Schools and youth groups raise nearly $2 billion each year through sales of popular consumer products. The money helps pay for computers, field trips, athletics, music, art and other programs that educate and enrich young lives -important activities not always covered by shrinking school and non-profit group budgets. While there are a number of fundraising options available – bake sales, car washes, auctions, straight donations – product sales are consistently the most effective approach to fundraising.
Millions of parents and young people participate in product fundraising programs each year. Research has found 75 percent of Americans – and eight out of 10 parents – purchase fundraising products. The vast majority of fundraising sales are made to family and friends. Successful fundraising drives do not rely on children knocking on doors, but rather children and their parents asking for support from family, close neighbors and friends.
Most people agree that product fundraising is an important resource for America’s youth. More than just raising money to pay for valuable programs, a well-run fundraising drive can be an experience that builds self-esteem, provides community service, and promotes school, organization and community spirit.
Schools and organizations can choose from hundreds of fundraising products and programs to maximize their financial return and minimize the time investment for volunteers and advisors. Better still, many products and programs have been tested over time and are reasonably guaranteed to succeed. Behind these successful programs are professionals in product fundraising – companies that thousands of fundraising organizations have come to rely on as partners in meeting their financial goals.
There are more than 1,000 fundraising companies operating in the United States and Canada. Most are local, independent small business owners, mid-size companies with small sales forces or larger regional and national companies with local sales representatives. These companies work directly with schools, parent-teacher groups, booster clubs, church groups, scouting groups and other not-for-profit organizations to help them raise funds. Many have been in business for decades.
As the product fundraising industry matures and more fundraising products, programs and services are introduced, fundraising sponsors have more decisions to make. First, one must understand and follow any special guidelines for fundraising that have been established by the school, principal or community. Then, one must decide which company will best meet the needs of the school. What product(s) will work best as a fundraiser? What incentives might help the sale?