The team behind School Ponytails have decades (I've lost count!) of experience in retail, sales, and marketing. We've seen successes and failures, and can attest that there are plenty of great ideas in this world, but not all too many are executed well!
These are our team's top tips to executing a successful fundraiser:
1. Plan your fundraisers around obvious events:
Planning is good! Identify opportunities early on, and link sales opportunities to big events. The biggest events of the year for school Uniform Shops include:
1. Back To School
2. School Photo Day
3. Summer/Winter uniform change
4. Sports Carnivals
5. The new class of Kindy kids starting up.
These are the events that we recommend to promote the companion sale of hair accessories - it's a really simple fundraising idea when it pairs perfectly with uniform sales!
Related: Free Printable School Term Planner 2018
2. Opt in to the Term Fundraiser as early as you can in the year:
Planning #2: If you're not already on board for Back To School, jump aboard quickly: this gives your school the best chance to raise the maximum amount throughout the year.
Think about the information parents will need at the start, middle, and end of a promotion, and cater your social media posts and promotions to these. For example: Sports Carnival preorders:
1.Promote the Pre-Order Forms being sent home.
2. Remind parents that the Order Forms are due back.
3. Give parents a final reminder over the due date.
4. Thank parents for participating, and let them know how well you went with your fundraiser.
4. Promote! Promote! Promote!
Facebook really is a great tool for communicating with parents. If your school uses a Facebook Group, Skoolbag style app, or Online Canteen, why not add links to the provided Order Forms?
You're also supplied with marketing materials to make it easy to post to Facebook to remind parents that orders are open, orders are due, and thank them for their support - all you need to do is post them.
Between additions to the newsletters, printed posters around school, and social media, you're sure to catch parents' eyes one way or the other.
5. Think outside the box.
Encourage parents to think about uniform requirements on a term-by-term basis, by sending out order forms once per term, and reminding them of important events (e.g. the change to winter uniform). These types of orders can have set "orders open" and "orders closed" dates. For Uniform Shop stockists, you could offer parents to complete their orders by Friday, and have the Uniform Shop fill the order by the following Tuesday.
6. Meet needs.
People want to make a difference, They are seeking personal fulfillment through supporting your cause. What are the perceived needs of your parents? For us, we find our parents love knowing that:
1. they're helping their school
2. they don't need to run about the shops to find the right stuff (that doesn't exist at the shops!)
3. it's an easier process to "just buy from the school"
4. parents are well aware that hats, jumpers, and bows WILL go missing or otherwise need replaced.
Use this knowledge in your promotion of the fundraiser, and you'll notice revenue increase!
7. Add on sales are easy sales.
Combine your Uniform Order Form AND Accessories Order Form with your School Photo Day leaflet, Kindy pack, Back To School paperwork (etc), to get parents thinking about their COMPLETE uniform needs throughout the year.
8. Get creative.
Kindy kids often means there are new parents coming in to the school system - and it's too easy to forget that they really have no clue about school life! Think about creating a "Kindy Pack" of uniforms, containing all the essentials for your school (e.g. top, bottoms, hat), and maybe add in a headband and some hair ties for the girls? By providing parents a pre-packaged uniform kit, parents' purchasing decisions are simplified, and your staff/volunteer workers' days are streamlined! This also works for any changes that happen across the years, e.g. moving from a pre-school uniform to a big kid uniform in year one.
9. Get colourful.
Please, please, please: print your Order Forms in colour! It's a small expense to encourage greater traction in your promotion!
10. Thank and inform:
Parents don't mind supporting a good cause: if they know it's a good cause! Thank them, and let them know what you have raised funds for. Knowing their contribution has made a difference may encourage them to participate again in future fundraisers!
For more tips on sales and promotions, or advice on how to make your School Ponytails fundraiser the star earner at your school, contact your School Ponytails representative, or send us a message. Our schools have access to lots of free online resources to help make the most out of their bow fundraisers.
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Have a wonderfully successful new school year!
Nicola - School Ponytails
Nicola is the founder of "School Ponytails" and "Ponytails and Fairytales" and loves creating brands for kids to love, and schools to be proud of. School Ponytails is home to Australia's own custom hair accessories fundraiser. Ponytails and Fairytales is Australia's most magical and glittery hair accessories and jewellery range for little girls. Find out more about the story behind the brands here.