The school fundraiser delivery is often considered somewhat of an afterthought; that is until you have your first issue. Once you do, you’ll wish that you’d been a little more thorough in doing the necessary research and asking more relevant questions ahead of time.
Like anything else, if you know the proper questions to ask in advance, you may be preventing a lot of unexpected headaches at your delivery. Because once your order ships, it’s too late to make any changes.
So make sure that you do your homework and are aware of the following 3 potentially big delivery obstacles so you can work to avoid them. This way, you can at least make your experience more predictable.
1. Presorted or Bulk Delivery?
This may seem obvious since the majority of fundraising companies now offer a prepacking service prior to a brochure product delivery. And this is regardless of whether the merchandise being shipped is dry or frozen. However, there are still companies that don’t box individual student orders.
Some companies will ship bulk to the piece, or by product type. This is typically more common with brochures that offer a single type of product, like cookie dough, flowers or candles. Brochure companies that ship by product category may even require that orders be packed by full box. For instance, if a complete box contains 12 items and the group only orders 10 of that particular item, they’ll still be required to purchase the 2 additional items anyway.
If you like a particular product well enough to be willing to sort it after it delivers, that’s fine. Just make sure you know what to expect ahead of time so you can make arrangements for additional help with the sorting. You just don’t want to have planned for individually packed student orders and then find out that you’ve just received a bulk order.
2. Merchandise Delivery Location
Have you confirmed with the fundraising company where your order will be delivered once they arrive at your school? Everyone has a different policy so unless you’re specific on your expectations, almost anything can happen. Well, not anything. There are 2 possible scenarios. Your order will either deliver inside the school, or you’ll need to go out and bring it in yourself. For example, most frozen food is delivered by frozen carrier and they’ll usually only take your order to the end of their trailer. That’s right, they won’t even take it off their truck.
Many companies will bring orders inside the closest available door. This is what’s referred to as an inside delivery. In many cases double doors with a vertical bar must be removed ahead of time to make room for pallets. That is unless you plan to break the pallets down and bring in the individual boxes. In some cases doing this is unavoidable if all you have are single doors.
Make sure that you also confirm that your order can even be delivered to your school. Some school districts require the funneling of all orders through a central location first.
3. Handling Replacement Items
You’ve distributed your boxes to your students to take home and you think you’re finished with your fundraiser. Not so fast. It takes about 3 days for the phone calls to start trickling in. Parents want to know how to replace missing and damaged merchandise. Do you know what to tell them?
Most companies offer 2 methods for handling replacement items. One way is to provide you with an item replacement form. When parents call in, you simply record the items. In order for this to work however, you need to give your parents a cutoff date.
The other method is to provide parents with a toll-free customer service number to call instead. The advantage here is that your parent deals directly with the company, not you. Many sponsors make the mistake of assuming that all parent complaints will be automatically handled by the company. This may not be the case, so you’d better confirm their procedure before signing up to do a fundraiser.
A good rule of thumb to go by is to always ask in advance for extra volunteer help at your fundraiser delivery. At the very least, you can get help sorting individual student boxes prior to distribution.