By Monique Rowe
Gather your group and designate a project for the funds
Look at past efforts and their success, this will indicate what to expect.. Select key dates: date to begin and end. Be sure to allow for two full weekends. Start on a Thursday or Friday and continue through two weekends and end on a Monday or Tuesday. Tuesday is ideal; it allows for a deadline reminder to be sent home on Monday. Be sure to notify all sellers and parents of these dates. The reminders will help stick to the schedule.
Be realistic in the goal
Break it down by sellers so you know how to achieve the goal. If there are 100 potential sellers then what percentage will participate? Look at past fundraisers, participation will be an indicator of the possibility of reaching your goal. Decide how checks need to be made out, be sure to let the sellers know; this will alleviate hesitation in giving out a blank check. You can even print stickers and place them on the order forms. This will help customers and make it easier for them to make a purchase. (checks should be payable to your group / organization; In turn you will request from DiamondCreek Candles a PayPal Invoice to be sent via Email or you can log onto our fundraiser password protected website where you can order)
Select the fundraising company
Keep a file of all fundraising information as it arrives. This file will be helpful in selecting the company you will use for your fundraiser. Will this be an order-taker in which the product is not ordered until the completion, or will it be an actual sale where product is ordered in advance and then sold? The up-front money is a key to this type fundraiser. The order-taker fundraiser will allow you to collect funds before placing the order. The order is then paid for with the collected funds – thus no money is needed in advance and no product is left over at the completion of the fundraiser.
Elect a committee chairperson
This individual will be the final authority of the fundraiser. He/She will need assistance but will coordinate the fundraiser implementation process. This person will designate a responsible party to collect the orders and monies during the process. Be sure the fundraising company has a phone number to assist with the fundraising process and they are available to answer any questions as they arise.
Enlist volunteers to help with the fundraiser
You will need them to pass out flyers, assemble the orders and funds, and place the order with the fundraising company. Be sure to ask the fundraising company to sort the order for your group by seller, this will save volunteer time.
Designate a shipping location
Be sure to schedule volunteers to help when the order arrives at the designated location. Orders will need to be distributed to the sellers when they arrive. Send a letter home with students to announce the upcoming fundraiser, goals, and how the funds will be used. This will help build excitement and increase sales.
Have a kick-off assembly
Tell the students why they are raising funds, and how those funds will be used – show pictures if they are available. It will help the student enthusiasm if the principal agrees to perform a fun task, or if the faculty performs a fun task. Tell about the prizes for the top sellers. Be sure to schedule a party or event for the top selling class. This will also help build excitement among the sellers.
Be sure the sellers collect funds as the orders are taken, this will alleviate collection later and your group will have the funds up front. Collection up front will make the fundraiser essentially over when the products are distributed to the sellers. There is no money to collect or turn in – it is all done.
Be sure to announce daily about the fundraiser and remind the students and faculty of the selling time available. Announce the ending date and when and where orders need to be turned in as completed.
Allow for orders to be turned in late before the order is completed and turned in to the fundraising company. Assemble orders and verify all funds have been turned in prior to completing the order. Fill out the order form designated by the fundraising company properly. This will make distribution easier and go more smoothly when the order arrives at the designated location. Be sure to calculate who the top sellers are and who will win the prizes.
Have a wrap-up assembly to announce the outcome of the fundraiser. Recognize the top sellers and top group. Announce the prize winners and the date for the group prize. The principal can perform whatever fun task they have agreed to do.
A good company, such as Diamond Creek Candles, will schedule delivery with your location as soon as the order ships. They will provide you with all tracking information so you can keep a close eye on the status of your delivery. This will allow you to announce a delivery date and plan for parents to pick up the orders to deliver to customers. Be sure to notify the parents as soon as possible so they will be available to help the students if the merchandise is heavy.
Be sure to have plenty of help on hand for this task. There will be multiple boxes and some may be heavy. You may want to arrange for a two wheel dolly to help with this task. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes, this may take time depending on the number of volunteers scheduled to assist.
Recognize the success
If there is a participation prize, be sure to distribute the prizes as soon as they arrive. Announce the party date if the top selling group wins a group prize such as a pizza party or ice cream party. Make all the arrangements for the party. Be sure to invite the parents to attend the party.
Schedule a wrap-up meeting for the committee
Critique what was done well and what was done not so well. Be sure to evaluate all aspects of the fundraiser no matter how small the details. This will only help the next fundraising efforts of your group. Be sure to keep files of all notes and hand-outs. This is the most critical step in any fundraising group.
Monique Rowe is a stay at home mom who loves to work with organizations to raise funds for their projects. She sells candles for fundraising and says they are yummy to look at as well as to smell!