Why your kickoff is key to a successful sale
The only reason people fundraise is because they need money. But if you don’t reach your goal, you either live with what you have, or you plan another campaign. Nobody wants to do that. So what will it take to reach your goal? This is one of the most important questions you can ask. First you need to define your financial need.
Based on the total money needed, how much should each student sell? To determine this, you need to know the price of your product and what percent you get to keep.
So far, we’ve only talked about numbers. They provide the roadmap. Another vital question that needs addressing is how will you accomplish your objective? The engine that will drive your sale is purpose and motivation. Communicate these things when you first meet with your students. It’s very simple. The best high school fundraising ideas make money because of effective kickoffs.
The fundraising kickoff is foundational to your success. It doesn’t matter if your product is average or fantastic. You can offer great incentives. Your cause may be wonderful. But if you don’t sell your students on the ‘why’, your sale won’t thrive.
Everyone’s familiar with the saying, “Good sales people can sell snow to an eskimo”. What does that really mean? Does the product matter? Not if you haven’t established your mission. The mistake sponsors make is they focus on finding a fantastic product. Their hope is anyone can sell it. This is nothing more than ‘lipstick on a pig’.
If your sellers aren’t prepared and inspired to market it, even great products won’t sell themselves.
An effective high school fundraiser kickoff helps put the wheels in motion. It ensures you have a good foundation to launch from. So what’s it going to take? How can you be sure you’ll address the essentials at your meeting?
Your students already want to be a part of your organization. Otherwise they wouldn't be there. But do they know what the group is attempting to do? If there's any doubt, the kickoff is the opportunity to get them focused.
Regardless, don't take your group for granted. Your students may be enthusiastic about your mission, but are they may not be ready to sell. Thus, you need to take the time to prepare them. They first need to know why your sale is important to the group and that their effort will make a difference.
Here are some things to think about as you plan for your kickoff meeting.
High School Fundraiser Kickoff Objectives
A successful beginning to your sale requires some planning. You already realize how much money you need. You know how much each student needs to sell to reach you group's goal. Now you need to figure out how you're going to put your sale in motion.
To do this, you need to:
- Ensure your students buy into your purpose
- Equip them to sell
- Establish momentum
- Encourage students during the process
Convince Students on Your Mission
Will you be able to sell your students? Before you can sell a single product, you may want to ask yourself this question. Not to be selfish but students need to know what's in it for them. How will they benefit from the money that's raised? Just being a part of the group is not enough.
Some will be easier to convince than others. Jason Nazar talks about the 21 principles of persuasion. He says that it's important to focus on the persuadable. These are the students that are on the fence that only need a little nudge. You won't convince everyone, but you can improve your outcome.
It's also important to create a sense of urgency. If your students are not motivated to want it now, they won't want it later. Paint a picture of what the future will look like if they put the work in to get it.
Turn Your Students into Sellers
Encouragement and accountability are vital to high school fundraising success. It's hard to have one without the other. You always want to praise sales progress, but you also have to have measurable goals.
You've established an individual seller goal based on the total money needed. Now it's time to ask a few basic questions before you meet:
- Will your students know what to do?
- Do they know how to sell?
- Who is their target audience?
Explain the process. They need to understand things like how to collect orders and money, and how long they'll have to sell.
Make selling easy for your students. We've created a proven technique that works for many high school groups. The N.O.W. selling method will help your students simplify their sales pitch.
They also need to know who to approach. Have them create a prospect list. These are friends and family members they feel will give them the best chance at sales success.
Great High School Fundraising Ideas Start Quick
Since most sales take place in the first 3-5 days, it's critical to get out of the gate fast. Most sponsors offer rewards after the sale is over. Incentives are usually based on end results.
Instead of only offering prizes afterwards, consider 'front-loading' your fundraiser. Make a strong offering by rewarding students for getting off to a good start. For example, our money game offers cash to the top seller the next day after the kickoff.
Keep High School Students Motivated
It's not only important to establish momentum, but to keep it. Don’t assume students will keep selling because they bought into your kickoff. Before they leave the meeting, convince them to commit to smaller daily goals. To ensure your students are doing this you should:
- Continue to remind them about working towards their sales goal.
- Incorporate additional incentives during your sale that encourage selling.
- Track their progress to ensure they're keeping up.
High school fundraiser kickoffs are a lot of work. But they can pay off in spades if you do them right. Selling is a hands-on process that requires as much out of you as you expect from your students. If you inspire them, there's good reason for optimism.
For another perspective, see 2 Easy High School Fundraising Ideas that Boost Sales.
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Clay Boggess has been designing fundraising programs for schools and various nonprofit organizations throughout the US since 1999. He’s helped administrators, teachers, and outside support entities such as PTAs and PTOs raise millions of dollars. Clay is an owner and partner at Big Fundraising Ideas.