Variety or selection means more sales
A wider variety and better selection offers a greater likelihood a potential customer will find one or more items that they want to buy. You’ve gone to a lot of effort to put your fundraiser message in front of each prospect. Avoid disappointing them by broadening your selection. Note: Too many products can be confusing, so find a happy medium.
Caliber of supplier
A high quality supplier will focus on satisfying their customers to earn repeat business. A supplier of shoddy merchandise knows you won’t be coming back for more and acts accordingly. Look for Better Business Bureau affiliation and membership in AFRDS. (Association of Fundraising Distributors and Suppliers)
Quality of support materials
Interview sales reps from suppliers. Ask for samples and compare to their brochures. Be sure that the collateral materials that your sellers will show to potential buyers are in color and that they contain appropriate descriptions that are easy to read.
Ease of sale
The product selected for the fundraiser should be an easy sale. You don’t want to put your participants at a severe disadvantage with hard-to-sell goods. Generally, high quality goods at attractive prices sell themselves.
Feel Good Rating
See our Section on Fundraiser Ratings. Each major type of fundraiser is analyzed and ranked. A unique Feel Good Rating is assigned to each category that reflects how your organization’s participants and supporters will most likely feel about that particular style of fundraising.
Sales incentives provided
Check to see if sales incentives are included in the prices quoted. Net them out if you don’t want them, but don’t forget their real purpose. Sales incentives exist to motivate your sellers to do their best. Don’t put a disincentive program into place. See the Section on Incentives and Rewards for more details.
Extra discounts and freebies
Always ask for extra discounts before you place your order. “Is that the best you can do?” Just asking that question will often get you an extra few percentage points. Also, find out if there are bonus offerings available based on the size of your order. If you don’t ask, you’ll never know for sure that you got the best price.
Check the quality of packaging on sample products. Remember that your customers are often repeat buyers on future fundraisers. Poor quality packaging usually indicates poor quality merchandise. Also, the shipment packaging of sample merchandise is often a true reflection of how well your actual shipment will be packaged. Damaged goods can be a major headache.
Check out all support materials in advance. How easy to tally are the supplier’s order forms? Does the supplier provide an individual order tally sheet with each lot being pre-sorted within the main shipment?
Displays and samples
You can’t always judge a book by its cover. Be sure to get samples of as much of the catalog as the supplier will send. Find out if there’s a charge for it or if there are free samples. Are there display materials available for items sold? Check the quality of these and compare it to the comparably priced retail equivalent.
Determine ahead of time what the return policies are. Are partially sold case lots returnable? Is there a customer satisfaction guarantee? Are undelivered goods returnable? Who pays the freight for the return?
What guarantees does the supplier offer on things such as damaged goods? Do you have to pay in advance for replacement goods? Is there a customer satisfaction guarantee on food items?
Turn around time on orders
Find out how quickly your potential supplier ships an average order. If the timeframe quoted is one to three weeks, that’s about normal. Try to get a firm timeline established ahead of time. Once you sign the agreement, you’re stuck and your bargaining power is zilch. Pay careful attention to what their policy is on backordered items.
Click Here for Selecting the Right Fundraiser – Part 5
Click Here for Selecting the Right Fundraiser – Part 3