Discount Card Fundraising: What Schools Need to Know

Educate yourself on whether a discount card fundraiser is the right choice for your school group

Discount card fundraisers can be highly profitable, and easy to execute. However, it's important to know about the pros and cons. Unlike a catalog sale where you’ve already collected the money before the order is placed, discount cards must be ordered up front. If you order too many cards, you’ll be stuck having to sell the leftovers. And if you don’t order enough, you’ll need to order more, which may interrupt the momentum of your sale as you wait for the additional cards to come in.

So how many discount cards should you order? To answer this question, you have to know 2 things. First, you have to know your fundraising goal. And second, the size of your group. The amount of money you need to raise is determined by your purpose. Do you need money to pay for a school bus to get to an event? Perhaps you need to do a cheerleader fundraiser and you’re squad needs money for new uniforms. Once you know how much money you need, you can work backwards and determine how much each student needs to sell.

Calculate how many discount cards to order for your group

Even after receiving your cards, in a not so perfect world, you’ll still need to contend with either too many cards or not enough. Some students won’t sell their fair share, which means that others will need to pick up the slack. Or, if your fundraiser is a huge success, you may need to place a second order. Either way, you need to have a plan in place to deal with each situation.

If you’re still on the fence, here are some things you may want to consider first:

Discount Card Fundraiser Advantages

  1. They're useful. Who doesn’t want to save money? Discount cards provide savings at the stores consumers already shop at. Once potential buyers see the shops and corresponding savings on the card, the cards usually sell themselves. Plus, after the first couple of uses, the cards will typically pay for themselves. There are not many fundraising products that can make that claim.
  2. The discounts last. Unlike any other product, discount cards can be used every day for a full year. In addition, customers can benefit from any of the discounts on their card.
  3. The benefit to local businesses. Any business that agrees to be on a discount card receives free advertising. They don’t have to pay anything, and the potential for increased foot traffic goes up. Businesses are also seen in a positive light because they’re seen as supporting the cause of a nearby school fundraiser.
  4. Variety sells. A typical card usually has between 10-15 business discount offers; however some cards can have up to 25. This can make the card more desirable to a wide variety of people.
  5. They're easy to sell. Unlike many products, you’re offering a single card to the customer. They can clearly see what they're getting. This makes everything easier for both the buyer and the seller. Your delivery is hassle-free as well because the card is small and non-breakable.
  6. 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.
  7. Multiple card purchase. People will often purchase more than one card for other family members, or as a gift for a special occasion, like someone’s birthday.

Discover how to maximize your discount card fundraiser

The Possible Disadvantages

  1. People forget to use them. As convenient it is to have a product the size of a credit card ready to use in your wallet, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it will get used. Probably the most frequent complaint we hear is that people don’t remember to use their card. Some people don’t think about using the card until after the fact.
  2. Not everyone likes the offers. You can’t please everyone. Even though your card includes some of the most popular businesses in your community, some people just don’t frequent them. In addition, if you're only using local vendors, people from a nearby town may not be interested in your card. This may limit your selling radius.
  3. Cards take time to build. Unlike your standard brochure fundraiser, discount cards take time to build. Reaching out to business owners and getting them to agree to be on your card is a process. Therefore, you won’t be able to start selling right away. Building a card usually takes about 5 weeks.
    We feel that fundraising companies that want to do it right will take the time to build exclusive cards for schools from scratch. This is actually an advantage. You’re fundraiser will be completely unique. The businesses that you want on your card will be exclusive to your group. On the other hand, some companies use businesses from an existing database that you may or may not want.
    If a company promises to send cards right away, this usually means that other groups in your area are selling cards with the same offers. If you want a quality card, you’ll need to plan your fundraiser in advance.
  4. No returns. Because of the time invested in building a customized card for a school, companies typically don’t take back unsold cards. This is why it’s 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. Learn how to resell unsold discount cards
  5. You are only offering one type of product. Unlike a fundraising catalog that usually offers a variety of items, either people will be interested in your card, or they won’t.
  6. Discount card programs are popular. This is good, but it can also be a negative. Before committing to a discount card program, make sure to check around and make sure you’ll be the only group in your area selling them. It will help if your card is exclusive; however most people won't buy a second card if they’ve already bought one from somebody else.

If your group is going to be raising money this fall, and you’re considering a discount card fundraiser, now is the time to start planning it.

For more information see Discount Cards: Finding the Right Deal

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