Learn the risks associated with raising money and how to minimize them.
Everyone wants something for nothing. We want bank loans that require nothing down. People expect to lose weight by popping a pill without worrying about exercising and eating right. Sponsors want to raise money while putting little to no effort into it.
Yet, is risk-free fundraising possible?
Companies spend a lot of time and money telling us how their programs are accessible, come with no obligation, and are guaranteed to work. The school fundraising company that best conveys this message usually gets the business.
However, most experienced sponsors already understand that things don't always work out as initially planned. So if it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is.
Companies and Schools are Mutually Obligated
The goal of every company should be to provide schools with programs that are as easy to run and effective as possible. In other words, companies want to fulfill the initial positive perception and expectations of what sponsors had initially hoped for. However, the school and the company must communicate their expectations before entering a business relationship. You are being misled if all you hear is that there are no obligations.
Good Fundraising Companies Have Systems
We should all know better that nothing is free from the possibility of failure. If you are suspicious, listen to your hunch and leave the deal because you will probably be better off. You should want to work with a company that has been tested and, as a result, has implemented changes to prevent undesirable things from happening again. Good companies have systems in place for everything. They have thoroughly examined the pros and cons of every implemented policy. Any company that tells you they haven't had to work through problems has probably not worked with that many schools.
Everything Has a Price
The adage that says 'nothing is free' definitely applies here. Unfortunately, you can't achieve anything without work or risk. In other words, anything worthwhile has the risk of failure. If you're told you have nothing to lose, minimal gain will probably exist. Be cautious of companies that make those promises. We want our customers to know upfront what they're getting themselves into because the last thing anyone wants is surprises.
The most significant risk sponsors take is not choosing a particular company but assuming they won't need to work that hard to get their students to sell. After all, products don't sell themselves.
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Clay Boggess has been designing fundraising programs for schools and various nonprofit organizations throughout the US since 1999. He’s helped administrators, teachers, and outside support entities such as PTAs and PTOs raise millions of dollars. Clay is an owner and partner at Big Fundraising Ideas.