How to make a huge difference in your sales results
This is the time of year when PTA and PTO boards are forming so they can plan their elementary school fundraiser for the upcoming year. As they look ahead, many reflect back on their results from this past fall. Their sales performance will fit into 1 of 3 categories. They either increased, stayed the same, or their sales dropped from the year before.
Many schools want to increase their sales from last year. Some would be happy to match the previous year’s sales results, while others want to surpass them. These schools were either disappointed with their results and feel they can do better, or perhaps they just want to keep improving. Some may even be looking for a new fundraising company. However, every school that didn’t reach their goal are looking for ways to improve the outcome of their sale.
Perhaps you can spend even more money and offer better top seller prizes that your students really want. Or maybe it’s a combination of the two. These are definitely things worth considering; yet there are also some very easy, no-cost changes that you can make that may have an even greater impact on your sale. We’re talking about internal, low-hanging fruit opportunities.
If you really want to experience elementary school fundraising success, there are specific things that you can do from a strategic standpoint, but you’re going to have to put some extra time in to make it happen. Here are 3 things that won’t bust your budget that you should ponder that can make a huge difference.
1. Promote Your Fundraiser Before the Kickoff
Everyone promotes their sale during, and after the kickoff. So why build up your sale before the kickoff? It’s simple. This strategy builds anticipation and get everyone talking. Who doesn’t want to turn their kickoff meeting into a big deal?
And another thing. When it comes to fundraiser promotion, many sponsors only focus on the students. While this is probably the most important audience to market to, you should also consider your parents and staff.
There are a lot of fun and creative ways to promote your upcoming sale, like:
- Promote your sale in advance at parent night. You can even show a promotional video.
- Consider introducing it during morning announcements at least a week before the kickoff date.
- Think outside the box and dress up in a costume that is related to the purpose of your sale. Take advantage of highly visible opportunities like the cafeteria during lunch.
- Place a top seller prize hidden under a sheet on a cart, walk around and have the students try to guess what it is.
- Post the kickoff date on the school website.
- Advertise your fundraiser on Facebook and Twitter and encourage everyone else to do the same.
- Post you’re an article about your sale in the school newspaper.
- Send a note home addressed to your parents letting them know to expect their student packets shortly.
2. Plan a Great Kickoff Assembly
It’s been said that you only have once chance to make a great first impression. It turns out that the kickoff meeting is probably the most important way to market your fundraiser. And since your students are your most important asset, you need to take this part seriously.
You should consider your kickoff presentation like a well-orchestrated production. This is where the planning comes in. Your main objective is to sell your cause to your students, and you have only one shot to get it right. Therefore, make it as credible and exciting. If possible, have everyone, including teachers and staff, together at the kickoff assembly. This creates more energy and the excitement will become contagious.
Inventory your equipment needs in advance. To help to set an energetic tone, plan to have a good sound system on hand. Play “radio-edited” music, that you know your students will like, as they walk in, and again as they walk out. A good microphone is also important once the music is turned off and you are ready to start.
If you are showing a video, arrange to have someone turn off the lights. Make your video presentation as large as possible by projecting it onto a large screen. Turn it into a movie theatre experience. Place your top seller prizes at the front, but cover them up. Then have a big reveal just before the end of your assembly.
All of this takes advanced planning. Doing things at the last minute only adds stress, and worse, may even cause for things to go wrong during the kickoff. One last thing that sponsors often forget to do. Be sure to set aside ample time to test your equipment before your kickoff.
The ultimate goal is for your students to leave the kickoff assembly eager and ready to share their fundraising packet with their parents and start selling.
3. Keep Promoting Your Fundraiser
Also include your teachers as they will help remind students to sell.
Some schools think that once the kickoff is complete, the promotion is basically over. They just need to make friendly reminders every now and then and watch the money and order forms come in. If you want average to below average results then this is a good strategy.
However, if your goal is to maximize your earnings potential, then you’ll need to promote your sale consistently from start to finish. The best time to make an impact is while your students are still selling. You can’t affect sales after the fact. Here are some ideas to consider:
- Use additional fundraiser incentives.
- Talk about your fundraiser daily.
- Send home reminder notices.
- Post your top seller prize on social media.
- Place your prize program flyers in key areas around your school.
- Advertise your sale using your marquee.
If you at least follow these basic steps, you’ll be well on your way to elementary school fundraising success.