Holiday Fundraising – Part 2

Holiday fundraising can be an option for many non-profit groups. Schools, churches and youth sports groups can all benefit from holiday fundraisers.

Part one looked at Christmas tree and wreath sales as a way of raising funds for non-profit groups. In part two, we’ll look at a common but profitable holiday fundraiser, catalog sales.

Wrapping Paper and Catalog Sales

Many fundraising suppliers offer a wide variety of fundraiser catalogs. Many of these catalogs include holiday items, especially wrapping paper, ornaments, candy, and holiday gifts.

The first step is deciding what your group will sell. Some things to take into consideration are the supplier’s terms, payment options, and profit margins. While some companies offer similar or even the same catalogs, the percentage of profit your group keeps can vary.

Look for the companies that allow your group to keep the most profit from your sales. Remember to look at shipping costs, whether your group will have to pay any money up front, and other options offered such as online sales.

Start early and recruit your volunteers right away. Logistics can be tricky if you don’t have a solid plan for catalog and order form distribution, product pick-up or delivery, and so on.

Begin advertising right away via email lists, newsletters, bulletin boards, notes home, and any other means to get the word out. Schedule time at a PTA meeting, practice session, weekend game, or any other forum that you are likely to get the largest audience of participants.

I always like to suggest some role playing that will show young sellers how to make the most sales. What should they say to their neighbor, grandparents, family friends, or anyone else they may approach to sell catalog items?

A seller with a positive attitude and a smile will always produce more results than the one who mumbles at his feet and doesn’t clearly state the message.

“Hi! My school/basketball team/youth group is having a fundraiser to raise money for playground equipment/team uniforms/mission trip. We could really use your help. Would you like to look through this catalog to see if there is anything you’d like to purchase? The wrapping paper is really great!”

Never, never, never allow a child to sell door to door alone.

Be sure to allow about three weeks between handing out catalogs and order forms and the deadline for turning in all order materials. Two weeks is too short a time to get the best results, and four weeks allows time for the fundraiser to be forgotten or to lose the order materials.

After all items have been delivered and are ready for pick-up, plan to have two or three order pick-up days. Plan one on a weekday, one on a weekday evening, and one on the weekend. This allows people with varying schedules to find a time that works for them.

Volunteers will be needed to handle calls about returns, damaged items, and so on. Be sure to clearly state the deadline for any returns or exchanges.

Record your experience with doing this type of fundraiser including the fundraising supplier you used. The person or committee that will plan next year’s fundraiser will be grateful for the information.

As always, remember to say thank you to your customers, sellers, and most especially to your volunteers!