It seems that most companies these days have a fundraising component to them that you can promote as a consultant. Your company may have rules about who can participate and it may not. Make sure you know what this involves as this can be a lucrative option.
That said, fundraisers can be difficult to get. Everyone tends to want them as they are a great method of generating sales and repeat customers. Think about how many people who could be introduced to your product if the organization needs to sell 500 units of your product to make their goals! And if only a few of them came to you later to have a party, you could be setup quite nicely!
pile of money (Photo credit: axlape)
A few things to keep in mind when doing a fundraiser:
Communication is key! You need to keep in touch with the organizer and make sure you are both on the same page.
Make sure they know what is expected of them and what you will be doing. I highly recommend going through this with the organizer and writing it down for both of you.
Set the end date a few days before you really want it to end. This should get those stragglers in by the real end date. Hint: Don’t tell the organizer you are doing this – sometimes they are the straggler!
When it comes time to sort of the fundraiser, see if the organization is okay with you doing a little bit of promotion with it. For instance, you may want to put reorder stickers on your product if it is something that you can do that with. You may want to put some business cards in the bag for them. Maybe you want to offer them something special if they book a party or their own fundraiser within 30 days of delivery.
If possible, you may want to follow up with those that purchased to see what they think of the product. This will depend on the information that the organization gives you and what you ask for. If you only get the grand totals of product, you may not know who ordered what which will limit your ability to make calls.
A fundraiser is a great way to get your name out there and to give your business a boost, especially if you are able to continue promoting it after the event is done!
As with anything, the best thing you can do is communicate. Talk to the organizer before the event and put in writing when things are going to happen when. I have heard stories of consultants having issues with the organization so putting it in writing and giving each person a copy will hopefully help.
Date fundraiser starts
What the consultant is providing and if there are costs associated with it
The cost of the fundraising supplies if the organization is paying
Date fundraiser closes (I suggest a date a few days before you actually want to close due to stragglers)
What the consultant expects back and if there are costs associated with it
Does the organization give you one big order – 20 A, 27 B, 21 C – or do they give you the small orders?
How does payment work?
When shipment is expected (will be based on closing/ordering date)
Where the shipment will be delivered?
Who will be sorting out the shipment?
Are there any other things that you think need to be discussed with the organization when doing a fundraiser?
First of all, you will have to make sure you are present when the orders are sorted. You should be doing this regardless in case there are problems or confusion with the orders.
The most obvious thing to do is to put re-order stickers on all your products if it possible. This does not take away from the fundraiser and their efforts but may help you to get more orders. You may be able to convert some of those who bought simply to help the organization or those that had never heard of the product before to become customers. You never know when someone already knows and loves the products but is looking for a new consultant. So make sure you put those labels on!
Check with the organization to see if you can put business cards in the product bags. This may or may not be acceptable with them so ask before assuming. You may want to ask about this in advance when you are in the planning stages as you may need to order more cards depending on the size of the order.
If you can do business cards, you may want to offer an incentive as well. Create business cards or a coupon that says if they have a party within 30 days of the date (stamp them with the date they are to be delivered) they will get product A for free or half off, whatever incentive you want to offer. You could also offer an incentive if they were to book their own fundraiser within 30 days.
Do you do something different to try and get more business from a fundraiser?
This can be a bit of a hot topic when it comes to fundraising. Some organizations cannot afford the initial outlay for the supplies required (order forms, possible samples or flyers) and therefore expect the consultant to pay. But at the same time, the consultant should not have to be out the cost for possibly several hundred dollars if the organization is not successful.
The best solution I have heard to this is to have the consultant charge the organization for the supplies and they will get the funds back in their fundraiser.
For instance, supplies cost $100. The consultant would get the $100 from the organization to pay for them.
Then, when it comes time to settle up, let’s say the organizations proceeds would be $1000. The consultant may then choose to give the organization back the $100 for the supplies as the consultant is able to write them off as a business expense.
Another option would be to go half and half. Using the example above, the consultant would give the organization back $50.
You could also give them a credit for all the supplies they turn back into you after the fundraiser is over. Continuing with the previous example, if they spent $100 for the supplies, and they gave you back $25 worth of supplies (have to be in new condition) then you would give them $25. Those supplies could then be used for another fundraiser.
