What is it that you want from your supplier?
How willing are they to help you meet your goals?
Will they personalize their product for your congregation?
Do they have brochures or proven sales techniques to help your volunteers?
Why Work With a Fundraising Company?
The best part about working with a fundraising company is the low startup cost. In most cases, working with a fundraising company requires no initial investment - you supply the salespeople, they supply the product, and the business takes a percentage of the profits you make from your sales. Additionally, fundraising companies often supply organizations with advertising materials, sign-up forms, and other tools to help ensure a successful drive that is profitable for both of you.
Choosing a Reputable Firm
Find out how long the company has been in business - five years or more is often the mark of a successful organization. Though the cost of doing business with them may be a bit higher, in the end, it is generally worthwhile to choose a reputable firm. If the business has a website, does it have a professional appearance?
What methods of payment does the company accept? Make sure that their financial and product information is easily available and clearly stated - if you have questions about their policies or procedures, be sure to ask them! This will save both sides many potential headaches and help to ensure a successful fundraiser.
Problems Do Happen
With any luck, your fundraiser will come off without so much as a hitch. Unfortunately, however, problems do crop up from time to time. What happens if you're unsatisfied with their products? Is the company easy to contact? What sort of return policy do they offer? What if you're unable to sell to your projected goals? Asking these sorts of questions will help you choose a company that best fits your church's fundraising needs.
If you do experience a problem during your church group fundraiser, bring it to the company's attention immediately. Most want you to have the best possible experience for your drive, and will do all they can to accommodate your concerns so that it's a "win-win" for both parties. A good company wants you to be happy about your association with them, so that you'll patronize their business again and recommend them to other organizations for their valuable fundraising services.
If You Can, Do It Yourself!
Although offers of extra prizes can be enticing and motivating to sellers, most companies will not provide them free of charge. If your church group requests extra unusual considerations, be prepared to sacrifice some profit. A more cost-effective idea might be to have church members donate prizes for top fundraisers.
Companies can be a great help to your fund drive efforts, but also remember that it's possible to make some products yourself - approaching local businesses in the interest of putting together a coupon book from their donated special offers is an excellent and profitable venture for both you and your community. Likewise, a chapbook of your congregation's favorite donated recipes is easy and cheap to produce, and will foster a greater sense of togetherness through the sharing of tradition and food.
Though not always true, in general, the more aspects of your fundraising drive that you and your team can comfortably take on, the more profitable your effort is likely to be.