Why Not Use Cattle Calls to Pick a Fundraiser?

Elementary schools want to pick a fundraiser that will make them the most money with the least amount of hassle. Many sponsors will gather brochures over time and contact the companies they're interested in meeting with one on one.

Another technique schools use is referred to as ‘cattle calls’. This is where schools contact the fundraising companies they’re interested in and invite them to present their programs. Each company typically has about 5-10 minutes. The school picks the day and offers various time slots. The idea is to decide on the best company, but here are 3 reasons why using cattle calls may not be in your best interest:

1. Fundraiser Questions Go Unanswered

Schools that incorporate the ‘cattle call’ don’t really have the opportunity to ask a lot of questions that can only be ferreted out during more detailed meetings. This may leave some things to chance because inevitably some important questions go unanswered. While the presentation given by the company can be informative, it’s the extended question and answer time afterwards that is usually more productive.

2. Companies Only Have Time to Embellish

Instead of your meeting being informative and helpful, it often becomes more of a show. Company representatives know that they only have so much time; therefore they're going to attempt to play their best hand. As opposed to a more thorough meeting between the school and the company, the ‘cattle call’ format usually only provides enough time for a sales pitch.

3. Not Knowing Company Limitations

Schools that have done their homework know what they want and don’t want from a company. They've thought through what they want to accomplish and thus have examined what questions they need to ask. It's of little help to find out afterwards that a company cannot provide a certain feature or service you were hoping to get. This can only lead to disappointment and frustration. Detailed meetings provide needed time to bring everything to the table, not just the company’s strengths.

It may be more work up front, but by planning more detailed and informative meetings with a prospective fundraiser company, you may end up saving significant time on the back end.

What experiences have you had with cattle calls?

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