Some companies tell groups exactly what they want to hear, and the only thing that really matters is getting the business. The company doesn’t ask questions, but instead reassures the group that their sale will run smoothly and they will raise a lot of money. If you find yourself in this situation where it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
First of all, when you initially talk with a company, not only should you be asking questions but so should they. Whenever we are approached by a school to do a fundraiser we are hoping that they will ask us good questions. This tells us they've thought through what they want and expect. These schools tend to have more successful outcomes because they have clearly defined objectives.
However, deciding on a company is much like a job interview. Both sides should be concerned about the questions and the answers. So, just as we expect good questions from potential customers, here are 3 questions that good school fundraising companies will probably ask you as well:
1. What is your purpose?
Are you just selling because it happens to be that time of year, or do you actually have a specific need? Schools that rally their staff, students and parents around a specific purpose usually raise more money. However, if you don’t have a specific purpose yet, the company should help you define, develop and promote it.
2. What kind of fundraising have you done?
There is a difference between a school that has done a brochure sale and a school that will be new to this type of program. We handle groups that have recent experience a little differently from those that have no experience. Sponsors not as familiar with this type of campaign will need to have the process explained to them in detail. On the other hand, sponsors with experience still need to know how our program works, but will probably need to know more about how we're different from their previous company.
3. How much money did you raise?
Knowing how much money you raised with your previous program helps us understand how we can help you grow your sales. To do this, we need to know how many students you have in your school as well as how many actually participated last time. What type of prize program was offered? How did you promote your fundraiser? What additional incentives were offered? We are looking to see how we can improve your student participation which will lead to an increase in sales.
In order to make the initial dialog as productive as possible we recommend having a list of questions ready. Since you will enter into an important working relationship with a company, it's imperative that both sides have a mutual understanding. The only surprise you should have is a pleasant one, once you find out how much you make.