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Great High School Fundraising Ideas Using Sportswear

By Clay Boggess on Apr 11, 2020
Improve High School Fundraising with Sportswear Prizes

How to boost high school profits with sportswear

High school students know better. They’re much more skeptical and won’t be fooled by the cheap prizes seen in most prize flyers. They can remember being hoodwinked by these prize programs in the second grade once they figured them out.

So sponsors can’t afford to waste their time on high school fundraising ideas that don’t promote these types of incentive plans.

The odds show that most students will fair very poorly. In order to win the prizes found at the higher levels, students have to sell a lot of items. And those who are lured enough into trying usually give up after the first day or so. Is it any wonder that only a small number win anything decent at all. The majority will end up selling very little, or don’t even participate at all.

But guess what? We’re talking here about elementary schools, where students are typically more gullible and willing to sell for these types of prizes. And since enrollments are much larger, the sales numbers appear more impressive than they really are.

For example, you might think that an elementary school that brings in $10,000 is a decent amount, until you learn that the enrollment is 750. This would impute an average of a little over 1 item sold per student. And unfortunately, these numbers bear out what the average elementary school fundraiser experiences almost everywhere.

Imagine how these sales might look for a smaller high school sponsor trying to motivate her students with these same cheap prizes. If you took 75 students, 10% of the 750 elementary school enrollment and applied the same projected sales amount, they would bring in $1,000.

Should any organization with that number of students be pleased with those results? And keep in mind, this assumes that the high school group in our example was as excited about the prizes as the elementary school students. Which, by the way, probably won’t happen in case you’re wondering.

And to add insult to injury, these are gross sales because groups typically make 40% of the gross.

You probably don’t have to look very far to find dismal results as many high school sponsors have first-hand experience by also using these same cheap, junky trinkets to attempt to motivate their group to sell. And unfortunately, these types of incentives continue to get used because sponsors don’t think they have viable alternatives.

It turns out, and to no one’s surprise, that older students are much harder to please when it comes to sales incentives. In most cases they’re no longer fazed by these familiar toys and knickknacks like they might have been when they were younger.

Any sponsor who doesn’t realize this will most likely find out the hard way. Most high school students will simply laugh them off. Many sponsors already realize this and simply don’t even offer any sort of prize incentive. They often justify this by believing that their students should already be “intrinsically motivated by the cause”. After all, we’re talking about high school students and they should already understand this.

Years sales data has proven that this approach doesn’t get good results and is therefore not recommended. The truth of the matter is that any student will sell more if they’re properly incentivized.

Why Fundraiser Prize Programs Need an Overhaul

Effective High School Fundraising Ideas Promote Unity

In addition to the fact that the demand for sportswear is up, there are some compelling reasons why you may want to think about using sportswear to motivate your group to raise money.

There are 2 basic things that motivate high school students to be a part of their group. Doing something because they enjoy it, and being able to express what they like doing with the rest of their peers and the community at large. Personalized sportswear with the group’s name, school colors, and mascot can do just that.

Offering sportswear as the fundraising incentive can promote team unity and school spirit while providing something that’s unique and different from what students are used to getting for making sales.

Game day, or travel day, is the perfect time to show off your group and what it stands for. And any student who’s a part of it will be eager to express it in some way.

Just like football and basketball players enjoy wearing their uniform at a pep rally in order to show that they’re a part of something significant, many other types of groups like bands and choirs do the same thing.

Plus, sportswear provides a higher quality option as opposed to the cheap junky prizes that students typically associate with fundraisers. If you're looking for something fresh and different that can bring in more sales, sports apparel may be the solution.

Sportswear Access vs. Profit Percent

Some companies offer sportswear incentives to high school fundraising groups. But since the quality is better, the cost is also higher. Therefore when groups choose our sportswear incentive plan, we give the sponsor 2 options.

One requires students to sell more in order to reach each prize level in exchange for a higher group profit percentage. With the other option, students wouldn’t need to sell as much to earn sportswear, but the profit made off each item sold is reduced by 5%.

Many groups do particularly well with sportswear as a fundraising incentive; however, they need to decide whether they should make obtaining sportswear apparel easier to obtain, or take the higher profit percentage.

Higher Fundraiser Profit vs. Better Student Incentives

The High School Team Advantage

We’ve found high school fundraising ideas that incorporate sportswear as incentives for teams work particularly well. For example, volleyball and basketball. Students involved with these types of groups are willing to sell more than usual because the sportswear is directly tied to the purpose of their group.

It's also common for sponsors of these groups to tie in their selling goal on one of the prize levels.

For instance, on travel days everyone can look the same by wearing their customized polo shirt, which requires a little more selling. Wherever they go, people will know what sport or group they represent. As a result, these types of groups tend to be willing to sell more in order to show off their team’s pride and spirit.

How Inspired is Your Group?

If your group needs a little additional motivation to sell, perhaps lowering the prize level requirements in exchange for a slightly lower profit might work. Even though the majority of your students will consider winning sportswear more desirable than the typical fundraiser prizes, lowering the amount of sold brochure items required may be even more enticing.

It’s important for sponsors to not get caught up with profit percentage. For instance, you can receive a higher profit percent, but if you end selling less items because you used a bad prize program, that’s not good either.

In general, high school students are willing to work harder if the incentives they can earn for selling are appealing to them. And at the end of the day, it’s all about making more sales.

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