How sales monitoring can revive your fundraiser
Wouldn’t it be great if fundraising were easy? Many are under the assumption that the way to great profits is finding the perfect product. If only we could find something our community could rally around. Word would spread and people would be knocking on your door instead of the other way around.
In reality, successful school fundraiser involve several moving parts. From deciding how to raise money to designing an effective marketing plan, there’s a lot involved. If we asked sponsors for their 5 most important sales tools, tracking wouldn’t make the list.
So why should it be on your top 5 list? Most experts will tell you, tracking sales progress is foundational to your success. Without it you don’t have a compass. Hopefully, you’ve established a purpose and know how much money you need to raise. This becomes your goal. Now the only question is, how are you going to get there?
Many will argue that you can't track the progress of a brochure fundraiser. You give your students their catalogs and tell them to go sell. All you can do is collect whatever orders and money they were able to get. You either reach your goal or you don't. You can only hope and pray that it goes well enough. At least that's what you're led to believe.
There's no way around it. Fundraising is hard work. Unfortunately, there is nothing available that will make achieving your goal any easier. Companies promise easy profits but they’re actually selling you an oxymoron. There’s no denying it. You may have a great sales brochure. Your students might even embrace the cause. These are all good things that will translate into more sales. But by themselves, these ingredients aren't enough.
If you don't want to be "that sponsor" who’s discouraged because they didn’t reach their goal, then you’ll have to do more. You need to keep track of how your students are progressing. This create more work for you but it can also give you peace of mind. If you do it right, in the end it should be worth the time and energy.
So why is tracking your fundraiser so important?
Improved Sales Accountability
Tracking your progress makes you twice as likely to reach your goals. Knowing that someone's measuring you instinctively pushes you to do more.
We encourage high school sponsors to check student order forms throughout their sale.
Students are told there will be 3 times that they'll need to show their progress. On these days, students present their order forms and money envelopes. The sponsor then enters the number of items sold into their tracking sheet that we provide.
Our tracker does the calculations and determines how well students are doing. This gives you instant feedback. You also have the opportunity to either praise, or encourage more selling as needed. Knowing in advance you're monitoring fundraiser progress will encourage students to keep up.
How to Tracking Your Fundraiser
Based on your goal, the tracker breaks your sale into 3 smaller check-in days. Here’s an example. Let’s say you've determined your students need to sell 10 items to reach your group goal. Your check-in day goals might look like this:
- 1st day after kickoff: Sell 3 items.
- Halfway point: Sell 4 more and reach 7 items.
- Turn in day: Make another 3 sales and achieve 10 item goal.
Checking order forms the day after your kickoff creates a sense of urgency in the minds of your sellers. You're not wasting any time. It's important to do this because most sales happen within the first 3-4 days. Be sure to also have them show you their money collection envelopes. This will ensure they're also collecting money with the orders.
Start with a Baseline
Where are you now, and where do you want to be? This is the first step. It’s ‘ground zero’. You have to understand the present if you want to get to the future. Without it you won’t have anything to measure.
Let your students know what’s lacking and the purpose for your fundraiser. This is your ‘why’.
Feedback Is Motivational
As you progress, you experience improvement. Tracking progress helps students see they’re on track and working towards their end goal. Breaking the sale down into steps allows for little victories along the way. This also gives you the opportunity to praise your students.
Make Adjustments as Needed
Instead of operating blind, monitoring sales allows you to make course corrections. For example, some students may not be keeping up. This gives you the opportunity to offer specific advice and encouragement.
It’s always better to know that you need to improve and still do something about it. Otherwise, you may find out too late that you fell short of your goal.
Extra Tips for School Fundraisers
You can enhance the effectiveness of your check-in days by:
- Since you're checking order forms, remind your students the day before. This reminds them that they’ll need to be ready.
- Entering student sales data on the spot. This communicates a powerful message. They'll understand that their results matter and are being recorded.
- Encourage each student to keep working. Each check in tells them they're making progress. And the end goal just became a little more obtainable.
Your check-in days are also a great opportunity to add incentives. The money game is a hands on way to reinforce your check in days. This works very well with high school students and makes selling fun and competitive.
When it's time to work hard and seize an opportunity, successful sponsors always seem to rise up. Knowing that you're working on a successful sale will help give you peace of mind too.