Spread holiday cheer and raise money for your squad with a festive wreath fundraiser.
By William F. Stier, Jr., ed.d.
With the year winding down and holidays fast approaching, who better than cheerleaders to spread the spirit of the season to the people around you? Follow the guidelines below to deck the halls—and decorate the walls—by organizing a holiday wreath and greenery fundraising campaign to benefit your squad. But you have to act quick and kick off this fundraiser today to complete it in time for the holidays!
At a glance: Purchase fresh, festive and fragrant holiday greenery (wreaths, sprays, garlands and centerpieces) at wholesale prices and have your squad sell each item for a substantial profit—just in time for the holiday season.
Profitability potential: $1,500–$2,000.
Initial squad investment: A start-up sum of about $25 will cover promotional and publicity materials. The wholesale cost of the products can usually be paid for up to 30 days following the purchase, after the sales are finalized and money is collected.
Fee structure: Prices vary depending on the type of wreath or greenery. Generally, items should be resold so that the net profit per item ranges from $7–$10. For example, if one company sells a 26-inch wreath for $10 (plus $2.10 shipping) with a suggested retail price of between $19 and $22, this generates a profit of between $6.90 and $9.90. If 200 wreaths are sold at approximately $10 profit per wreath, your team makes around $2,000.
Lead time required: Plan on spending up to 10 days planning and organizing your fundraising campaign, plus 2–3 weeks to allow the wholesaler to prepare the order for your team.
Repeat potential: With the festivities around this season, this fundraiser should be repeated annually.
The first step to being successful at this fundraiser is choosing a reputable wholesale company to buy the products from. Many national organizations provide a variety of styles, sizes and types of greenery (with different accents and decorations) at prices ranging from as low as $5–$6 to as high as $25 to $30 each, plus delivery costs. You can turn around and sell these products to customers for around $7 to $10 higher than the wholesale price, collecting a significant profit for your team.
In some communities, you might also try to find local craftspeople who take orders for holiday wreaths on a wholesale basis. This will save your team the cost of delivery/shipping the wreaths, as well as giving you the chance to support a local business. If you decide to order from a national company, there are generally three options for selling and delivering the merchandise. First, your squad can collect the money and personally deliver orders to customers some weeks later, usually in early December. The second method that some companies offer involves collecting the money and mailing addresses of the recipients and having the wholesaler
deliver the wreaths for you. While this may be the easiest method, it’s also the most expensive, since the wholesaler will charge for each delivery. The third and most risky option is ordering the products in bulk and attempting to sell every item. Plan ahead with your squad to decide which method best suits your goals.
Many wholesalers require a minimum number of cases (10 for example, with 8 to 10 wreaths per case) be purchased by a fundraising group, while others require only a minimum of 50 pieces (of various styles, sizes and costs). Since wreaths ordered from the wholesaler are fresh and perishable, unsold items can’t be returned for credit. Make sure to plan ahead so that your squad doesn’t order more than it sells. However, most reputable companies do provide guarantees for their merchandise, and any damaged items will be replaced free of charge.
Typically, wholesalers will provide color brochures depicting the merchandise, order forms and samples of “sales records” for fundraising groups. In addition, some companies provide suggestions on how to conduct your fundraising efforts and approach prospective customers.
Since this fundraiser takes place during the short holiday season, it’s important to plan well in advance. Your team’s first steps include researching potential wholesale companies to buy from and obtaining permission to sell within your school. Next, you’ll need to determine how many wreaths your team should order based on the profit you wish to make, the wholesale price of the items and the suggested retail value. At this time, the team should also decide on a start ing date to approach potential customers. If you have decided to make presales, then the selling window should be in early November.
Plan on ordering your wreaths at least 10 to 14 days prior to when you want them delivered (around mid-November). Many wholesalers plan for delivery within a three-day window, however most companies allow up to 30 days following receipt of the wreaths for payment to be made. Since the greenery is expected to remain fresh for three or four weeks, it’s important to deliver the merchandise on time—during the first or second week of December—so customers can enjoy it for as long as possible.
Costs and Benefits
The wholesale cost of the greenery is predetermined by the company and will vary depending on the types of items ordered and the method of delivery. These costs should be checked with the company that your team is working with prior to making an order.
Depending on how your team decides to
order and deliver the merchandise, the out-of-pocket cost of this project is fairly small. If you order a bulk amount and don’t sell every item, then you’ll have to eat the cost of the greenery that wasn’t purchased. If you decide to have the wholesaler deliver the items directly to the customers, you’ll be charged an additional delivery fee. Other costs for this project include a minimum amount ($25 or less) for publicity and promotional purposes, and gas expenses if your squad decides to personally deliver the items.
The More the Merrier!
Because of the small selling window, every member of your team needs to get into the spirit in
order to make this fundraiser a success! Stay organized and make sure each person keeps a list of customer names, addresses and items they have purchased, to ensure proper delivery. Also, keep all the money together in one envelope. Any extra items that were ordered (without a confirmed purchase and payment received) can be divided up among the team and sold
directly to customers during the month of December. However, any wreaths that aren’t sold create a negative cash flow, so order carefully!
The success or failure of this project is dependent upon the dedication of both the cheerleaders and parents who are willing to help sell, publicize and deliver the items. Take copies of sales brochures to school, your parents’ work, offices and local businesses to increase chances of making presales. Holiday wreaths can also be sold almost anywhere! Remember to always
secure permission to sell in any public facility, whether it’s a school, hospital, church or office.
The only facility needed for this project is a place for the wholesaler to ship the purchased materials and distribute them to your squad (a team member’s garage or shed should work). The only supplies you’ll need are copies of the fliers (provided by the wholesaler) depicting the various items for sale and any posters or signs used to publicize the fundraising project around the school and within various community businesses and organizations.
Promote your Product!
Some advance marketing and promotional efforts are helpful to make potential customers aware of your fundraiser. This will also let them know of the nonprofit nature of your squad. Create signs and posters that highlight your squad (include a pic of your team suited up!), what exactly will be sold and how the money will be put to worthwhile use.
Take advantage of your school’s public address (PA) system at school-sponsored events, games and activities to promote the fundraiser. And, don’t forget to contact your local “penny-savers” newspapers that are distributed free to all community residents. These local publications can help promote the fundraiser and your team!
Spread Cheer Each Holiday Season
This fundraiser can easily be made into an annual event, especially if customers were happy with their purchases. Follow up with a few of your customers to see what they thought and if they would be interested in buying from you again. Make sure to keep a list of customers so you can approach them next year!