By Kimberly Reynolds
Incentives are meant to drive additional participation in your school fundraiser and generate more sales. The best incentives are those that have value in the eyes of the participants and will motivate them to give their best effort.
Therefore, your reward program should offer quality items within a fairly structured setup that doesn't cause unwanted behaviors such as excessive or unsafe competition.
An important consideration is who ultimately pays for the rewards program. If you think about it, all rewards will come out of your net profit one way or another. Doesn't it make sense to get the most for your money while at the same time offering the best overall incentives?
Look for ways to save
Ask your supplier how their reward program works and whether there are any discounts for not utilizing their prize package. You might be able to not only save money, but also construct a better incentive program through local merchants. Consider putting together a selection of gift certificates for top sellers that are donated or bought at a discount from businesses that want to participate.
Offer locally generated prizes such as lessons, gift certificates, baked goods, and other items. Discount coupons can also be easily printed and supplied as a participation reward for everyone. Local merchants like toy stores, fast food restaurants, family entertainment businesses, sporting goods stores, etc. are examples of coupon sources or potential prize suppliers.
Think it through
Brainstorm with your team on how to create the best possible set of rewards at the lowest cost to your organization. Try to structure your incentive program to reward everyone - merchants, buyers, volunteers, sellers, parents, each sub-group of participants, etc.
Weigh competing factors
Consider the long-term impact of an improved prize program based on local offerings versus the alternatives. Don't default to low-end prize packages unless you have to.
Consider what's important
An incentive program should pay attention to what's important to the grass roots level of the organization. Look at ideas for incenting higher participation in a school fundraiser and pick ones that will have a greater impact than simply using token giveaways.
In school fundraisers, try to include something that directly benefits each classroom by providing supplies, special classroom privileges, or extra playground time.
Example elementary school incentives:
-Giving a portion of funds raised by them directly to that class
-Offer the teacher an incentive for hitting their classroom goal
-Allow a class to keep a portion of funds raised above their goal
-Give a class bonus funds for hitting 100% participation goal
-Reward the top five classes with a teacher prize package
-Provide premium rewards via a points qualifying system
The right sales incentive program will definitely boost your fundraising results. It's easy to design one that makes sense for your particular situation. Sure it takes a little extra effort, but the results are well worth it in extra sales.
About the Author
Kimberly Reynolds writes about fundraising ideas and helpful tips on fundraising for schools, PTA, youth sports, churches, charities, and other non-profit groups.
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