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A Discount Card Fundraising Idea: Tracking Makes Perfect

By Clay Boggess on Sep 14, 2019
Top Discount Card Fundraiser Tips for 2022

The benefits of tracking your discount card sale

Zig Ziglar, an author and one of the world’s most popular motivational speakers once said that, “If you want to reach a goal, you must ‘see the reaching’ in your own mind before you actually arrive at your goal”. So do you have a sales goal, and do you have a way to measure your progress along the way?

Assuming that you already know how much money your group needs to raise, let’s talk about why it’s important to keep an eye on how you’re progressing along the way. Why is it important to track your sale? There are basically 2 primary reasons why fundraiser tracking is important.

First, discount card fundraising works just like selling candy bars. You must distribute them to your sellers so they can turn around and sell them to family and friends. Handing out a product to sell is like distributing money. Each card has value. It’s worth something because it’s going to bring profit to the group. Therefore, just like keeping track of the money in your bank account, the same principle applies to your discount cards.

Second is accountability. If you’re sellers know that you’re keeping track of how many cards they have in their possession, they’ll know exactly how much money they’ll be expected to bring back. To be clear, we’re not necessarily implying that this is an integrity issue. It’s more about obligation and responsibility.

To bring this point home, here is a real-life example of what can happen if you don’t track your discount card fundraiser.

Every Card Has a Name

Any discount card not accounted for is money lost. Unfortunately, even when we provide instructions for our sponsors to follow and tools to utilize, there are times when they simply don’t use them. Perhaps they don’t feel they’re that important, or they simply forget. Not too long ago, we worked on a discount card sale with a group that was raising money to cover equipment costs and travel expenses for their baseball program.

We stressed the importance of using our tracking sheet for distributing their cards to their group as a sign out sheet. Each participant was told to write down the number of cards they were taking with them along with their name and phone number.

So if someone agreed to take 10 cards, they would document that on the sheet then bring back the money for those cards by a predetermined date. If they were willing to sell more cards, they would need to write down their name for those cards too. However, they would need to turn in the money for the first group of cards.

And, if any cards were returned, those were documented as well. To help get rid of returned cards, they would then be redistributed to other group members to sell. In other words, every card needed to be accounted for.

Why Discount Card Fundraising Tracking Sheets are Vital

Needless to say, our group chose not to use the tracking sheet and simply handed out their cards to whomever requested them. The sponsor was simply looking to deplete his inventory and bring in money. You can almost predict the chaos that ensued. They ended up having a huge mess on their hands. And it wasn’t because some people weren’t turning in their money. The problem was that nobody had any clue who owed what and how much. It became a “he said, she said” free-for-all.

When his sale was over, the sponsor had plenty of people who hadn’t turned in their money. But he didn’t even know who he needed to collect from. The problem was that there was no accountability or tracking system in place from the start.

And to top it off, no one was told up front when to turn in their money so the fundraiser went on much longer than it needed to. He had lost complete control. As a result, he had no choice but to take people at their word.

Did this sponsor finally realize the value of our discount card tracking sheet? Absolutely, but not until it too late. Unfortunately he learned the hard way.

An Additional Tracking Benefit

So how can your group avoid this same predicament? Obviously our example drove the point home about the importance of documenting and tracking your sale. But it can do even more than that. It not only helps set the tone for success by holding your sellers accountable it gives you an additional option.

To help sell off your inventory faster, you can incentivize students who are willing to sell returned or leftover cards. For those who are motivated to sell more than 10 cards, you can offer tiered rewards for selling say 15, or 20 cards or more.

To prevent students from trying to sell too many cards up front, consider requiring that money be turned in for the 10 cards first. Then make issuing each additional set of 5 cards contingent on the money being turned in each time. All of this requires having a tracking system in place.

Learn what your school needs to know about discount card fundraising

How to Use your Tracking Sheet

  • Treat your tracking sheet like an accountant balances a profit & loss statement:
    • Have the seller write down their first and last name.
    • Get their phone number.
    • Any time you issue cards to a seller, document it on your sheet.
    • Report the amount of money that’s turned in and note any discrepancies.
    • Track additional cards that are issued. Again, we strongly recommend only give out additional cards after all initial money has been turned in.
    • Account for returned cards and have a plan in place to redistribute to others to resell.
  • It’s important to have a frugal mindset. Understand that your cards have monetary value. Would you hand out money with no strings attached?
  • Have a preset deadline date for turning in the money. Most students can easily sell 5-10 cards in a week or less.

Using a discount card tracking sheet for your fundraiser may create a little extra work up front, but in the end you'll have peace of mind. There’s no price that you can put on that.

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