Fundraising Tips and Advice
Over the years, our fundraising customers, and their friends and family, have provided us with their best selling practices, and combined with our expertise, we'd like to share this information with you. This will help you raise the most money, and ensure you have satisfied repeat supporters of your fundraising sales.
First, some tips on increasing your overall sales:
Unless you know your neighbors, avoid door-to-door sales.
Ask local businesses to sell your candy bars for you, by placing them on their counter with a sign from your organization.
Ask local businesses if you can sell outside their front doors, or walk through their establishment and sell to their customers.
Ask friends and family to take a box or two to work and help sell for you.
Visit local sporting events before, during, and after the game.
Visit National retailers and ask the store manager if you can schedule a sale day on their premises.
Be a salesperson! "Candy bars are $1.00 - or buy 5 get 1 free!" While this will reduce your overall percentage of profit, you will up-sell far more candy bars, giving you a higher dollar profit over a shorter period of time.
Please and Thank You goes a long way, even if they do not buy from you - just keep smiling and there's a good chance they'll be back and buy from you next time they see you.
Keep 'em cold! Store them in 45-65 degree heat (standard room temperature is fine). If you're selling outdoors in the hot sun, be sure to have a cooler and some ice packs or ice. Avoid direct sunlight (car windows) and keep away from pets, insects, etc.
Be friendly - if you are selling on location, hold the door open, or offer to help carry a bag - your generosity will most likely pay off in the end.
Tell them why you're selling - no one wants to think they are paying for your cell phone bill. Make sure they know what their supportive dollars are going towards, such as to rent an instrument and buy a new lesson book.
Travel - many surrounding communities work together, so be sure to visit your bordering towns when selling on location, as you'll greatly increase your chances of selling more.
Power in numbers - the bigger your "sales force", the more money you and your organization will make. Imagine only one person selling on location at a big box retail store, trying to talk, pick out the candy bars, and count money. Now, imagine how much better you would do with 2 or 3 or more per door per location. Same goes for walking around sporting events.
Now, on to tips for making your "job" as the fundraising coordinator as easy as can be:
Use the Parent Letter
to determine how many boxes you need per seller, and if you have special requests for only 1 flavor per box.
Standard sales, where the seller or parent just takes the box(es) to work, or asks a few neighbors or relatives, are common. A good starting point for this is 1-2 boxes per seller. Then as they sell out, you can order more. You'll also find that you'll eventually get requests for a single flavor, because someone at work keeps buying the same kind.
Don't over-order. You don't want to chance sitting on a lot of unsold inventory, or having requests for single flavors and you still have plenty of full mixes left. Use the 1-2 box per seller as a starting guideline, and use the Parent Letter
if you want to get exactly what everyone requests.
Selling on-site? Sales can vary an incredible amount. Some groups have sold almost 100 boxes in a weekend by selling at 2-3 location in the same parking lot, with a lot of kids and over 2 long days. but, the end result was making about $2,000 for their efforts. One person should be able to sell 2-5 boxes within a few hours on average. If you walk through a bowling alley during league season, you can sell a box in about 5 minutes. Consider where you are selling, for how long, over how many days, and whether you will be selling after the on-site sale to friends and family, at work, or anywhere else.
Collecting money and paying Fowler's:
You really have 3 options for collecting from your sellers - collect 100% upfront ($48 per box), collect your balance due to Fowler's of 50% upfront ($24 per box), or give them time to sell and collect at a later date. It may not be easy for the seller to pay you 100% upfront - but it also may not be easy for you to collect 100% later. You could take a post-dated check from the seller to help ensure they sell and you get paid.
How and when you collect the money is entirely up to you - but remember you and the organization are responsible for paying Fowler's regardless of if you've been given all of the money. Also, you cannot place another order until any existing order is paid for. So, if you have a couple sellers that are selling candy bars extremely fast, but you haven't gotten money yet from your sellers to pay the invoice, you cannot get any more boxes to your top sellers until the open invoice is paid in full.
Collecting the money owed to you in time to pay Fowler's is not something you should have to spend a lot of time on. But be aware that while a rare occurrence, sellers and parents may leave your organization without paying you what they owe, and you are still responsible to pay Fowler's for your entire order. Consider the #1 reason you are selling is to raise money. You can't raise money if the boxes aren't paid for - so be sure you set strict guidelines for collecting money from your parents/sellers.
Some organizations can pay an invoice immediately, while others take a long time to authorize and process your payment. You may need to pay the invoice yourself, and then request reimbursement from the organization, in order to avoid a late payment.