You want to make sure that you receive your merchandise back before the Christmas holidays so everyone can distribute their gifts to their friends and family. The last thing you need is unhappy parents who end up having to wait until after the first of the year to get their stuff.
The mistake that some sponsors make is waiting for late orders to come in before mailing off the rest of their order forms for processing. They end up making their entire order late just because of a precious few stragglers.
So what would you do if you were in this situation? In an ideal world you wouldn’t have to deal with any late orders. The goal then is to push for the ideal as much as possible. Here are 3 ways that can help keep you from having to deal with late fundraising orders in the first place.
1. Have a Late Order Fundraising Policy
Often times, the reason that sponsors get into trouble with mounting late orders is they don’t have a policy for handling them. In addition, they’re often too lenient or inconsistent, thus sending mixed signals to parents. Many don’t want to turn away late orders because:
- Even with small orders, they’re still turning away money.
- If they say no, they’ll have to deal with a disgruntled parent who then has to return the money to their customers.
Regardless, having a set policy will help you deal with these circumstances whenever they come up. We recommend waiting a week before sending in your order. This allows you time to collect any additional late orders and remaining money. Then, if you end up getting any late orders after mailing in your order, you can fax or email them. We recommend not accepting any more late orders after that, no matter what.
2. Focus on Your Fundraiser End Date
Many sponsors make the mistake of not making a big enough deal about their end date during their sale. Announcements should be made about this on a daily basis. Having some sort of count down over the last 4-5 days along with sending reminder notices home to parents will help. The more you focus on enforcing your end date, the less likely you’ll have to deal with late orders in the first place.
3. Don’t Make Exceptions for Some Sellers
Stay consistent with your policy. Once people see that you’re willing to bend the rules, you’ll open up the floodgate to more problems. There’s always going to be someone with an excuse. However, once people see that your late order policy is enforced, the more motivated they’ll be to get their order forms turned in on time.