Tips from working with successful sponsors
Whenever we receive a phone call from a prospective customer, it doesn’t take long for us to tell when we're speaking with highly motivated fundraising sponsors. These types of sponsors know what they’re raising money for and how they’ve performed with previous sales. They understand what’s worked for them and what hasn’t, and they also have an idea on what might work to best motivate their group to sell.
Additionally, they’ve already reviewed our brochures and prize programs and are asking more specific questions about how we can best meet their needs. What follows are 7 specific things that motivated sponsors always seem to do:
1. They have a Specific Fundraising Purpose
Without a clearly defined purpose, your sale is destined to fall short of its potential. You would be surprised at the number of schools that conduct fundraisers because it’s a certain time of year and everyone assumes that it's time to raise money. No one even asks why. They become like zombies and fall in line. When we ask schools for their purpose so we can place it in their parent letter, many times they tell us, "it’s for the general fund". Most people want to know more. They want specifics. Most schools don’t have to look far to see where their financial needs are. So why don’t they spell out their purpose? Perhaps it’s because they feel that people won’t support it, or may even oppose it. Many sponsors don't want to be locked into committing money to a specific purpose. What if they fall short of their goal?
Strong sponsors feel that’s a risk worth taking because if they've effectively sold their purpose, they know that people will be more apt to support it.
2. They are Committed to an Achievable Sales Goal
It’s amazing how many sponsors simply kickoff their sale and then just tell their students to do their best. They accept whatever money comes in and assume that if they reach last year’s goal, they have been successful. However, if they fall short, it's out of their control. They simply accept the same results year after year.
Successful sponsors have determined how much money they need and know how much each student will need to sell. They then inspire them to reach their goals. We had a school that wasn’t satisfied making $30,000 every year, based on the number of students they had. As a result, they reworked their numbers, made a few changes and now they consistently bring in more than double that amount.
3. They Track the Progress of Their Sale
Most sponsors don’t know how well they do until their sale is over. By then it is too late to possibly impact sales. Sponsors who end up raising more money do so because they keep track of their student's progress. If needed, they can make adjustments by influencing sales performance before it’s too late. Some of the ways they do this is by incorporating one or more of the following:
4. They Incorporate Additional Incentives
Successful sponsors understand that in order to maximize sales, they have to offer their students more than just the company’s prize program. They are good at getting their students involved using additional incentives.
5. They are Good at Inspiring Students to Sell
Effective sponsors are good leaders because they inspire others to succeed. They consistently incorporate the perfect blend of accountability with optimism that not only positively impact students but also their fundraising team, teachers as well as parents.
6. They Know Success Requires a Team
Good sponsors aren’t lone rangers, so they make it a priority to recruit others to help them run their sale. They understand they also need to get the teachers and the parents on board as well. They are very good at recruiting and delegating.
7. They Have Earned Fundraising Credibility
There is nothing worse than making promises without following through. A while back we worked with a school who promised a limo ride for their students who reached a certain goal. When we followed up with the school to find out how their students enjoyed the limo, they said that they decided not to do it after all. What did their parents and students think? How many other people found out that the limo ride never happened after all? Unfortunately they don't understand how this negatively affects future sales.
Good fundraising coordinators always do what they promise, no matter what. Their students and parents can trust them to follow through. As a result they usually achieve good sales results.