Deciding to do a discount card fundraiser can be highly profitable, but it's also important to be aware of the potential pros and cons. Unlike a brochure sale where you only pay for what you order, discount cards require preordering. This means that you’ll need to determine the proper number of cards to order ahead of time. If you over order, you won’t be able to return the leftovers since the cards will have your group name on them. You’ll therefore need to have a plan in place to sell off any excess. Under ordering has the opposite problem as you’ll have to wait for your reorder so you can continue selling. Here are some things you may want to consider first:
Advantages to a Discount Card Fundraiser
- They're practical. Everyone's looking to save money, and discount cards provide discounts in the stores that consumers already shop at. Once sellers point them out to potential buyers, the cards usually sell themselves. Plus, the cards will typically pay for themselves after only the first couple of uses.
- The offers last. Unlike some products, discount cards can be used every day for a full year. In addition, customers can take advantage of any of the discounts on their card.
- They give back to the businesses. Because businesses that agree to be on a discount card don’t have to pay anything, they receive free advertising as well as the potential for increased foot traffic. Businesses are seen in a positive light as a supporter to the local fundraising group.
- They offer variety. A typical discount card usually offers between 12-15 businesses; however some cards can have up to 25. This makes the card more desirable to a wide variety of people.
- They're simple. Unlike a lot of products, you are offering a single card to the customer. They can see what they're getting. This makes life easier for everyone involved. Your delivery is hassle-free as well.
- They promote your group. Because the front of your card can be customized with your group information, people in the community will find out about you. The front of your discount card can even be used to promote your team’s schedule or players.
The Potential Disadvantages
- People forget to use them. Probably the biggest complaint is that people end up not using their card. Discount cards are small like credit cards and easily fit into a purse or wallet; however people don’t often think about using the card until after the fact.
- Not everyone will like the offers. Even though you thought you included the most popular businesses in your area, not everyone will use the stores that are on your card. In addition, if you're using only local vendors, people from a nearby town may not be interested in your card. This is why it is also important to determine how large your selling radius will be.
- Cards take time to build. Unlike a typical brochure fundraiser, it takes time to contact and sign up the businesses for your card. Therefore, you won’t be able to start selling right away. This process usually takes about 5 weeks. Reputable fundraising companies build exclusive cards for groups from scratch. This is so you'll receive exclusive businesses that other groups won’t get while receiving the businesses that you want. Some companies use businesses from an existing database that you may or may not want. If a company offers to send cards right away, this usually means that you're using a pre-printed card that's being used by another group in your area.
- Unsold cards cannot be returned. Because of the time invested in building a customized card for a school, most companies don’t take back returns. It's therefore important to determine up front how many cards you think your group can reasonably sell. You can always order additional cards with a short turn-around time. Any cards that do come back can usually be resold fairly easily.
- You are only offering one product. Unlike a brochure that offers a variety of items, either people will be interested in purchasing your card or they won’t.
- Discount card programs are popular. Before signing on to run a discount card program, make sure that you check around to ensure that other groups in your area, are not already selling them. It helps that your card is exclusive; however many people won't buy a second discount card if they have already bought one from another group.