How to Handle Unsold Fundraiser Merchandise

There are rare times when schools don't do a prepay brochure sale. They may have experienced a problem with a couple of high school students who failed to turn in their orders after the money was collected from their customers on a previous sale.

Or, a group may have sold discount cards after ordering a certain number up front and weren’t able to sell them all. These groups may have to deal with leftover items.

This can cause problems, including a loss in profit, unless a plan is already in place to deal with it. Here are two methods that can be implemented whenever you have any leftover fundraiser merchandise:

Sell Returned Fundraiser Merchandise at Retail

Start off by attempting to sell off the items at full retail price so you can maximize your profit as much as possible.

  • Offer special incentives to your most capable and responsible students who help ‘sell off’ the merchandise.
  • Get other staff or organizations involved.

Offer Unclaimed Brochure Items at a Discount Price

High school groups can:

  • Buy 2 items at their normal price and receive a 3rd item for free…
  • Buy 1 item for $10.00 and 2 for $18.00…
  • Offer students a cut of the profit, say $1.00 for each item that they are able to sell.
  • Offer a free item to every student who sells and brings back the money for 3 or items.
  • Advertise that you are having a ‘Clearance Sale’.
  • Provide the items to another organization at the school by offering them a portion of the profit for every item sold.
  • Sell the items at wholesale (This option should be a last resort.

Elementary schools can:

  • Advertise the leftover product at the next staff meeting. Teachers may help especially if you are offering special pricing. Be careful not to reduce the price too much. The goal is to make as much profit as possible.
  • Put the products on display at your next parent-teacher night.
  • Promote the leftover products any way that you can.
  • Keep dropping your price as time goes on. You can always offer the items as teacher gifts.

One way to prevent leftover product is to place a relatively conservative first order. You can always reorder as needed. In the event of a brochure fundraiser, simply make it a pre-pay sale where money must be turned in up front with the orders forms.

See our brochure fundraisers

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