Your primary objective is to reach your money goal as quickly as possible. Giving your students more time to raise additional money doesn't usually work. In fact, this philosophy can work against you. Longer sales typically lead to seller complacency and procrastination. Most sales actually take place during the first 3-4 days anyway.
Therefore, a two week selling period is usually optimal. During the first week you’re working to generate sales momentum while a good portion of the second week is spent reminding sellers that their end date is fast approaching.
Here are some things you can do to ensure a successful fundraiser turn in day.
Focus on Your Sales End Date
Make sure your end date is set in everyone’s minds from the start. This includes reinforcing the date with you school staff and parents. You will also want to announce it at your kickoff as well as throughout your sale. Make sure your end date is in your parent letter. You can always post updates on social media as well. We provide our larger school wide customers with a school fundraising guidebook which includes parent reminder notices. Your goal is to strongly emphasize the importance of when order forms and money are due.
Have Consequences for Late Orders
You are bound to have stragglers, so be ready for them. If you accept order forms after your end date, let people know how much time they have. We ask our sponsors to mail their order forms in for processing 1 week after their end date. This allows time for them to collect and account for late orders. You should fax in any late orders that come in after you send in your main order within a couple of days. Any orders that come in after that are not guaranteed to ship with the original order.
Stick with the Fundraising Plan
No matter how tempted you might be to make exceptions, avoid doing so if possible. If people see that you are enforcing your policies consistently, they'll be more apt to follow them. The old saying, “Give an inch, take a mile” definitely applies here. On the other hand, there are definitely reasonable exceptions that can be considered. Just consider each issue on a case-by-case basis.
Ensuring a successful fundraiser turn in day means letting people know in advance what you expect.