Between schools and charities there is always some group that is doing a fundraiser. The challenge for a lot of these groups is that they pick something like chocolates to sell, host car washes, or collect bottles, and these things aren’t always successful. Whether it’s the item that they’re selling isn’t appealing to a wide market, or they have to put in a large amount of time and effort to get a reasonable return. Most often it’s parents and neighbors that are purchasing the items, bringing in their car, etc. because they want to support their kids or the group, and not necessarily because they want the product.

Being in the custom embroidery business, you have a unique opportunity to turn this fundraising around, proving a unique and functional product.

So why should you even approach schools and groups with this proposal?

  • In the USA, schools collect over $3 billion in fundraising
  • About 75% of schools will do up to 5 fundraisers each year
  • There are almost 130,000 schools in the USA (public and private combined)
  • Totaling approximately 55 million students
  • 9 out of 10 parents purchase the product from the fundraiser
  • 70% of parents will sell to coworkers, family, friends (even if they themselves don’t purchase)

A lot of this fundraising is being done by the sports groups in the schools. Because sports programs and clubs don’t always have enough funding from the government to purchase new equipment, travel to tournaments, etc. they really rely on fundraising to ensure the kids have opportunities to take part in the sport.

  • Of those 55 million students, over 50% will participate in at least 1 sport
  • There can be up to 20 different sports in a single school

When all of these schools and teams are doing fundraisers, they can often get stuck into selling the same things as the other teams and schools. If your kid is on the basketball team and they do a fundraiser with chocolate bars and your other kid is on the volleyball team and they also do chocolate bars, as a parent it’s going to get old pretty quickly.

Custom embroidered t-shirts or vinyl printed shirts can really bring something new to the fundraising, because it’s not the same thing every time. You can have “Basketball Mom” or “Volleyball Mom” or even something a little more humorous “My son dribbles”.

When you’re pitching your custom shirts, hoodies, caps, etc. to the schools, you’ll want to come armed with a list of why doing an apparel fundraiser is going to benefit the school:

Value. The perceived value of apparel is higher, because it has a continued value. This means people are more likely to buy it.

Higher revenue. If they sell chocolate bars at $2 each, the school may only be earning $1 each. However, because of the higher value of the apparel they can charge more. So if the cost on each shirt is $17, the school can sell it at $20, earning $3 on each shirt. If they sell the same number of shirts as they would typically sell chocolate bars, they’ve just tripled their revenue.

Longevity. Apparel doesn’t expire, and so they can set up a table at all the home games. But you can also set up a website so that parents can order their apparel directly from you. The fundraising becomes ongoing.

School spirit. Parents and family members can wear the apparel to the games to cheer on their kids and the teams.

Options. Parents and kids can customize their apparel to suit their favorite colors, styles, etc.

Reduced liability. This will come into effect if people can purchase the apparel directly from you. With traditional fundraising schools often have to cover the cost of the product upfront. If those people can go online and make their order, they can pay with their credit card (instead of having to have cash available), and so the product isn’t created until payment is made, meaning no upfront cost to the school, or to you as the embroidery business. Then you payout the school based on the terms you have set with them.

Why should you enter the fundraising market?

We’ve already mentioned how big this market is, but there are a few other key benefits to your embroidery business:

Referrals. If you do a good job, these schools can be long term customers. But you also have the added benefit of potential clients from the parents who are purchasing, because they work for other companies, they may be a part of a sport team or club themselves, that needs your services.

Low marketing cost. We’ve talked before about understanding the cost of acquiring a customer. Because you’re spending little to no money on marketing, the new customers you get with have a low acquisition cost.

Be Prepared

Before you jump head first into a fundraising campaign, make sure you’ve done a few things.

First off, take the time to consider your overall costs for producing each product you want to offer – whether this be shirts, hoodies, caps, etc. When you meet with someone from the team or the school you’ll want to be prepared to show them numbers: what you’ll sell the apparel at to them, and a suggested price they sell the apparel at.

Bring in a sample to the school with their logo on a shirt. This will help sell them on the idea.

Find out how many students are in the school and on each team. This will help you make estimates on how many shirts they’re likely going to order. You may get a 300 shirt order and so if you can anticipate that you can order enough supplies so that you’re ready to get started right away.

You’ll probably want to start off with just one team or club, so that you can get into the flow of thing, understand how much is typically ordered. Then grow from there, so you can ensure you’re not overwhelmed and are managing all the orders in a timely manner.

The fundraising market can have huge benefits to your business. It can create a steady revenue stream, and increase referrals. Best of all you’re supporting your local community.