Fall fundraisers are a great way to kick off the year and add funds to your program's annual budget. The school year is new, everyone's excited, and there are plenty of events, holidays, and games where you can raise money through fundraisers and donations.
Also, fall and winter are big seasons for giving, as "30% of annual giving occurs in December," according to Crowd101. While it's important to pick the right time and get your volunteers engaged in the fundraiser, it's just as important to pick the right fundraising product.
While some catalog-based products might appear more profitable, they could also introduce many logistical difficulties, like delivering orders. Products you can sell directly are versatile and convenient, but you might face a lot of competition from other school programs, sports directors, and after-school organizations that are running their own fundraisers.
If you're weighing the pros and cons of different fundraising products, turn to this quick list of suggestions, learn about the advantages of each one, and plan to take the next step in your fundraiser.
Beef Sticks and Beef Jerky
Beef jerky and beef sticks are increasingly popular fundraising items for fall fundraisers. Some of the key advantages they offer include:
- Versatility: Depending on the nature of your fundraiser, you can sell them either as a catalog item — that is, have donors place orders in advance and then deliver orders later — or you can sell them directly from your pre-ordered inventory. This allows you to reach the right audience based on the availability of events, who your donors and participants are, and the rules for fundraising at your school.
- Healthy Alternative to Sugary Products: many fundraisers focus on sugary treats: chocolate bars, cookies, and other desserts. While there's definitely room for these fundraisers, some parents and participants are looking for savory alternatives without as much sugar. You won't face competition from other groups who have already pre-ordered their candy bar boxes. You can also reach parents that are worried about sugar, potential buyers looking for gluten-free snacks, and people who prefer keto-friendly options.
- Convenient Shipping: These products are individually sealed and don't need to be refrigerated. This makes shipping easier and more affordable. Beef sticks and beef jerky are also available from vendors all across the country.
Best Fundraising Option For: Football and Boys' Soccer
Pair these savory treats with sports games. If you have a concessions booth near the bleachers, you can reach students, parents, alumni, and other community members for quick and convenient sales. Buyers can get into the spirit of things by buying a snack as they watch the game!
Give standard fall fundraisers a modern twist by selling coffee. You can sell specialty grinds with unique flavors (especially for the fall and winter seasons), or you can sell pre-bottled coffee drinks and option directly selling products. With the average American drinking 3.1 cups of coffee a day, this will be a big hit as your fall fundraiser. Some of the key advantages of selling coffee include:
- Uniqueness: Coffee simply isn't a classic fall fundraiser option. Far from making it a risky venture, though, this makes it all the more appealing. Teenagers, parents, volunteers, and other teachers are all a great market for coffee products, so you'll be able to sell a trendy product without any competition on campus.
- Lots of Options: Coffee isn't like candy bars, where there are a handful of flavor options but it's all the same basic product. Instead, you can scale up or simplify your fundraiser based on the different types of coffee products you want to offer, such as:
- Whole or ground beans that have special labels for your school or program
- Coffee pods
- Instant coffee sachets (similar to tea bags or single-serve hot chocolate packages)
- Pre-bottled coffee drinks that are sealed and don't need refrigeration
- Fresh coffee: If you're partnering with local vendors, you can order travel cases of freshly brewed coffee (typically in 96-ounce boxes or larger) and sell individual cups at events.
Best Fundraising Option For: Volleyball and Cross Country
When you have games and events that start early in the morning, like cross country meets or state volleyball tournaments, coffee is a great fundraising option. You can give morning crowds of parents, coaches, and staff a tasty morning pick-me-up, make everyone's morning a little more convenient, and have weekly success at your competitions. Pair these fundraising sessions with ongoing sales at school or other school events.
Popcorn is an instant crowdpleaser in any season, but it's a fun favorite for fall and early winter. Some of the key benefits are:
- Universal Appeal: Everyone loves popcorn, no matter the flavor. You can sell classic butter, cheesy options, caramel popcorn, or other flavors, and hungry audiences will buy it as a snack. Sell your popcorn at games and events, place advance orders for gourmet popcorn and gifts of tinned popcorn, and enjoy how easy it is to sell this shelf-stable staple.
- Direct Shipping: If you opt to sell orders of gourmet popcorn, popcorn kernels, and tins of popcorn that can be given as a gift, many vendors offer this with direct shipping options. This means your donors can place in-person or online orders, and they'll get their purchases without you having to play middle-man and ensure everyone gets what they purchase.
Best Fundraising Option For: All Sports (Especially Cheer and Girls' Soccer)
Because popcorn is so versatile and popular, virtually every sports team, academic program, and after-school organization can use it and see great results. But if you're trying to lock down a solid option that gives every team a unique fundraiser, this is a great option to reserve for cheer teams and girls' soccer teams.
Discount cards feature local vendors and franchises. When you sell the cards, your donors can use the cards for one-time discounts or ongoing savings at participating stores, which might have offered buy-one-get-one deals, percentage discounts, or other appealing offers for local shoppers.
Vendors see this as a great marketing opportunity (and may be willing to make donations alongside participating in your card program). Buyers also get a lot of great value. You can reach out directly to potential participants or work with national chains that often have pre-determined promotional offers for use with discount cards in school fundraisers.
Best Fundraising Option For: Everyone
Everyone can see great results with a discount card fundraiser. You can even mix and match different vendors based on your activity, a theme, or the interests of your top donors.
Enjoy a Successful Fundraiser This Fall With Launch Fundraising
Once you pick the perfect product, pick the right tools that can help make your fundraiser a breeze. At Launch Fundraising, we can help you handle all the nitty-gritty details of ordering your products, managing in-person and online orders, creating virtual fundraisers, and counting the cash.
Contact us today for more fall fundraiser suggestions and an easy online dashboard that will make your next fall fundraiser easier.