How Fundraising Works
All across Canada, teams, schools, and minor sports clubs are looking for ways to raise money to go on trips, attend tournaments, or just afford new equipment. For years, the way to raise this money has been through fundraising. Every year, selfless parents volunteer their time to help fundraise for their child’s minor sports teams. These committed parents help by going out and selling all manner of products from foods, raffle tickets, calendars, and poinsettias. And through effective fundraising, their kids can get the most out of their school or minor sports team.
Typically, fundraising for teams and schools has been quite the process. First, the school or team needs to decide what fundraiser they’re doing that year. With hundreds of products and fundraising systems available across Canada, there is a lot of variety. Once you’ve decided on your product of choice to sell, typically, the team buys as much inventory of the product they need to sell to reach their fundraising goals. After that, it’s up to the parents and kids to get out and get selling. Orders and money need to be tracked manually so that each dollar is accounted for, and the products usually end up split up into a couple of parent’s garages to accommodate the volume. Parents and kids can now take these products out into the world and hopefully sell enough to reach their fundraising goals.
Why It’s a Better Option Than GoFundMe or Cash Calls
Technology has moved forward, and so has fundraising. The advances of the internet and social media have provided great options to fundraise for teams and schools. One of the newest ways teams are approaching fundraising is through GoFundMe.
If you haven’t heard of GoFundMe, they’re a centralized online platform that allows people to accept donations for their cause. People have used GoFundMe for all manners of fundraising, from helping startups get money to develop their products, to help people in need to raise funds for hospital bills. GoFundMe has been an excellent tool for fundraising for a lot of individuals and groups simply because it offers such an expansive means of connecting with people. If you are on the internet, it’s possible to be reached with a GoFundMe campaign.
As a fundraising platform, GoFundMe brings a lot to the table for accepting donations. Where it starts to run into issues is providing a system to get any products to your buyers. GoFundMe is set up exceptionally well to take donations, however, when it comes to delivering the goods to people you’re selling you, you’ll need to take care of that yourself.
Cash Calls are another great option to raise funds for your team. It’s fast and straightforward, just request the cash upfront for all your team’s needs directly from the parents. It’s also fairly common practice with some of the more established minor sports clubs that have established budgets they are required to hit.
The drawback to cash calls is that parents who are not as economically secure immediately feel the pressure when cash calls are announced. It may not be much money, but when you’re counting on a few extra dollars around the house, it can be a cause for stress. Even when parents are aware that cash calls are a part of being in a minor sports club, it can be a bit of a shock to the system when the call goes out.
Traditional fundraising by selling products brings a lot to the table that GoFundMe and Cash Calls cannot offer. Now, it is essential to know that getting out there and selling products to friends and family can be daunting and feel a little awkward if you’re not used to it. However, you’ll find that your buyers will tend to be happier, you’ll have a genuine feeling of accomplishment, and if done correctly, you can raise all the funds you need.
The top reason people like fundraisers is because buyers get something back. With cash calls and donations, minor sports teams are just asking for money. And while it’s effective, it can drive a wedge between parents who may not have the cash to spare or aren’t interested in donating. Fundraising puts something of value into the buyer’s hands that they can enjoy or use while still being able to contribute to their child’s team.
Fundraising also gives parents the option to use their time to raise funds for their team. When cash is tight, having the opportunity to volunteer can alleviate a lot of stress, and still provide a significant contribution to the team.
Getting together with other parents to help raise money also develops a sense of community that cash calls or GoFundMe never could. Fundraising is a team effort that requires work and coordination to reach specific goals. While parents are working together to help their kids succeed, they’re developing their relationships that strengthen teams as a whole.
Why Use Food as Your Fundraising Product
At TeamFund, we are massive advocates of using meat as your fundraising product. And there is a couple of reasons for that:
Meat Is Something Most People Will Actually Use & Enjoy
While there are a million different items you could sell for your fundraiser, not all of them are things people are going to use. In 2015 over $970 million in gift cards went unused, with a percentage of them being sold through fundraisers. It’s similar to items like wrapping paper or carnations, people feel compelled to buy the products to help support the team.
While it is crucial to reach your fundraising target, giving your buyers something they’ll actually like and use makes selling the product much easier. People no longer feel guilted into buying for a fundraiser each year, and instead, look forward to restocking their freezer with meat products they’ll use.
5%-25% Profit Per Sale
Outside of straight donations, meat is one of the highest profit items you can fundraise with. Different meats in Alberta tend to have somewhere in the range of 5%-25% mark up in any supermarket. By dealing directly with the wholesaler, those profits are transferred directly to your team.
In fundraising, every dollar counts. Using meat as a bigger ticket item that can bring in more money per sale can go along way to making your fundraiser faster and easier.
How to Motivate Your Team
Motivation is huge. Fundraising is a team effort that requires everyone to band together and does their best to reach the fundraising goal. But how do you even get your team motivated?