I suggest that the organization pays for the supplies up front as it will be an indication of how serious they are in making money with their fundraiser. There are horror stories out there of consultants who bring in the supplies for a 100 sellers from their funds and then the organization doesn’t bother or only get a few hundred dollars in orders.
The sky is the limit on where you can find fundraisers but actually landing one is the hard part. You can also cold call/cold mail/cold email locations, but without following up, you likely are wasting your time. Regardless, here is a list of places you can try. Some are free, some will cost you money.
Ask people you know if they know anyone who is looking
Talk to people you know who are involved in different activities
Contact your local schools and churches
Make sure to tell customers at your home parties
Advertise them when you do events
Put an ad up on classifieds that you offer fundraisers
Check the classifieds to see who is advertising a fundraiser – car wash, steak night – and see if they are interested in another type of fundraiser
Put up posters wherever you can
Contact any type of community organization or hall to let them know you do fundraisers – while they may not do them, they may know people who do that they can pass your information on to
Get in touch with your local chamber of commerce to see if you can get listed with them
It is a good idea to have a letter that gives a brief overview of your fundraiser that is one to two pages. This is a letter you can give to anyone who seems interested at all. You could also put it in your hostess packages and your recruiting packages. A bulleted list is great for the introduction letter so they can see at a glance what it involves.
Organization makes 35% of sales
15 of our top selling products are available to you
Product ships to location of your choice
Selling packets provided with information about product
From there, a second letter, or information packet can be prepared. You could give this out with the first letter or you may choose to wait and see if they have an interest before you give them one. This will be a more detailed letter which explains more about the fundraiser and how the process works. Some suggested topics:
Comparison to other fundraisers (ie. Chocolate bars, popcorn)
Different sales levels equal what profits
Selling price of products
What will be supplied to help organization be successful
What the organizations responsibilities will be
What your responsibilities will be as a consultant
A suggestion for time frame of fundraiser as well as shipping
Acceptable payment methods
Information about tax exempt status is that is an option
1) Getting the fundraiser – You may have to find one or it may find you
2) Presenting it – Depending on the organization, you may have to do a presentation to their board or decision makers about your fundraiser
3) Getting materials – You will need to bring in enough materials for the amount of people that they expect to participate
4) Collect Orders – Pick up the orders from the fundraising committee
5) Balance Orders – Make sure your numbers match their numbers. You will want to collect the funds at this point to pay for the order. They would keep the remainder.
6) Input Orders – Input orders into the system and get them organized
7) Receive Orders – Depending on how large the order is, you will either need to receive it at your place or make alternate arrangements
8) Sort Orders – This is pretty self explanatory. If it is a large order, have some helpers to assist. You can also leave this task completely up to the organization, but you may want to include marketing material or re-order labels.
9) Deliver – If the product is not with the organization, deliver it to them.
One of the biggest benefits is that you will expand your customer base. While not everyone who orders from the fundraiser will end up ordering from you again, you likely will see a few of them again. Depending on your product, some peole may not even be familiar with your product and this gives them a chance to try it without the pressure of a home party.
Another benefit is the fact that you will make money, as chances are you are trying to make some money with your direct sales business.
If you are trying to earn different promotions or trips with your company, chances are fundraiser sales will apply to these and get you that much closer to the incentive.
What a great thing you are doing, I’m sure the organizations you help out will appreciate it!
There are a couple different ways that you can approach this.
1) Have a Party, Give Commission – The first option is for the organization to basically have a party, and you donate a portion of your commission. If you make 25%, you might want to offer 20% commission. If your commission goes up with sales, then you could offer them a bit more as their sales go up. You want to make sure you get paid as well, so unless the cause is near and dear to your heart, I do not recommend giving it all away. The other great benefit to this is that you can put some of their items in the host rewards which will increase their proceeds.
2) Limited Party – If it is a big group that is doing the fundraiser, to make your life and theirs easier, I would recommend that you give them a limited amount of products to sell. If you can choose 10 or 15 best sellers, offer them those only. Handle the commissions and hostess credit as noted above.
One of the best things you can do is having the organization add up all their orders, and then you double check them. Make sure that your numbers agree so that you make sure that you are ordering the correct product.
Make sure you give them a time limit for the fundraiser or you may find that it will go on and on.