Fundraising – The Key To The School Market Door

Nothing gets the attention of a school organization like the word FUNDRAISER. It’s one of the top priorities in this age of budget cuts and financial trimming.

PTA, Athletic Boosters, Band Boosters, and Academic Boosters are just a few of the many groups that actively participate in raising funds to support the schools and student activities. You can easily target them with an exciting program that allows them to sell customized and personalized products with a decent margin for them and you, something that is uniquely different than most of the stale, tired out programs they are dealing with currently.

In general, there are two solid approaches for Digital Decorators: Spirit Products and Kids Artwork.

The Spirit Products concept is typically a direct retail approach for the organization trying to raise money. They order merchandise to resell that is branded with the school logos and mascots. This is usually done (by them) at sporting events, in the school cafeteria, on the school website, etc. Typical items include, but are not limited to: apparel, mugs, mouse pads, license plates, car flags, water bottles, flip flops, iphone covers, etc. Some groups may also wish to offer personalization at an extra charge. Perhaps the biggest challenge for you is coming up with a price structure that allows both of you to make a reasonable margin. Always stay focused on the fact that they have to markup your price and still be able to make decent sales.

The second approach is Kids Artwork. Obviously, this is targeted to the Elementary School level and usually offered by the PTA. In general, the children draw pictures which are then sublimated onto products such as mugs, t-shirts, refrigerator magnets, mouse pads, etc and sold to the pa.rents.

Regardless of the approach you use to target the school market, you will need a “killer” sample kit to support your efforts as it allows your clients to “touch and feel” a variety of appealing products. This should not be a random collection of items, but rather a well-thought-out collection of related products (typically high in margin) that are decorated with a common theme. That doesn’t mean the same image on every substrate, but rather related images on each piece. While it might sound more effective to create school specific kits, that would be a very expensive endeavor especially considering that not every school will become a client.

The best method is to create a generic school, complete with logos and mascots, such that you don’t risk offending one school by showing them samples with their rivals mascots imprinted on them. To make this easy, we have included four series of school images which can be downloaded, edited and printed as needed on substrates of your choice.

Before you start ordering blanks to decorate for your kit, review the applicable chapters for a list of ideas. Build a comprehensive kit for each market that you approach, but only focus on the items that would have the most appeal to the specific group within that market. Having a good variety of products is excellent, but too many choices can be overwhelming and complicate the decision making process.

The key here is to drive the sales process using your sample kit as the motivator along with a great sales pitch. For each individual school, it might be worthwhile to create one sample sublimated with their actual logo and/or mascot as a freebie that you can leave behind. People always get more excited by their school images rather than someone else’s, though it’s not practical to create an entire sample kit customized for them.

To learn more about fundraising for schools, watch our Online Training Video entitled: Fundraising. It’s located in our archives and you will need to register your first time in, but it’s FREE.