If your school staff, parents, and surrounding community are tired of being asked to buy candles year after year, perhaps it’s time to try a new fundraising option! One of the latest trends in the fundraising world is gourmet coffee. Coffee is one of the most consumed beverages in this country, with more than 50% of the population drinking it daily. Good coffee is becoming much more appreciated in this country as hipsters across the US have brought more awareness to what makes a good roast/brew. Many people in our nation are no longer satisfied with the familiar brands offered at the local grocery store. All these facts point to a successful fundraising opportunity for your school!
The profit of a coffee fundraiser is similar to a candle sale, but the market is much wider. A typical 1 pound bag of coffee costs around 10 to 15 dollars. Many coffee fundraising companies will split the profit 50/50. This is a wonderful profit margin for your school. And the product is not as heavy or hard to sell.
Offering a variety of roasts and the option of whole-bean vs. pre-ground will allow your market to widen. Most people who drink coffee appreciate a great roast, and if they are going to purchase it anyway, why not purchase for a great cause! Another selling point is that coffee makes great gifts for the coffee-lovers in your life. It is an easy sell to any door you knock on.
One of the other hassles of selling food items, which are among the most popular and successful fundraising ideas, is that they are perishable and often temperamental in how they need to be stored. Coffee is a relatively stable commodity in comparison with pizza or cookie dough (two other increasingly popular fundraising sellers). Coffee is packaged in a way that is unlikely for anything to be damaged in the multiple transitions (unlike wrapping paper fundraisers).
There are many reasons why gourmet coffee is becoming the new face of fundraising for schools, non-profit organizations, and other causes. Perhaps it is time to lay to rest some of the tired fundraising traditions and bring something new to the table. Parents, teachers, and neighbors will thank you as they enjoy their coffee each morning, and perhaps this will also remind them to be more ‘awake’ in other areas when it comes to getting involved with your school!
We have all had fundraising experiences at some point in our lives, whether it was for school, church, and organization or work. One of the hardest parts of fundraising is motivating the fundraising participants and keeping them motivated throughout the fundraising time period.
As I student in Elementary and Middle school I remember being extremely excited about all the prizes and incentives that we could earn through selling, I was immediately motivated and had high hopes of reaching all the goals. Soon after beginning, however, it became clear to me that I was not going to come close to reaching the goals that were set so I pretty much gave up altogether. Perhaps you have had similar experiences with a fundraiser yourself, or you have been on the flip side and watched those you were trying to motivate quickly become unmotivated in the process. The key to motivated your fundraising participants is the have incentive, but they need to be attainable incentives. Here are some things to shoot for when setting goals for your participants:
- Have benchmark prizes: if you can have some small incentives along the way as benchmarks that are easily reachable you will have an easier time maintaining momentum. This does not have to cost money. This can be as simple as rewarding with a privilege (i.e. an extra break from work, a homework skip pass, extra time at recess etc.). Make this an easy goal to attain, and one that can be attained as many times as they reach this benchmark. Benchmarks can help maintain momentum over a long term fundraising process.
- Have larger prizes for greater levels attained, but still within reach: often when embarking on a fundraiser, those organizing set large prizes for standards that are too high. The thought process is that if they are giving away big prizes too often, it eats into their profit. Some things to consider, however, are that the more people who reach these goals the more money you are earning as a whole. Also, there are many businesses that are happy to donate prizes (gift certificates etc.) as it is a tax right-off for them, so the prizes don’t have to cost you a dime. Ge out into your community and ask for some donated prizes for your cause. These should also be unlimited (as many times as the benchmark is attained).
- Have a grand prize: finally, have a prize for the person who sells the most. The combination of all three prize benchmarks will help maintain motivation. This final prize is the prize that you should invest some money in (i.e. an Xbox or vacation depending on the group doing the fundraising).
For more great fundraising motivation tips see the ideas listed here.
Motivating people for a fundraiser can be a very difficult endeavor. Often the organizers are so focused on incentives and prizes that they forget that one of the very best forms of motivation is encouraging people by rallying them as a team, making everyone feel as though they are a part of something much bigger. There are many ways to do this, but here are some ideas to help you bring a group atmosphere to your fundraising participants to maintain momentum.
- Frequent update gatherings: often fundraising planning only has the group meeting at the beginning and the end of the fundraiser. This leaves participants feeling as if they are alone, and they will often stop trying. Having frequent update meetings will remind people that they are in this together as a group and keep the fundraiser at the fore-front of their minds.
- Have progress posted somewhere visible: it’s important for participants to see the progress that is occurring. If they are able to see that others are continuing to work towards a goal, it will encourage them to continue to work to that goal as well. Displaying group progress also brings about a sense of community in the process.
- Have group wide incentives! Perhaps along the way you have group wide incentives when the group reaches certain points in the fundraising process. Ideas for this would be: and ice cream social at the halfway point, and a barbeque when the goal is reached. Group wide incentives and activities promote encouragement between participants. It also makes the experience more fun for all involved.
- Teams: one great idea for fundraisers is to split the participants in teams and promote friendly competition between teams. This lends itself well to schools. A class can be a team, and the class that earns the most is rewarded. Or have the participants choose their own teams so they have invested interest in the process and the progress as they work together.
- Choose fundraisers that aren’t individual selling! There are fundraising ideas that are group wide projects. Most of these are a single event that the group has to plan as whole and work together to achieve. Some options are: car washes, carnivals, benefit dinners, variety shows, and bake sales. This allows people to feel less of the pressure of achieving individual goals, and more a part of a group that will achieve a purpose.
When it comes to fundraising ideas, cookie dough has become increasingly popular in recent years. It is a pretty easy sell, as people enjoy having cookie dough on hand in large quantities to use however they see fit. The tubs are a nice option so that people can make anywhere from a few to a few dozen cookies as the dough stays good in the refrigerator. Many schools and organizations have success coinciding cookie dough sales with holidays (such as Christmas or Memorial Day) when people will be preparing food for large groups of people and having cookie dough on hand is a nice convenience.
Here are some of the reasons cookie dough is a great fundraising option:
- It’s free! Most companies will send you as many brochures as you need to get started selling. Students or fundraisers take around the order form and collect money. It’s a great hassle free way to start your fundraising off with no startup costs.
- It’s stable: even though it sounds like a difficult product to keep fresh, the companies that make them freeze the tubs. They can then be re-frozen, refrigerated, or even stored at room temperature for up to around twenty days. This eliminates the concern of transit times.
- Everyone loves cookies! Cookie dough is an easy sell any time of year these fundraisers are highly successful. Other fundraisers are usually geared to coincide with some special event or holiday, which means that you are competing with other fundraisers, or people are trying to save money. Cookie dough fundraisers could be used at any point, or multiple times during the year.
- Lots of options: you don’t have to do the typical frozen tubs of dough. There are dry mixes, pre-portioned or even home delivery for fresher products. There are also several different companies that work with fundraising programs, so you can shop around and find the best fit for what you are trying to achieve.
- Great profit margin! Finally, cookie dough sales have a great profit margin for the organization doing the fundraising. It is typically around 40% of the profit that goes to the group doing the fundraising.
- It’s simple: organizing a fundraiser can be very stressful and complicated. Cookie dough fundraiser organizing is as simple as distributing order forms and having people fill them out and collect money. Then the distribution is the last step. As stated above, some companies even ship directly to homes, which limits the logistical planning even more.