Get Together To Get Motivated
Start by getting together and motivating each other. Your first meeting with your fundraising team should be about helping your group get excited about your fundraiser. It’s an opportunity to introduce the plan and help everyone understand that it’s going to work, and it’s going to be fun. Be sure to explain its purpose and help everyone realize the benefits of the fundraiser. Also, make it fun! Try to come up with strategies to spread the word to friends and family members. Think of a cheer or slogan for the fundraiser. Share motivating quotes. A motivational meeting could also be held mid-way through the fundraiser to boost enthusiasm before the fundraiser ends.
The right incentives can be very motivating to team members. A big part of building enthusiasm will involve giving regular updates on how the fundraiser is going and providing positive feedback on minor and major wins.
There are many creative ways to show and celebrate progress. Post up a goal thermometer, use a hockey stick or swimming lane as a visual. Chart the progress and cheer each other onto the next level. Think about having a fun activity planned for each target reached. Maybe, once they reach 50% of their goal, the team gets to pick their own drills at the next practice. What about letting the team make the coaches do the exercises once they reach 75%. Whatever your organization decides, make sure that it doesn’t pit one member against another, but rewards everyone, because they are after all a team and are in it to win it together.
Keep If Fresh In Their Minds & Encourage Participation
Always remember to keep the fundraiser in mind for all the volunteers, parents, and supporters. It can be easy for people not directly involved in raising money to forget that the team is fundraising.
Be sure to take opportunities to remind and encourage everyone regularly. For instance, let everyone know when you reach each milestone or target. Additionally, let them know how much more you need to reach your goal. It’s possible that just knowing how close they are to success will motivate them to find those last few supporters. Building enthusiasm will get more people interested and excited to be involved.
Stay Positive & Avoid Comparison
Maintaining a positive attitude is essential to building enthusiasm during a fundraiser. You’re going to run into roadblocks along the way, and sometimes it may feel like you’re not going to reach your goal. However, keeping focused on how far you and your team have come is essential. Make sure that parents and volunteers concentrate on being supportive and avoid unhealthy competition or comparisons. No one can really know what is happening in other people’s lives. Therefore, channeling positive energy will get you farther than negative comparisons and competition. Keep upbeat about your progress, and others will mirror your enthusiasm.
Give Them Skills & Let them Lead
To maintain and build enthusiasm, you might need to teach your team some new skills so that they can lead the charge. Many people might be unsure or uncomfortable about the idea of selling or pitching the team’s fundraiser, so offering a little helpful insight can go a long way.
Teaching your team communication skills, helping them recognize interest, and confidence in the product and team encourages potential buyers. Clear, concise, and confident language can go a long way to helping people understand what you are trying to accomplish and why they should buy from you.
These new skills will help your team to push your fundraiser forward. Seeing how their unique talents and personal involvement can help the team reach their goals will be rewarding and motivating.
It all comes down to making the sale. But how to do you crush out those numbers and land the sales that you need to raise money for your team?
Plan Out Your Sales Approach
The first step to any sales plan is planning out who you are going to approach to sell. Think through people you know who are likely to want to support your team or who would be interested in the products you are selling. Chances a few names will spring to mind. Trust your instincts and follow up with those names.
Help People Understand Why You’re Selling
One of the keys to getting people on board with buying your product is understanding why you are doing it. Think through the story of achievement you are setting out to accomplish by raising money, and how it will benefit your child’s minor sports team.
People will be much more willing to support a minor league hockey team raising money to go to the big local tournament rather than an old friend calling them up out of the blue and asking if they want meat.
Social Media Is An Excellent Way To Get The Message Out
It’s 2020, and sometimes that means it’s hard to reach people you know by phone. However, the rise of social media has become an effective secret weapon for people savvy fundraisers.
Reach out to the people you’ve identified on social media and send them an honest message. Most of the time, people will be receptive to you if they understand your cause.
Currently, Facebook is by far the easiest social media platform to identify and find people that you are looking for. Don’t be shy, get out there, and connect to make that sale.
Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For The Sale
One of the hardest parts of sales is closing. You can get someone interested and excited about your product one day, and the next, they’re on to the next thing. Don’t be afraid to ask for the sale when people are showing interest.
It doesn’t need to be aggressive, but you do need to make your intentions clear. If a potential sale is showing interest and asking a lot of questions, simply ask them, “would you like to buy this right now?” Be clear and confident, don’t push someone into buying, but allow them to decide on whether they’d like to buy. You’ll find your sales rate increases dramatically when you simply ask for the sale.
10 Fundraising Best Practices That Will Ensure Your Fundraiser is a Success
1) Start Early
Fundraising takes more time than you think. On average, TeamFund’s fundraisers take less than a week to get organized, however, TeamFund has everything you need already prepared. For other fundraisers, you may want to start getting organized at least a month in advance, depending on how much you’re looking to raise.
Research & pick your fundraiser as early as possible. Fundraising is an exciting proposition because it means getting the cash to help your team do what they want to do. However, not every fundraiser is right for every minor sports team or school event. Start your research early and find the right fundraiser for your group.
