Fundraising Basics 4

Fundraising Basics – Part 4: Execution – The final part of the fundraising basics series covers the proper execution of your fundraiser. Includes fundraising strategy tips, sales boosters, sales preparation, customer satisfaction and more. Fundraisers do better with proper execution.

Now that we’ve covered the basics of being prepared and organized, it’s time to move on to the successful execution of your fundraiser. A successful marketing strategy involves being prepared, having a solid organization behind you, and doing the best possible job of marketing and delivering your product.

Define your core market
Focus first on your core market. Have each seller make a list of their best prospects. Make sure that each seller is prepared with a sales script on what to say and has TWO different offerings to promote. Have each team leader review results with their sales team every few days.

Have a strategy
Strategize on how to get more customers. Work with merchants to put a sales table outside their stores. Have a fast start sales bonus tied to hitting certain goals the first weekend. Ask parents for ideas.

Give volunteers real responsibility
Let your volunteers run with the ball, but call and check in with them on a regular basis. Knowing that you have confidence in them means a lot to most people.

Use a four-letter word
Offer extra value above and beyond high-quality merchandise. Use a shocking four-letter word in your fundraiser that’s guaranteed to get their attention. That word is “FREE”. Your prospects will be more receptive to a pitch that has the word free in it. Go the extra mile and give them something free like merchant coupons and your group’s sales success will amaze you.

Kickoff meeting
Do a formal kickoff campaign to boost results. It increases both participation and awareness of your specific goal. You need everyone on the same page as far as understanding your specific goals and motivating your group to reach them.

Be prepared to sell
Equip your sales team to sell successfully. Make sure that they have high-quality sales materials, understand their order forms, have a sales script to follow, and are able to recite the specific reason for this fundraiser.

Focus on satisfying customers
Offer good products and do what you say you’re going to do. If you satisfy people, they’ll buy from you year after year. Disappoint them and you’ve made it easy to say no the next time around.

Don’t let problems fester. Communicate immediately with the customer if there’s a problem. Work to find a solution that’s a win-win but remember that the customer is always right. Bad word of mouth will kill your reputation.

Coordinate with other group activities
Check your planned dates against school calendar, with area competitors, and against other important community events. Don’t set delivery day for right near a holiday or where it might conflict with a sports team’s schedule.

Don’t disrupt the classroom, organization, or workplace with fundraising activities. Keep organization and sales campaigns within the appropriate bounds.

Delivery requirements differ
The two primary types of major fundraisers differ in product delivery. One has the product in hand during a sales situation; the other is taking orders and collecting funds in advance for future delivery of product.

Obviously, immediate delivery fundraisers have simple delivery logistics. Just distribute the sales package to each seller, and then collect the cash and unsold merchandise the next week. Consolidate leftover product and have a sidewalk sale to move it quickly.

With catalog sales, the delivery process is more complicated. An incoming delivery from a supplier may or may not be presorted. Some items like cases of citrus fruit require heavy lifting. Others like cookie dough require refrigeration. Christmas gift-wrap sales require tracking many small orders.

Have enough volunteers
Be sure to have enough volunteers to handle the delivery logistics. How many and when you’ll need them will depend on the type of fundraiser. Know before you start a fundraiser that you have enough help lined up to handle the delivery needs.

Thank early and often
Always thank all participants – buyers, sellers, and volunteers. Celebrate group achievements. Have a group potluck supper to present awards and certificates of merit. Praise those who deserve it and let the others draw inspiration from a peer recognition event.

Record keeping
File all records where they can be retrieved when needed. It’s important to keep them for tax purposes. They’re also helpful in determining what past results were and what areas could be improved. Your successor will thank you for this!

Fundraising Basics – Summary

The vast majority of Americans purchase multiple fundraising items each year. It makes sense to be organized in order to get your fair share of that support. It also makes sense to execute well on the basics in order to win the loyalty of your supporters for future fundraising efforts.

Fundraising has a number of benefits. It promotes school/team spirit, community involvement, and organizational skills. Fundraising fosters awareness within the participants that effort and results are directly linked. This alone is a great lesson to kids.

By doing the basics right, you’re doing everyone a community service.
Click here for Fundraising Basics – Part 3

Click here for Fundraising Basics – Part 1