Despite the fact that many brochure fundraising companies work hard to maintain customer loyalty, more schools seem to be switching than ever before. And it doesn't seem to matter if they had a positive or negative experience. Sometimes the change has nothing to do with the company. For example, a school can simply switch because their PTA elects new board members who aren't familiar with what's been done before, or the district appoints a new principal and they want to try something different.
Or perhaps the company didn’t live up to a specific promise. Maybe schools just weren’t satisfied with the service or they’ve grown tired of the same sales type of brochure. The reasons that schools appear more open to switching companies are probably numerous, but here are just a few that perhaps companies need to pay more attention to:
Slow Response to Fundraiser Questions and Issues
Schools expect a timely response to questions or issues. Quick solutions to problems should be the goal of every company; however if an immediate resolution isn't possible, sponsors need to know that they will receive a response as quickly as possible. Unfortunately some companies aren’t able to deliver in the heat of the moment as initially promised. This is because they don't have systems in place to address specific problems. With most school fundraisers you should expect questions or even problems to arise. What’s important is how they are handled by the company. The company should make the sponsor look good to their school and community from behind the scenes. Then, if they have a positive experience, there’s a greater chance they'll stay with the same company again.
Negative Feedback on Brochure Merchandise
Have you ever heard your parents complain about the actual items being smaller than they appeared in the brochure? Companies usually have 2 answers for this:
- It’s a fundraiser. What do you expect?
- The size of each item is always disclosed in the brochure.
Many supporters feel that they are already overpaying for inferior quality. Telling them to lower their expectations because it’s helping the school probably won’t change that perception. Regarding the size disclosure, most people don’t read the fine print anyway. As a result, sponsors grow tired of the complaints and the search for a better company begins.
Some Fundraising Mistakes are hard to Overcome
Even if the company did a good job of handling a particular mistake, this is hard for some sponsors to overlook. It may also depend on the type of mistake. A botched delivery is definitely harder to overcome than having to replace a couple of wrong items. Chances are, the more people talk about what happened, the less likely the school sticks with the same company again. Impression is everything, and it’s not good if the company ends up making the school look bad for choosing them.
Lack of Communication leads to Unwanted Surprises
Miscommunication should be avoided at all cost. Everything should be clarified so there are no surprises that pop up during the sale. Probably the main reason schools don’t resign with a particular company is because they weren’t informed about something that ended up happening anyway. The best fundraisers happen without a hitch because the school was informed throughout the entire process.
No Excuse for Broken Sales Rep Promises
Unintended mistakes are one thing, broken promises are another. This does occur but thankfully it’s rare. We’ve heard from schools that were looking for a new company because their previous company initially agreed to do something but didn’t follow through. Some company representatives are willing to say certain things to get the business, only to find a way to get out of it later. They understand that sponsors periodically come and go, and even if they temporarily fall out of favor with a particular school, chances are they will have new and uninformed people to replace them.
It's Just Time to Change Fundraising Companies
Regardless of how well a company performs, sometimes schools simply feel that change is needed. Perhaps they have been with the same company for years and their fundraiser has become stale. Their parents may be asking for something different, or perhaps sales have been on the decline. Most schools will stay with the same company if things are going well because they are most likely afraid of change; however declining sales or parent and student apathy can be a strong reason to switch.
Change is inevitable, but hopefully those schools that are looking for a new company are doing so because they're looking for something new, fresh and exciting.