by Shannon Mastey

Most school fundraisers involve selling a product; it’s easier to sell something than to just ask people for donations. The standard fundraiser products like cheesecakes or home goods can get boring for both the seller and buyer, and this can make it difficult to make any money. Consumers are more attracted to products with certain qualities than others- here are a few important qualities for your fundraising product to have.

1. A Reasonable Price Tag

No matter how dedicated a donor is to your cause, they won’t be willing to pay exorbitant prices for things they could buy somewhere else. To actually make a profit, you have to charge more than the product would usually cost, but the increase in price becomes unreasonable at a point. If you wouldn’t be willing to spend $30 on that candle, it’s safe to say that most other people wouldn’t either.

2. Eco-Friendly

These days people are prioritizing environmentally friendly products more than ever before. Make your product something that helps (or doesn’t hurt) the environment: use recycled materials, plant trees to minimize the effects of your paper usage, or even swap synthetic materials for organic ones. Showing environmental awareness has the added benefit of improving your organization’s reputation in the eyes of consumers.

3. Locally Created

It’s important to support local businesses (or make your own product) in your fundraiser; it reduces the environmental impact of your product (less packaging and carbon emissions required to ship it) and it adds scarcity to your product, both of which are appealing qualities. Using a local product can also help your school get a better cut of the sales, since you’re working and negotiating with community leaders/business owners instead of national corporations.

4. Creative & Unique

Run-of-the-mill fundraisers get boring very quickly. You and your students probably don’t want to sell cylinders of popcorn, and most people don’t want to buy an overpriced popcorn tin. For your fundraiser’s sake (and your own), use an interesting and different product. Sell something that you would buy or be interested in if it was offered to you!

5. Good Margins

It’s important for you and consumers that your fundraiser actually helps your school or organization. In order for it to really help you, you need either a) a huge volume of sales at a small profit for the school or b) fewer sales with a higher profit for the school. Ideally, you would have both, but it’s hard to make a ton of sales. You can, however, make more money by selling a product that gives you a higher percentage of the sales. This is better for your organization and it’s more appealing to consumers: they know a decent amount of their money is going towards your cause, rather than some company they’ve never heard of.

It can be demoralizing to go around selling a product that nobody seems to want. You can reduce these tough feelings and make more money for your group by just changing a few things to make your product more appealing to consumers.

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