Fundraisers can be a daunting and difficult task.  Some organizations don’t provide good marketing and sales tools to help sell the product or service which only makes it more difficult to raise funds. Whether you are parent raising funds for your kids’ schools or sports team, or you are passionate about a charitable organization, put on your creative hat and come up with something new and different.

For example, the school my kids attend has a big magazine drive each year.   The magazines are expensive and how many people actually have subscriptions to magazines anymore with the prevalence of digital media in our daily lives.  This makes for a terrible product, horrible pricing model, and ultimately a difficult sale. My kids have to prey on our closest family members for a sympathy purchase which of course includes the biggest sympathy purchase from Mom and Dad.  I now have enough magazines subscriptions in my house to open up a periodical section in my office. Making matters worse, the  school only provides each kid with a hard copy catalog of magazines, some black and white flyers, and access to a terrible online ordering system. A bad product coupled with a bad marketing strategy leads to frustrated parents that just complain every year come fundraising time and frustrated kids that can’t sell magazines to win their $.05 rubber ducky necklace.  I can probably buy a bag of 100 rubber ducks from china for a fraction of the cost of my expensive periodical section.

So, here is a creative idea that I hope someday inspires people to become marketers when fundraising. Instead of going door to door with the typical uniform sales pitch and harassing granny and grandpa for the sympathy buy, put together a great selling tool.

This is a fund raising campaign for a girls soccer team that needed new uniforms.  The team put together a clever graphical diagram of a uniform and sold parts of their uniforms to donors to purchase.

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Here is how it worked.  The soccer players took this  well designed uniform diagram and presented it to friends/family.  Donors got to pick a part of the uniform to purchase.  They could choose something  a less expensive part such as a sock or they could donate more money for a more expensive part such as the front or back of the jersey. When someone purchased a section of the uniform, that dollar amount was worth the same amount of raffle tickets which were put into a grand prize drawing for a brand new grill and accessories. The heart of the uniform was $50 and worth 50 raffle tickets, but the heart donor also received special signage recognition at the concession stand for the season.  That is a great selling tool for a player who want to try and sell the heart of the uniform to a business owner.  The business owner then has the opportunity to promote their business at the concession stand for the season.

This is a specific example of a sports fundraiser, but the idea can be used across multiple fundraising platforms.  Be unique, think outside of the box, and get your audience jazzed up about donating money to your cause. Don’t just send your team out to knock on the neighbors door with a catalog in hand or some old boring chocolate bars to sell.  It isn’t about buying candy and more junk magazines.  People  like to give without walking away with a tangible product to consume. That is why running and walking races to fundraise for organizations are so popular.  It is a “feel good” experience.  How many more chocolate bars, popcorn cans, and magazines do we really all need taking up more shelf space. Make it fun, different, and make the donors “feel good” about donating to your cause.