available here.

This elementary school fundraiser is convenient too.  There’s no door-to-door selling or your child asking the same people to buy something from them again.  Instead, parents appreciate that (1) the entire fundraiser is in-school so the children are safe and under adult supervision, and (2) it doesn’t add something else to their to-do list.

Lil’ Shoppers Shop is versatile as well.  You can set your own prices.  This allows you to make more profit.

Other Benefits of Lil’ Shoppers Shop

Lil' Shopper's ShoppeNo one wants the same stuff year after year.  That’s why Lil’ Shoppers Shop provides a complete new line of holiday gifts every year. You’re not getting closeouts or fundraising overstocks. If your inventory gets low or runs out, you get free UPS Next Day Air Reorders. In fact, you can place your reorder every day of your sale.  Using the custom Chairperson Web Site, you can track inventory, re-orders and invoices 24 hours a day.

To make purchases easy, the merchandise is price-coded so you don’t have to look up the price of each item.  The program also provides you with a Cash Register App!  It runs on Apple devices (iPhone, iPad, iTouch) and Android, but you can also access it online from any internet-enabled computer, tablet or smart phone.

There are even guarantees. There is a $5.00 guarantee to make sure every child will get exactly what they want for holidays. They provide a 100% Product satisfaction Guarantee.  In fact, broken and damaged items can be replaced, and you can even get a refund for any reason.

There’s one final benefit that you will definitely want to know.  If you sign up early, you can choose a sign-up BONUS!

Make your students jolly this holiday season! Call Five Star Fundraising toll free for more information — 1-877-699-7807.  Ask for Matt and tell him The Fundraising Network sent you.

*Photos used with permission by Five Star Fundraising

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.