Providing quality education to students is expensive, and often schools cannot include everything they would like to do for their students in the school budgets. To ease financial strain and provide more opportunities, schools often hold fundraisers. Because the schools are not service providers or manufacturers, they must get help from businesses to make these fundraisers work. Businesspeople who are aware of fundraisers a school wants to do can offer their products or services to the school without waiting for the school to approach them.
Look at your product or service inventory. Use product or service descriptions to ascertain which products or services would be marketable in a school community. Typically, items offered during school fundraisers are easy to transport or confirm through the students who sell and are desired consistently. Chocolate bars and candy is a classic example, but if there is a need for something that you cannot transport, such as massages or furniture, you can confirm the sales with certificates the buyer can redeem. Conduct market research to determine what products or services are in demand given the demographics of the school community. Determining the right product for the consumer is one of the four "Ps" of marketing, along with selecting the right price, place and promotion.
Review the goals of the fundraising campaign. Narrow down the products and services that connect most directly to those goals. For instance, if the school needs new marching band uniforms and you sell music and books, then offering your CDs or digital audio downloads is more appropriate than offering your texts. Find an indirect spin if none of your products or services connect directly to the fundraising goals. For example, if you are an eye doctor and the school needs books, you can't offer texts, but you could offer discounted exams by connecting vision to the ability to read and participate in the classroom.
Gather financial documents for your company, and look at your figures to determine what sales agreement you can offer the school with your product or service. Offer the product or service as a straight donation if you want the marketing exposure alone. If you cannot afford to offer the product completely for free, determine what percent of the sale you would need in order to prevent a financial loss.
Draw up informational brochures or other materials that describe the products or services you are offering to the school.
Contact the school by phone or email to find out who you should contact with the fundraising offer.
Write a letter detailing your understanding of the school fundraiser. Tell the school not only about your products or services but also the experience that makes you a trustworthy provider. Detail the terms you'd be able to provide, such as the number of products and the percentage of profits you'd need to keep and refer to the informational documents. Instruct the recipient how to contact you and request a formal meeting to discuss the offer.
Send your letter, along with the informational materials, to the recipient.
Set a date with the recipient of your letter to discuss the fundraiser. Attend the meeting, and explain in more detail what you can do for the school. Provide hard numbers about how the agreement would help the school meet its objectives, if possible.
Set up a contract for the fundraising agreement if the school agrees to use your product or service. Follow up with a thank you note or letter regardless of whether the school accepts the offer.
Wanda Thibodeaux is a freelance writer and editor based in Eagan, Minn. She has been published in both print and Web publications and has written on everything from fly fishing to parenting. She currently works through her business website, Takingdictation.com, which functions globally and welcomes new clients.