“Booking a fundraiser is simple right? You just place an order, set up a display and the products sell themselves!”
If only it was this easy!
We have created a list of the top 4 mishaps we hear about in the wonderful (but often unpredictable) world of Spring Fair and Fete fundraising, along with some suggested prevention strategies.
It’s great to be ambitious but being too ambitious can backfire – you don’t want to be stuck with lots of left overs and even if your chosen company accepts returns, the more you have to return, the more it will cost in postage which could take big chunk out of your profits.
It’s important to be optimistic, but also realistic. Set reasonable targets and celebrate when you exceed them! You can also talk to your chosen provider about “top up” options. If this is something they offer, you can hand out order forms to anyone wanting products that have sold out.
Assuming the products will sell themselves.
You might love the products, but others may need a little help in understanding them and sharing your enthusiasm.
Solution: Communication and lots of it! Let families, staff and the community know about the fundraiser well ahead of time with posters, newsletter inserts and good ol’ fashioned word of mouth. Why did you choose these particular products? What is good about them? Where will the funds go?
Give people a real reason to jump on board before it even begins and then on the day, adorn your display with posters, samples, flyers and anything else that grabs attention and creates a talking point.
Not asking for help.
Coordinating a fundraiser is a big task and if not done properly, can really affect results. If you’re lucky, friends, teachers or staff may jump in to help when you’re headed for struggle street, but you shouldn’t rely on this.
Enlist support early.
This is sometimes easier said than done – quite often you’ll start out with a bunch of enthusiastic people willing to lend a hand, only to find out at the last minute that they have abandoned you. This is why it is a good idea to put people’s roles in writing before you even order. You don’t have to write out a Terms of Reference or anything formal like that, but emailing a list to the committee will help keep people accountable and weed out the “all-talkers”.
Allowing negative feedback to put you off.
It’s true what they say… you can’t win em all! Whether it’s fellow committee members, parents or the general public, it’s hard not to take negative feedback personally, but it’s important to soldier on, before, during and after the fundraiser.
Solution: Do your research, know your products and profits, and believe in your decisions. Have a mental list of why you like the products, why they work well for your group and how they are going to raise lots of funds! Show people you have thought things through and are in control.
Things didn’t quite go to plan? Stand strong and learn for next time.
Lastly, evaluate each fundraiser you undertake and make improvements for the next one. Speak to your chosen fundraising providers and ask their advice on how to maximise your next campaign.
Unfortunately, fundraising is not a “one size fits all” scenario; every school and community is different so trial and error is often a frustrating reality. The concept of “learning as you go” couldn’t be truer when it comes to fundraising but if you do your research and talk through your plans with an expert, you’re on the road to success.
What other advice would you give? Share with us in the comments.