When it comes to fundraising for your school, team, club or non-profit, you’ve tried it all.
Chances are you’ve dabbled in candy bars, cookies, popcorn and wrapping paper, sending your members out to peddle their wares to a lackluster audience who has trouble getting excited about yet another unnecessary – and overpriced – trinket.
But in these tough economic times, disposable income is scarce and many organizations have found it an increasingly difficult sell to convince even the closest family members that they need another scented candle or pizza kit. To stand out, they have had to get creative, partnering with local businesses to sell mutually-beneficial community “experiences” instead of generic standalone products.
For example, a local high school football team might partner with a nearby pizza restaurant, encouraging fellow students and their families to gather there after practice for dinner. In return, the team would receive a small percentage (usually 10-15%) of the restaurant’s evening profits.
Other groups have partnered with high-end stationary stores, for example, setting up a separate co-branded website with the store. The organization promotes the site and receives a percentage of online sales in return.
Other organizations have partnered with several local businesses – typically restaurants, fast food chains and movie theatres – who have agreed to offer a small discount to patrons carrying a special “member’s card” that they have co-sponsored. The organization prints the logos on a plastic “member’s card” or key-fob and sells the cards for $10-15 each.
But in an economy where people eat out less, see fewer movies and spend less on luxury items like fine stationary and imported chocolate, other organizations have taken a more practical approach. Think pine straw, first aid kits, and yes – even carpet cleaners!
In many cases, because these items have a practical application, it is often an easier sell. The buyer is more open because it is a product they either need or would have purchased, anyway, and many of the partner companies are new to fundraising and therefore willing to be more generous with their profit-sharing.
When looking for your next fundraising partner, get creative! Think of products and services that buyers actually need and you’ll find them more excited about their support.