selecting the best product
One of the basic questions a non-profit group must answer is, "What are we going to sell?" There are virtually thousands of products available for fundraising programs. These can range from items such as candy, cookies and other edibles, to wrapping paper, magazines and a wide range of gifts and novelties.
The first - and most important - step when narrowing down the product choices is to insist on high-quality merchandise. Generally, consumers are willing to purchase a product to help support a worthy cause; however, most do not want to pay for inferior or significantly overpriced products. Also, most fundraisers are annual or semi-annual events, and success depends on repeat sales. Nothing builds loyalty and profits like a reputation for offering top-quality fundraising products.
Be careful when considering a product because it is "new" or "hot." Although new or unusual products can generate a lot of excitement for your program,and may indeed be successful fundraisers, they do not have the track record to compare with more traditional items. Depending on the fundraising goal of the organization, sometimes it makes more sense to sell products that are proven "winners" in the marketplace.
Look, taste and touch. Although it is not always possible, the best way to establish product quality is to see a sample. If sampling is not possible, scrutinize catalogs and brochures carefully and ask questions before you order the product(s)
When reviewing retail prices for the product(s), consider the income level of the community where the sale will take place. Matching prices with what the people in your area can reasonably afford will give your program its best chance for success. Make sure the retail price of the product represents a fair market value. An experienced, professional fundraising company can provide valuable advice on the product or products that will work best for your group and in your area.
Below is a representative list of the thousands of different foods, gifts and novelty items displayed at the annual Association of Fund-Raising Distributors & Suppliers Trade Show and Convention. This is the largest and most important professional trade show in the world for product fundraising companies and their industry.
A SAMPLING OF POPULAR FUNDRAISING PRODUCTS
Candy and confections
Cheese & cheese spreads
Clothing & accessories
Coupon books, gift checks
Custom printed (coffee mugs, sports bottles, etc.)
Donation cards & programs
Edible items in decorative tins
Fresh and dried fruit
Frozen entrees & desserts
Gourmet food items
Holiday ornaments & novelties
Meat snacks & other products
Pies & other baked goods
Plants and flowers
Popcorn, pretzels, snack foods
Preserves, mustards, condiments
Safety & first aid kits
Sports pennants, cards, novelties
Sweatshirts & T-shirts
Window & wall decorations
Wild bird food