Behind every worthy cause requiring money is someone looking for a good fundraising vehicle. If your product is a good match for that cause, you could soon have dozens of highly motivated volunteers selling your product. Before you market your product for fundraising, understand the organizations that might be interested in working with you, as well as doing some research into competing products.
Your Marketing Plan
As with any new marketing effort, begin with a marketing plan. You should look at competitive products being used for fundraising, identify organizations that could use your product, competitors' pricing models and markups available to the fundraisers. Odds are you already know people involved in fundraising in your community, through your children's school, church or local community organizations. Talking to them about their needs and problems they have had with other products can reveal opportunities for your product, such as packaging it in a ready-made sales kit for volunteers to use.
Many organizations do their fundraising on an annual basis, so checking back issues of community newspapers can give you a list of organizations in your area to start with. These may be archived online but if they're not, you can usually get back issues at the newspaper office. The IRS maintains a searchable online database of all charities eligible to receive tax deductible contributions, such as community centers, schools and churches. As you exhaust your list of local organizations you can spread out to nearby communities.
Pricing Models and Branding
A survey of products already available for fundraising organizations will reveal that fundraisers usually receive at least half of the proceeds for selling a product. Fundraisers may be more likely to use your product if they can add their name or logo to your products. You will need to determine the cost of custom branding and a minimum number of orders you will require for custom branding. Even if you need a minimum order of 500 units to make this cost-effective, it's a good idea to make this available. You might be surprised how many units even a small group can sell when they are motivated for a good cause.
Adding Value to Fundraisers
As a business owner, you can bring more to a fundraiser than just a product. Many community organizations are run by volunteers who don't necessarily have the sales and marketing experience you have. Packaging your product samples in fundraising kits can add tremendous value to the organizations you are helping. Kits can include sample sales scripts volunteers can use to explain the benefits of your product, envelopes for storing cash or checks, and order forms for recording delivery information. Adding sales tips, safety advice for door-to-door sales or fundraising how-to videos to your website can also attract fundraising clients locally or from around the world.
A published author and professional speaker, David Weedmark has advised businesses and governments on technology, media and marketing for more than 20 years. He has taught computer science at Algonquin College, has started three successful businesses, and has written hundreds of articles for newspapers and magazines throughout Canada and the United States.