It’s Never Too Early to Start SellingTim Ahern | October 15, 2018
If you enter any store in the fall, you’ll likely see Christmas items already on display. By mid-October, retailers are in full-on holiday selling mode, and shoppers aren’t far behind. For nonprofits raising money through selling Christmas items, though, timing can be everything. It’s crucial to think ahead to make sure you reach the many households who plan their holiday decorating in advance.
Holiday products can be a great way to raise money for your nonprofit, but since your products are time-specific, it’s never too early in the year to get started. Whether you’re thinking about Christmas in July or it’s already pumpkin season, the sooner you hit the road, the more successful your fundraiser will be. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of pre-holiday fundraising.
For product sales, you’ll be working with a third-party provider who likely has its own turnaround times. Check well in advance of any deadlines and create a plan that will ensure you have your orders in on time. This may mean sending your volunteers out with order forms far earlier than you might have assumed. Your vendor will need time to manufacture and ship the items, and that process can take weeks.
Starting early means you’ll also have time to get the word out about your fundraiser. Post images of the products you’ll be offering on your social media sites and encourage supporters to share. You can even schedule a launch event to surprise everyone with the theme of this year’s fundraiser. As the date for sales to start approaches, your own volunteers can help amplify your message across their own networks.
Motivate Your Volunteers
As you’re getting the community excited about your fundraiser, you should also invest time in ramping up your volunteers. If they believe in the products you’re selling, they’ll be able to pass that enthusiasm on to donors. Make sure everyone is fully trained and aware of how much you appreciate the work they’ll be doing. Set up a system that rewards top performers to ignite the competitive spirit and you’ll likely enjoy top sales.
Hit the Ground Running
On the designated start date, be available to help any volunteers who need it. Throughout the sales period, make sure you stay active on social media, getting the word out about what you’re offering. Images of your products and team events can do wonders for generating interest in what your nonprofit is doing. You may find that friends and family members from across the country want to participate, so if you can accommodate that, you’ll see even better numbers.
Since Christmas fundraisers are seasonal, often they work on strict timelines. However, you aren’t limited on your sales period. Check ordering deadlines well in advance and set a timeline that will ensure you maximize the amount of time you have to get the word out about your fundraiser. In addition to interacting with the community and gathering orders from donors, you’ll also need extra time to promote your efforts in advance and train volunteers so they’ll be fully equipped to sell.