Things to look for in a good fundraising company
With so many fundraising companies making promises to try to win your business, how do you know that you’re going to end up making the best fundraising choice for your school?
Choosing the right company to work with shouldn't come down to who offers the flashiest brochure, the most exciting prize program, the highest profit or an amazing early signing bonus.
Many schools initially feel confident about their selection only to experience frustration throughout the process and ultimately regret in the end. Here are 3 things that good school fundraiser companies have that should be at the top of your list.
1. Strong Fundraising Background
If the company cannot provide you with at least 3 references from other similar schools, you should reconsider whether you want to work with them. Most companies also provide testimonials on their website; however testimonies won’t give you the same information that you can get by talking directly to a sponsor. Make sure to talk to more than one school. This way you can find out if there are any patterns that you may need to be concerned about. To help make your interview more effective, you will want to prepare a list of questions. Here are some examples:
- How would you rate the service you received?
- How quickly did they respond to your questions?
- Did they do exactly what they said that they would do?
- Tell me about the quality of the merchandise?
- How did the students respond to the prize program?
- Tell me about your delivery?
- On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your overall experience with this company?
2. Customer Service Focused
Any company can sound good and make promises up front, but did their actions match their words? There is nothing worse than having your high expectations dashed. This is why some schools play it safe and stay with the same company until something negative happens. It’s definitely easier to earn trust than it is to keep it. If you are interviewing a new company and they seem more focused on how good their brochures are without discussing their service, then you're only getting half the picture. The company should be able to discuss how their processes will help your sale run smoother. What helpful tools will they provide and why should you use them? If you end up having lots of snags, you won't be thinking about how much money you brought in.
3. Sales Goal Oriented
If a company says you'll raise lots of money working with them and they don’t tell you why, run for the door as fast as you can. Or, ask them to prove it by providing actual sales results. This will quiet most companies in a hurry. What separates good school fundraiser companies from everyone else is they'll work with you to develop an effective game plan. They'll help ensure that your plan stays on track towards achieving your goals and objectives. Good companies always ask a lot of questions to find out your specific needs and any potential hurdles. This is to gain insight so they can help design a plan that will best meet your goals. Some of the questions that you can expect are:
- How many students do you have at your school?
- How much money did you raise last time? Were you pleased with that number?
- What product line did you end up selling and what was the response from customers?
- Did students have an individual item goal?
- What did the students and parents think about the prize program?
- Did you set a group goal?
- Did you promote your sale before your kickoff? If so, what did you do?
- Did you have a purpose for your sale and how was it promoted?
- How did you promote your sale to your students? What did you do and how often did you do it?
- Did you offer any additional incentives to further increase sales? If so what were they and how did you promote them to your students?
Are you looking for more fundraising tips and advice? Subscribe to our free monthly newsletter, where we share our expertise in school fundraising best practices and other helpful information.
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.