Consulting for manufacturers wanting to get products into school fundraising

Everybody is writing books. I probably already have …. in newsletter and sales manual format over the years.

I hav e been in the fundraising business since 1981. I worked 4 years for a manufacturing company that made candles, filled apothecary jars and tins with popcorn and a few other assorted items. That company, Princeton Industries Corporation eventually faded away when the original owners sold out (I would have too for the kind of money they got).

I left the national company when I came to realize that my sales were paying for too many levels of middle and upper management…..not to mention a corporate pilot. The company used to use scare tactics to prevent people from leaving. “You don’t want to leave the security of your draw/salary and go out there and join the trunk slammers of the world.”

Good point. And not totally wrong.

“Trunk slammers” were sales people who carried brochures from manufacturers and importers they represented, literally in the trunk of the car. And when working for yourself, you don’t get paid until someone pays you and getting past that initial curve of making calls, committing groups, running sales and getting paid …. can be a little uncomfortable. But I did it and not only did I survive, I thrived. But I learned a lot of things the hard way.

Over the last 25 years, I have been running my own fundraising distributorship. I have sourced suppliers, selected products and designed brochures.

Are you a product manufacturer?

Are you selling to small mom/pop stores a case at a time? Consider what a large school can do.

Lets say we are running a well organized fundraising sale in a middle school with 800 students…..using a brochure where the average retail of the items on the brochure is $8…. and that the group keeps half the money they raise. If you get HALF (400) students to participate and those participants average 10 items $80 each, then you will have a $32,000 sale. The fundraising distributor working with you probably spent about $8000 for that product from you. How many mom/pop shop sales does that replace?

But where do you find the fundraising distributors who have their own sales teams out there knocking on the schoolhouse door? How do you make a fundraising brochure? How much profit must the fundraiser make to make it worth his/her while to use your merchandise?

How do you show the items in the brochure, including identifying them? Do you have to have bar codes on your products? What kinds of case sizes are distributors comfortable with? What kind of sales terms do you set up and how can you do that to protect yourself from loss?

How can you help that fundraiser take that school’s local sale and expand it from the neighborhood to the nation by adding internet sales in such a way to keep track of each students’ sale and credit that student toward any prizes earned? How do you do the record keeping? What about packing those individual orders to protect yourself from error and shortage claims?

Can you make gift cards or vouchers for your product and offer home delivery to the end user as an option?

I can answer these questions and a lot more as part of a strategy of expanding your overall sales through the fundraising market. If you are looking for a cheap batch of information, I’m probably not going to fit your mold. I would like to work with companies interested in an extended relationship.

You may email me at

Thanks for reading,

John Gardner

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