What if I Don’t Want Champs in my FarmRaiser?

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.

 

Useful Questions:

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

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Cheat Sheet for Champs: Increase Sales and Hit Your Goal!

Hey there, FarmRaiser Champ! Check out the tips below for some quick ways to increase sales for your fundraiser. If you have any other tips that have worked for you, feel free to add them in the comments section!

1) If you’re not using the app, download it from iTunes or Google Play and get started! You can sell face-to-face with the app and take cash or check payments in addition to credit cards. Take a stroll with your family through your neighborhood and see if your neighbors would like to buy some healthy local products to support you! Parents, our app is also a great way to make quick sales to coworkers.

2) If you haven’t already, share the link to your market with everyone you know who might like to support you. Share via email, social media, texting, or even ask Mom or Dad to pull your market up on a tablet or computer at work and encourage their coworkers to buy something. When you share your link, include a personal note explaining why you’re selling these products and how they help the community. If you have questions about getting to your personal market link, email your Cultivator and we’ll get it to you ASAP!

3) If you haven’t already, log in to your champion account and upload a profile picture! It will show up when you share your market link, personalizing your FarmRaiser and further encouraging supporters to donate.

4) Encourage out-of-town supporters to make a donation or buy a community basket! Both are easy ways for them to support your fundraiser without needing to buy an actual product.

5) Remind friends to register and start selling! The more champions who are selling, the easier it will be to hit your goal!

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Tips for a Successful Web-Only Campaign

Ready to make your web-only FarmRaiser blow up? Here are some helpful tips to publicize and promote your sale!

  1.  Start publicizing your FarmRaiser in advance–let parents, community members, and other supporters know it’s coming (and what products you’re selling!) by putting up flyers, making an announcement on social media, talking about it in your school/org’s newsletter, etc. Don’t forget to include WHY you’re hosting a FarmRaiser–the products you’re selling are exciting, but what’s really awesome is raising money for your cause. A true win-win!
  2.  If you haven’t already, recruit several people to help you promote your FarmRaiser both before and while the campaign is happening. These might be fellow parents/PTA members, select teachers, or staff members. Try creating a mini-editorial calendar with assignments for each person so you know exactly when your FarmRaiser is getting publicized on social media, in the school newsletter, in a press release, etc. We know from experience that your campaign will not be successful if you only send out one or two emails. Supporters need to be reminded and updated o frequently to ensure success. You can’t talk about it enough.
  3.  If you can, host a kickoff event where you tell as many people as possible about what you’re supporting with your fundraising proceeds and the products you’re selling. Talk with your Cultivator about getting some samples of products for the meeting as well. Make sure to have at least one computer or tablet available at the kickoff so that supporters can make their purchases right there!
  4.  Tag the producers who are supplying your campaign in all social media posts so it shows up on their pages.
  5.  Send students home with a letter about your FarmRaiser. Make sure to include the link to it in big, bold letters. 
  6.  Select a few folks to register and sell from the app. Even though you’re not having everyone register, even a few dedicated folks selling face to face to their friends, coworkers, etc. can drastically increase sales.
  7.  Ask your school’s administration to remind students and teachers about the FarmRaiser and update them on how much as been raised at least a couple of times a week. Have teachers keep extra copies of a letter that includes an explanation of your FarmRaiser and the link to it, just in case kids need extra.
  8.  Post a flyer at your workplace with the link to your FarmRaiser so that coworkers can support you.
  9.  Ask the front office of your school or organization to leave your market pulled up on a tablet or computer (ideally with a sign that says “SUPPORT OUR FARMRAISER HERE! or something to that effect) so that anyone who enters will be prompted to support you.
  10.  Post a countdown on social media during the last week of your campaign, and/or email the countdown to parents if that’s appropriate.
  11.  PUSH HARD the last few days of the campaign–social media posts, email blasts, letters home, etc. Well-meaning supporters will often wait till the last minute to support a campaign and then accidentally miss the cut-off date.
  12.  After your sale ends, write a heartfelt thank you and summary of the campaign to your supporters (FarmRaiser provides this list). This will help develop a culture around FarmRaiser in your community.
  13. On Distribution Day, take pictures and post to social media, include in newsletter, etc. Talk to a few folks and get some quotes from on re: the products they received and why they supported your FarmRaiser. When people see the great products they missed out on, they’ll be sure to support you in the future.

If you want more ideas or want to brainstorm about other ways to publicize the sale, post questions in the comments section below, or  email your Cultivator!

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Write a great fundraising email

writing an effective fundraising email

Hi everyone! If you’re looking for an example of a great school fundraising email, here’s one from an actual FarmRaiser campaign last year that was very effective. Feel free to use this as a starting point for your own emails, and update  it with links to your online fundraising market, websites of the local farmers and artisans, and appropriate dates and personal information, etc. If you have any additions or tips, feel free to leave them in the comments section. