Hi there! Lauren, your Chief Cultivator here! Congrats on being a current or future FarmRaiser organizer, aka one of the cool kids. One of the first decisions you’ll need to make is whether you want individual students, organization members, staff, etc. (called Champs) to sell in your FarmRaiser. If not, your campaign will consist of one web market from which all customers will make purchases.
I personally encourage as much champ participation in FarmRaisers as possible. However, there are instances in which web-only sales are the best fit, and when properly executed, they work great. This decision is critical in determining the success of your FarmRaiser, so before you decide, let me share the key takeaways we’ve gathered from the 100+ FarmRaisers we’ve completed.
Takeaway 1: Sales are almost always more successful when champs sell. The reason behind this is simple: when champs sell, they expose their friends, family, and networks to FarmRaiser, resulting in more customers. As proof, every FarmRaiser that’s cleared $10,000 has included champs. Not only can champs share the link to their custom market (complete with an adorable profile picture) with supporters, they can also use our app for face to face sales. Champs add a personal touch and added manpower to your FarmRaiser that can be difficult to compensate for in a web-only campaign.
Takeaway 2: Web-only sales can be very successful when hosted by schools or orgs with 1) a culture of community-supported fundraising; 2) GREAT email lists; and 3) a commitment to stay engaged with those lists and networks throughout the campaign. Supporters need to be constantly reminded and encouraged to purchase products. McGilvra Elementary and Stevens Elementary in Seattle are great examples of successful web-only campaigns; organizers and staff at both schools promoted their FarmRaisers extensively before the start date and communicated constantly with parents and community supporters via email, newsletters, letters home, and social media throughout the campaign. They’re on their third year of FarmRaising, and each campaign is better than the last.
If you think hosting a web-only FarmRaiser is the right choice for your school/org, here are a few questions you can ask yourself to make sure:
- Have parents, community members, and other supporters in our area been receptive and supportive of fundraisers in the past? If the culture is there, the chances your web-only campaign will be successful greatly increase.
- Do I have the tools I need to properly publicize and promote FarmRaiser? This includes having access to great email lists (not just your own personal contacts list and Facebook account), school/org social media accounts, and other communication tools like newsletters, emails to parents, etc.
- Do I have the support I need to make our FarmRaiser successful? Web-only campaigns (and campaigns in general, for that matter) are successful when there is buy-in from teachers, parents, PTA, staff members, etc. These folks are critical in the continual promotion of your FarmRaiser, especially when champs aren’t selling.
- Are my helpers and I willing to stay engaged with our FarmRaiser for the duration of the campaign? An email and a Facebook post on your start date won’t cut it. Especially when students aren’t selling, organizers and their team members need to be ready to promote their sale in every way they can, to everyone they can, as much as they can.
Once you figure out the best fit for your school or organization, we’re here to help! Check out our tips for sales with champs here and our tips for web-only campaigns here. If you have ANY questions or need help deciding which is the best fit for your campaign, shoot me an email or give me a call at 571-279-8873.