Product fundraisers are a tried and true option that works well for all kinds of organizations, especially community-based groups. It’s a fun (and often delicious!) way of engaging supporters with selections like chocolate, pretzels, or even custom tees featuring your organization’s name. It’s a win-win situation; donors get to take home a sweet gift, and you get to meet your goals.
But there are more ways to host a product fundraiser today than just the door-to-door sales you may remember from school. Hybrid-style product fundraisers bring unique benefits that are worth exploring. With the added virtual aspect, your organization will be able to expand its reach to people from other cities, states, or even countries (and in turn, grow your volunteer base!)
With a strong marketing strategy and an easy way for supporters to place orders, you can maximize revenue for your organization and run a successful campaign with ease!
Let’s walk through the 6 core steps you’ll need to follow to plan and execute a modern product fundraiser like a longtime pro.
Understanding the Basics
You might be thinking to yourself, “This all sounds great, but how does a hybrid product fundraiser work?”
A hybrid product fundraiser couples selling a product in-person with selling it online to raise money for your mission.
For example, perhaps you’re strategizing your next school fundraising ideas. The in-person component of your hybrid product fundraiser could entail selling popcorn at pick-up time. But what about the kids who aren’t at school that day or their relatives living across the country?
It’s simple! Amplify your reach by setting up a fundraising web store so that anyone can donate and help your group achieve its goals.
A fundraising web store lets you conveniently conduct e-commerce by selling items ranging from cookie dough tubs to snacks in bulk. With this added digital component, your donors will breeze through the donation process without filling out any of those time-consuming paper forms. And better yet, they can do it all from the comfort of home!
Now that you’ve got the basics down, let’s jump into how you’ll make your hybrid product fundraiser come to life!
1. Partner with a product fundraising company.
It’s easy to get your fundraising web store up and running once you partner with the right product fundraising company. Select a company that will set up a personalized e-commerce website for you, and you’ll just have to share the link. Here are a few factors your perfect partner should have to elevate your fundraising efforts:
- Wide range of products. Partner with a company that has products relevant to the wants and needs of your audience. For example, let’s say you’re fundraising for a youth sports group. Food fundraisers are very popular among children, so offering a product like popcorn with 10 different flavors is sure to appeal to anyone, even the pickiest of eaters!
- Convenient financing process. Purchasing the products for your fundraiser should be as accessible and cost-friendly as possible. Select a company that has convenient policies like ‘No Money Up Front’ so you can kickstart your fundraiser as soon as possible.
- Marketable campaign page. Get supporters excited about your fundraising web store with marketing unique to your organization! Your partner company should offer options like a customized order form so people feel more connected to your group’s mission.
2. Choose your product to sell.
There are many great products out there, but it can be tricky to nail down which one will attract the most amount of people to your campaign. Carefully consider your supporters’ demographics and interests. If they like the product and feel that it would add value to their lives, they’re more likely to make a purchase (or a few)!
For example, if you’re fundraising for a youth sports team, a fitting option might be custom tees, hats, or socks with the team’s branding. Clothing fundraisers are a great opportunity for dedicated supporters to show pride for your organization and market it to others who may not be familiar with it just yet.
Or maybe your target audience wants a product that is more applicable to their everyday lives. ABC Fundraising finds that a discount card fundraiser is an appealing option because donors save money buying things they need while giving back to the local businesses they love. Brainstorm a list of popular merchants in your area and work with your partner fundraising company to create the cards.
Looking for more ideas on products that will appeal to your group’s audience? Double the Donation’s list of 20+ product fundraising ideas will help you find the best fit for your fundraiser!
3. Plan your campaign.
Once you’ve selected a partner fundraising company and a product to sell, you’re ready to jump into the planning process! A fundraiser works like a well-oiled machine, but it’s nothing without its moving parts. You’ll need to make some key decisions so that your machine can operate to the best of its ability. Consider the following:
- Where and how you’ll sell in-person. Will you sell your products at a farmer’s market? Perhaps you want to maximize your outreach by going door-to-door? Meet with your volunteers and create a selling plan that makes the most sense for your organization.
- The timeframe of your fundraiser. Determine when your fundraising web store will go live to the public and how long it should run. If relevant, consider the season you want your fundraiser to take place in. For example, if you’re raising money for a church, December can be a great time to host a product fundraiser around the holidays.
- Your goals. Set a fundraising goal for your organization. Think about how much you want to raise and how many donors you want to reach. This will help direct your execution of the campaign and allow you to rework strategies as needed based on your progress.
You also should reflect on past fundraisers. Reflecting on your previous fundraising strategy can help you identify trends and understand your audience better. With this information, you can shape your campaign goals so that they’re attainable and relevant to your needs.
4. Promote your campaign and start selling.
Your fundraiser can only be successful if people know about it. Think about how you’ll share your in-person campaign and fundraising web store link with your community (and beyond) by:
- Using a variety of modes. When it comes to communication, you’ve got plenty of options: email, social media, text messaging, and more! Implement a few approaches to reach the most amount of people, but keep in mind your target audience and where they might be spending most of their time.
- Keeping it personal. When reaching out to donors, an important communication tip is to give your donors a more personalized experience so they feel engaged and appreciated. For example, in your emails, try using donors’ first names and express your appreciation for their support.
- Making it engaging. Promote your event using images or graphics to grab people’s attention so they’re more likely to join in on the fun!
Make sure to integrate your communications across channels. Maintaining a consistent voice will benefit your brand and help more people become familiar with your mission.
5. Look for ways to boost excitement.
You’ve already done all the hard work, so now it’s time to get everyone pumped about your fundraiser! Hosting fun events will help market your event to more people and make donors feel excited about your mission.
Consider hosting small in-person events related to your campaign or a virtual get-together to reach people far away. You can even pair your product fundraiser with a peer-to-peer fundraiser. Donors can compete to raise the most amount of money and share links to their funding page on social media! Incentivize supporters with prizes like branded merchandise or a feature on your website to encourage maximum participation.
6. Distribute products and thank everyone for their support.
You’ve reached the finish line! Wrap up your fundraiser by distributing products to donors. You may choose to have your product company directly ship the items, or instead opt for sending all the items to a specific location where you can deliver them to donors.
Whichever method you choose, you’ll want to thank your donors. Let them know the impact of their donation and how much your organization raised because of their efforts.
Consider sharing a story about someone/something that has been positively impacted by your group. This will help donors feel confident that they contributed to a worthy cause and make them more likely to give to your organization again.
A hybrid product fundraiser will help your organization connect with people near and far through the powers of the Internet. As you develop your fundraising campaign ideas, remember to partner with a product fundraiser company that meets your needs and develop strategies that are specific to your audience and fundraising goals.
With these steps, your fundraiser will surely be a success!