See how company notices help keep fundraisers on the right track.
When shopping for a school fundraiser, you probably haven't given much thought to the communication channels between you and the company, or more specifically, what notifications you'll receive from the company at different points of your sale. Staying informed may be important, but it's probably not on your priority list.
Yet, how your fundraising company notifies you about your sale can make the difference between a sale that will require a lot of heavy lifting on your part and one that runs smoothly and allows you to leverage various opportunities along the way and exceed your financial goals.
PTO Today ranks the average sell-through rate at the top when choosing a company. In other words, what's the average purchase made per family? This has much to do with perceived quality based on how the product is presented in the catalog and price. We get it. School fundraisers are about raising money, and the more, the better.
Staying on top of your sale is not just about knowing what comes next but about getting the most out of each segment. There's a difference between a company email reminding you that your sale will wrap up on Tuesday and receiving additional useful tips to help you turn your money in faster.
The same goes for how you communicate with your students and parents. The company should be able to provide practical information that you can pass on to your sellers. For example, instead of simply reminding your students to sell, you can get more out of your reminders by making them fun and engaging.
It's important to be able to follow up with your sellers at various points of the sale with relevant and enticing information. This will help ensure that they stay focused on reaching their sales goals. Companies should be doing a better job of providing ways to make sponsors more effective at communicating with their group.
So should you even expect fundraiser notifications and fundraising tips from us? Some may feel they don't need them, while others appreciate the accountability and encouragement. Instead of letting schools fend for themselves, we follow up with our schools at specific points of the sale.
Whether you choose to take our advice is another matter. We're assuming that schools find it useful. What follows are our standard notices you'd receive and why, in chronological order.
Once everything's been finalized, our first correspondence is to email the school our 'Welcome Letter'. The letter aims to share our commitment and enthusiasm with you. To ensure everyone's on the same page, we review all of the basic information with them again, including start and end dates and your student sales goal, as well as provide a link to the school's brochure page.
We encourage them to use the link to promote the fundraiser to their parents and on social media.
Once a new customer's supply order has been processed, we'll ship you your supplies. The email includes the delivery date, tracking number, shipping website, and toll-free phone number. Supplies are normally scheduled to deliver at least 2-3 days before the kickoff date.
Fundraiser Supply Kit
For smaller groups, a week before the kickoff date, you receive an email with resource links to our website. You'll learn what needs to be taken care of before, during, and after the fundraiser and receive helpful tips on preparing for your kickoff. A fundraiser progress tracker and a copy of your personalized parent letter are also attached.
Larger school-wide groups receive a box mailed to them with everything you'll need to run your sale. For more information, see our fundraiser supply kit.
Online Selling Information
This email reminder explains why schools also need to promote their sale online and sell in person through the brochure. Steps are provided so you can pass on needed information to your parents about how to register and promote the school's exclusive online portal to family and friends.
The kickoff preparation email provides steps to prepare your facility for a live assembly properly. The emphasis is on ensuring all electrical equipment has been tested before the live event.
Online Sales Access
You can track your online sales in real-time and need login information to access your school's exclusive online portal. We also reminded you of the importance of regularly reminding your students to send emails, text the online store link, and promote the link on social media. Online sales average close to 50% of a school's total sales. Many schools now sell exclusively online.
Post Fundraiser Kickoff Letter
Your sale must start strong, so sending an email right after the kickoff is important. Most sales occur within the first 3-4 days, so setting an early tone and consistent promotion will be vital to maximizing sales. Among other things, this email reminds you that the work has just begun.
Mid Sale Notice
Once you're halfway through your sale, you should have a good idea of how your sale is progressing. As mentioned in the last section, most of the sales will have already occurred. The goal is to keep the momentum going by continually:
- Reminding your students to work towards their sales goal.
- Tracking your fundraiser progress
- Using and promoting additional incentives
End of Selling Notice
Three days before the end date, we send a wrap-up email reminding you to encourage sellers to keep selling but to start preparing for the turn-in day. Our larger school-wide groups also receive a school fundraising guidebook that offers an 'Order Form & Money Collection Notice' template that they can use.
The better you are about reminding your sellers about your end date, the quicker you'll have all of the money and order forms turned in.
Order Received Notice
Once we receive your order forms, we'll let you know. Attached to this email is our late order cover sheet. This allows you to send in any orders that didn't make it in the main order. The goal is to consolidate every order so everything can ship together.
Sales Results Information
We'll send you your sales report once your order forms have been data-entered. Your report will allow you to see who your top-selling classes and students were, how many items and the types of items were sold, and of course, the dollar amounts.
This data is important for many reasons. For example, the school may need to reward the top sellers or the top-selling class.
Suggested Delivery Date Email
Once an order is ready to ship from our warehouse, we'll send a 'suggested delivery date' email. You can either accept it or provide a later date that will work better.
Once the order ships, we send an email that includes the following information:
- Name of shipper
- Tracking number
- Shipper phone number
- How to prepare for delivery
How to report any missing or damaged items
As you can see, a lot of information needs to be disseminated to run a fundraiser. But don't worry, our sponsors receive this information in an orderly fashion, only as they need it.
The ultimate goal is to ensure every school has a smooth and successful sale. Even if you don't contact us during your sale, that doesn't mean you won't hear from your fundraising company.
Want to learn more fundraising news and advice? Subscribe to our free monthly newsletter, where we share best practices, insider scoops, and more.
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.