Fundraising is a time-honored activity that predates even the Scouts themselves. The basics of successful fundraising are just as relevant today as ever before—set clear goals, personalize your message and develop a loyal following. While these basics remain the same, there are also new ways Scout groups can boost their fundraising success in the modern era.
Now that Cub Scouts is welcoming girls to its program, this is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on your approach to fundraising and identify ways you can modernize the process for greater success. Here are a five tips for doing just that.
1. Reconsider your fundraising product—does it still work in 2018?
Some fundraising products stand the test of time; others do not. Fight the temptation to stick with the same fundraising product even once it’s past its prime. Do your supporters genuinely enjoy the product or find it useful, or will it collect dust in a pantry or junk door? People’s tastes and preferences change through the years, and it’s important that your group keeps up.
Choose a product people love and, better yet, one that will never go out of style.
2. Give people the option to buy/donate online.
Many companies now make it very easy to sell online directly to your supporters. When is the last time you connected with that aunt or cousin who sends $5 for every obscure holiday? Take a moment to call these folks and catch up. Then, direct them to your online sales site and offer them your product.
Adding an online sales component to your fundraiser doesn’t mean leaving face-to-face fundraising behind. It simply gives your supporters more options. It also opens up your fundraiser to people who live far away but would still like to support your cause.
3. What’s old is new. Teach participants the basics of face-to-face sales.
Recent years have seen a decline in door-to-door sales, and an increase in parent-driven fundraising that excludes kids from the sales process. Fundraisers have lost that key ingredient for long-term success: the personal connection.
Encourage participants to make (parent-supervised) face-to-face sales. Teach kids the basics of face-to-face sales etiquette—make eye contact, speak loudly and clearly, and don’t forget to say “please” and “thank you.” Teaching participants to ask for the sale allows them to be rewarded for their hard work. In addition to promoting personal growth, getting kids back involved in the sales process allows supporters to connect directly with your cause.
4. Track your progress as you go.
Gone are the days of crossing your fingers and hoping for the best until your fundraiser ends. Choose a fundraising program that makes it easy for you to track progress in real-time during your fundraiser, on both a group and individual participant level.
By tracking sales as you go, you can regularly update your group members on how the fundraiser is progressing. This helps keep up momentum and makes it more likely that you’ll reach your sales target.
5. Emphasize personal accountability, but work as a team.
In the past, there’s been a tendency for groups to focus either on group sales or individual sales. It’s been one or the other. However, both of these are important to maximize success.
When you set a sales target for each participant, you encourage everyone to “put in the work.” On the flip side, a team is only as strong as its weakest player, and Scout groups are called units for a reason. You need to work as a unit to succeed. Do you have a group member that is struggling in their efforts? Pair them up with someone who is doing a great job. Chances are they will learn from each other and will both be better off.
Sherwood Forest Farms is the nation’s leading wreath and evergreen fundraising company, exclusively for non-profit groups. Since 1954, Scouts have offered Sherwood Forest Farms’ greenery products for their annual wreath fundraising. Visit www.sherwoodforestfarms.com to learn more about our program.