I bet all of you have been involved, one way or another, with a fundraiser. We all know of good causes, or have our own, that we want to support. Fundraisers are one way to do that.
Here are the main types of fundraisers:
Direct Sales Fundraiser – This is where product is purchased and resold. Payment is usually required up front. You need to deal with inventory, delivery, collection, many details. Direct sales is a high work fundraiser.
Order Taker Fundraiser – Also called pre-sales, brochure sales or catalog sales. You take orders, all order forms are tallied and sent to the fund raising company ships the products to the contact person for your group fund raiser. Your members and volunteers then deliver the products to your supporters. Another high work fundraiser. (Sometimes delivery and collection is done by the company, thus reducing work load.)
Service and bake-sale type fundraisers- this would be your car washes, bakes sales, and so on. High work fundraisers.
On-line Fundraiser – This is generally handled having a coded link on your organizations website that will take the visitor to a personalized page on the company site where you encourage supporters to make purchases through the coded link and your group receives a percentage of the sales.
The on-line fundraiser is far and away the least work, and can be the most effective. One problem is that many smaller groups do not HAVE websites. Say your church youth group is looking to raise money for a mission trip. But you do not HAVE a website, so with many on-line fundraising websites companies you are stuck with nothing.
However, some new and innovative companies are now working specifically with fundraising groups to make it easy and effective, almost no work on the part of the organization, yet yield great results! They will actually develop and GIVE you a web page to use for your fundraiser. They will help you develop a good sales letter for your page to promote your cause. They will coordinate all sales, delivery, collection, orders. All the organization has to do is publicize their web page. This is done via members sending emails to friends and family, posting on facebook, blogs, twitter, etc. You can also print out hard copy handouts to pass out anywhere (church, school, etc.) This printing and handing out is probably the hardest part of this newer kind of internet fundraising, and that is NOT hard at all, takes but a few minutes. And a minimal expense for the paper and ink is your only cost.
So, you can find a company that already does this kind of thing. You can ASK a company if they will do a fundraiser with/for you. Many major companies already have on-line fundraisers set up. One thing to watch out for is companies that change prices for their fundraisers. I was quite indignant once when I was approached with an on-line fundraiser. I did not normally buy those products but wanted to support the cause so seriously looked at the products (it was food items). Seemed quite high priced. I had looked before at the company (just to buy), and while I thought they were expensive, I did not recall being quite THAT much. SO I compared their fundraiser prices and their regular (expensive) prices. What I found was that on the surface, much seems similar, BUT they changed sizes of items. So instead of a 5 quart pail of premium ice cream, you are getting a gallon (4 quarts). I did some math and figured out that if I bought their items from their site, not via the fundraiser, I would save more money (for the same AMOUNT of food), donate that to the cause, and they would actually get MORE from my purchase than if I had bought at the on-line fundraiser. So beware.
If you want a company to work with you, and they do not have an established fundraiser (or one that you like, that meets YOUR criteria, like not jacking prices), you can try to see if they will accommodate you. This will work best by far with smaller companies. Talk with the owner/manager. What you want is a page on their web that you can direct potential donors to, with information about your organization and cause for fundraising. You want them to handle all inquiries, orders, collection, sales, and delivery. You want a percentage of sales for bringing them the business. Ideally they will also provide you with copy/wording that you can use in emails, blog posts, Twitter, Facebook and more. You need to find a product/service that appeals to many people, thus expanding your pool of potential donors.
When you can get this, you will have a very effective, easy, top-notch fundraiser. Quick and easy to set up, no hassle, one that can expand easily. And you can usually even use it for more than one cause, like your boy scout group, and your church group. Easily repeatable.