2) Pick A Fearless Leader
Pick Someone Confident & Experienced. Fundraising can be a daunting task that requires a clear head and unwavering motivation. Picking a leader who knows the fundraising drill and has the gumption to reach the goal is invaluable to your fundraising efforts.
Have your leader plant the flag and set your goals. When you are fundraising, you’ll have milestones, achievements, and an ultimate goal. Have your leader establish that goal clearly, and help your team see progress towards it. It will help motivate the team to reach your fundraising goals.
Have your leader set a plan and stick to it. Fundraising is a process that takes time and coordination. If everyone goes off and does their own thing, a fundraiser can quickly fall apart. Having a leader with a plan and that can delegate responsibilities will go a long way toward reaching your fundraising goal.
3) Set Fundraising Goals & Timelines
Before anything else, know how much money you need to raise in your fundraiser. Trips, tournaments, and equipment all should have set prices that set a goal for you to reach. Do not start fundraising just to raise as much as you can, or you’ll quickly find your fundraising team and buyers losing interest.
Know your deadline, and don’t go past it. Every fundraiser should have an established deadline to reach your goal. Having a deadline motivates people to prioritize fundraising and helps keeps your fundraising timeline in check.
4) Organize Your Team To Succeed
Find reliable help for your fundraiser. Fundraising is a group effort that takes a team of people time and energy to achieve their goals. The last thing you need is dead weight. Finding reliable people to help you reach your fundraising goals will make the process much easier, and help you raise more money.
Help volunteers see the value of the fundraiser. No one wants to be “volunteered” into doing work they don’t understand. Help your fundraising team understand what the team is trying to achieve and keep that sentiment top of mind when the team is going out selling.
Always remember to delegate. It is easy to get carried away thinking that because you are in charge, the responsibility of the fundraiser falls on your shoulders. But, if you have a committed team, you can get much more done in a shorter timeframe with less stress to the whole group. Remember, ten volunteers working for one hour will leave less them less stressed than one person working for 10 hours. Delegate responsibilities to get the job done quickly and well.
5) Plan Out Who You Are Going To Approach To Sell
The first step is to know your audience. Who is would be willing to support your cause? Who is interested in what you are selling? Who can you easily reach to show your products? Take some time to answer these fundamental questions, and you’ll quickly develop a list of people you want to reach out to.
Know your sales points for your product. People want to know why they should give you money for what you’re selling. Make sure you understand why your product is amazing. For the meats at TeamFund, we know they are from local vendors, the food is restaurant quality or higher, and that some of the foods are organic, to name a few points. Write down three reasons why what you’re selling is something you would buy. Outlining these benefits will help customers understand why they want to buy from you.
Communicate with people, don’t sell at them. People don’t want to be sold to, but people do want to be spoken with. Move away from telling people they need to buy, buy, buy, and instead help them understand why you are selling and what’s in it for them if they do end up buying.
6) Help People Understand What You’re Trying to Accomplish
Tell your team’s story. Every fundraiser is a gateway to doing something new and awesome for your team or school. Help people understand what you are trying to accomplish. People like to be support teams and schools that are trying to help kids do something new. They’re far less receptive to being sold meat over the phone.
People recognize striving for goals and usually want to help. Let people know exactly whats going on in your fundraiser and how close you are to your goal and deadline. You can motivate people to help you simply by showing where you are.
7) Social Media Is Your Secret Weapon
Friends, family, and acquaintances are all on social media these days. It’s easy to connect with them with a simple message on Facebook or DM through Instagram. It’s especially convenient for reaching out to people who you may not have their phone number.
You can gauge who may be interested in what you’re trying to do. Social media is a great place to get an idea of what someone’s interests are. If you’re not sure if someone would be interested in supporting your team, check their Facebook account. It may give some indications that they’d be interested in supporting your cause.
8) Don’t Be Afraid To Talk Up The Product
Have faith in the product that you’re selling. You’re selling someone a product, and they need to have confidence that what you are selling is something they want. Whatever the product is, own it. Have your sales points ready, be prepared to answer any questions a buyer might have, and help them understand why it’s something that they want.
9) Find Interest, Make The Sale
Being able to identify someone’s interest in supporting your fundraising is a critical skill. Not everyone who listens to you will be a buyer, and not everyone who ignores you will be a dead lead. A good indicator of someone’s interest is to see if they’re asking questions about your cause and your product. Questions run out fast if someone isn’t interested in learning more. Keep that in mind and help determine who will be a supporter.
Don’t be afraid to cut cold leads. Sometimes, people just slip away or lose interest, and that is ok. Cut the lead and focus your energy on the next potential sale.
10) Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For The Sale
Don’t leave any room for interpretation. When you have found someone that is showing interest, is asking questions, and wants to support your team, ask them straight out if they are interested in buying your product. You don’t need to be aggressive, but you shouldn’t leave room for interpretation.
Show a buyer that you want them to buy. People want to feel wanted and respond positively to outreach and support. Tell the potential sales that you would value their support.