Great fundraisers set the stage for a great year. The donations and extra money you can gather during a well-run fundraiser allow you to develop a more enriching program, buy great equipment and supplies, and ensure your transportation costs are covered. There are three key factors that PTAs, program directors, and fundraising groups need to determine before a fundraiser can get underway:
- The product: There are lots of different crowd-pleasers that are easy to sell and that your volunteers, students' parents, and donors will love. Some big winners are popcorn, candy, discount cards, beef jerky, and, of course, cookie dough.
- The season: We generally recommend fall fundraisers for school and extracurricular fundraisers. Excitement about the new school year is high, and you can use the outcome of your fundraiser to plan out your budget for the rest of the year. Also, the fall season has a lot of holidays, events, and festivals where you can set up a booth and sell your products.
- The timeline: Some fundraisers last a few weeks, while others last a few months. Other fundraisers are centered around a single event. Choosing the right timeline for your fundraiser makes all the difference.
If you're planning your fundraiser for the next school year, let's take a deeper look at the benefits of a cookie dough fundraiser, how long it should be, and how to plan the details from start to finish.
The Benefits of a Cookie Dough Fundraiser
Fall fundraisers are perfectly timed to give you a wide range of product options. People are looking for gifts. The festive and holiday atmospheres from October all the way through the end of the year invite baking, sweets, and cooking. People are also happier to donate — or make fundraising purchases — when the goods are available at football games, seasonal events, and performances. Some of the reasons why cookie dough is a uniquely advantageous choice are that:
- It's universal: While some products may not have widespread appeal (beef jerky, for example, may have a limited audience when you consider vegetarians and vegans), almost everyone has a favorite flavor of cookie dough.
- It's a fun product: People love cookies, and cookie dough is a cheery product to sell.
- There are lots of options: Because cookie dough is often bought through a catalog and then delivered at a later date, you can offer a wider variety of options without ordering too much or your students having to carry around a lot of cookie dough. You can offer classics like chocolate chip and sugar cookie dough, a few seasonal flavors like gingerbread, or even options like gluten-free cookie dough so everyone can satisfy their sweet tooth.
- It's practical: You can advertise your cookie dough as gifts, as a way to carry out seasonal traditions without the prep work of manual cookie baking, and other marketing efforts. You can also tie it into your program's theme if you have a math or academics program or an after-school baking program.
The Timeline of a Cookie Dough Fundraiser
Cookie dough is a fun product to sell, and you can get a lot of funds for your sports, academic, or extracurricular program. But once you've decided to make cookie dough your fall fundraising product, it's time to create your timeline:
How Long Should Your Fundraiser Be?
First, decide how many weeks you want your fundraiser to be. If you're using a vendor that delivers orders after the fundraiser is complete, then make sure you take the delivery timeline into consideration. For example, if you can expect delivery to you or directly to your donors within two to three weeks, make sure to end your fundraiser at least three weeks before the semester ends. Also, consider fall break, Thanksgiving break, and any other vacations in your school's calendar.
Many program directors opt for longer cookie dough fundraisers that are two weeks long. This gives you and your student participants plenty of time to fundraise at school sports events, theater or band performances, and seasonal festivals. That's also enough time for your volunteers to reach out to friends, family, and coworkers about buying cookie dough. But it's still short enough that your fundraiser doesn't drag on and lose student interest.
When Is the Best Time to Begin Your Fundraiser?
Once you decide how long your fundraiser should be, you can more easily time it. For example, a two-week fundraiser starting the first week of October allows you to span the whole month of October and stop before Thanksgiving, with a nice window for delivering cookie dough during December. Some factors that can help determine the right start date for your fundraiser include:
- Other events you're responsible for managing
- Competing fundraisers that can take attention away from your program
- Any administrative approval processes you need to complete
- Events or triggers you can use to 'open' your fundraiser
How to Make Your Cookie Dough Fundraiser Fun Until It Ends
Even the best products and schedules need high-energy participants to make your fundraiser successful. If your fundraiser is short, you need a motivated group of participants that can make the most of that window. If it's on the longer side, you don't want interest to droop and for students to lose interest. Keep engagement high by:
- Setting weekly goals that students can reasonably achieve
- Have fun themes and posters
- Schedule time slots at school events where your participants can sign up and ask for donations
- Create incentives for more sales, such as the ability to use electronics in a specified class period
What to Do After the Fundraiser
Just because the selling period is over doesn't mean the fundraiser is complete. For catalog products like cookie dough, you still have delivery tasks and bookkeeping to handle. During the "post-fundraiser" part of your fundraiser, you'll want to track delivery, respond to messages from donors and customers, and keep in contact with your vendor so everything runs smoothly. This part of the process should be easy to manage — just make sure you leave time in your calendar to wrap everything up by the semester's end!
Launch Fundraising Is Here to Help Before, During, and After Your Cookie Dough Fundraiser
Managing the logistics and timeline of your fundraiser can be challenging, especially if you're wrangling student and parent volunteers, working in the classroom, and operating extracurricular programs at the same time. Launch Fundraising is here to help. Our all-in-one fundraising platform is designed to help you launch your fundraiser, track orders and money, and manage all of your delivery and follow-up tasks. Contact us today to learn more and schedule a demo to plan out your next fundraiser.