Every sponsor wants their sale to end smoothly. In a perfect world, everyone turns in their orders on the due date. Unfortunately it usually never works out that way. More than likely, you’re going to have to deal with fundraiser late orders. Things happen, like students being absent on the due date, or they simply forget to turn in their order.
As a result, many sponsors end up hold up their entire order for a few stragglers. This makes it unfair for those who turned in their order forms on time, and since people have already paid for their merchandise, you may get phone calls. Other sponsors mail their main order on time, but then continue to accept late orders. Here's how you can properly manage your late orders.
Enforce the End Date of your Fundraiser
Hopefully you’ll make a big deal about your order deadline date beginning with your kickoff meeting. This is where you want to create a sense of selling urgency. Students only have a limited time to sell in order to win prizes so once the cutoff date is here there are no more chances.
You’ll also want to continue to enforce your turn in date throughout your sale. Use multiple forms of communication, like morning announcements to students, sending notes home to parents and sharing it on social media. Call it a clever name that your students will be able to identify with, like ‘money day’.
Announce a Late Order Cutoff Date
Even the most meticulous sponsors are bound to have late orders. We automatically anticipate this by giving sponsors an extra week after their sale is over to send in their order forms. This way they can ensure that everything’s combined into one mailing to make it easier. Therefore, make sure everyone knows about the deadline date for turning in late orders, but be careful not to announce it until the actual turn in date has passed otherwise everyone will be late.
Stick to Your Late Order Fundraising Policy
It’s easy to get caught up in continuing to accept fundraiser late orders over time. However, once you announce your policy, stick to it even if it means turning down orders. There’s simply no excuse for turning in orders past the late order turn in date. In most cases these are very small orders anyway. If you’re consistent, you’ll help yourself with future sales because everyone will know that you mean what you say. Once a parent has had to deal with the hassle of returning money to their supporters they won’t want to have to do it a second time. And if you’ve clearly communicated your late order policy, they have no one to blame but themselves.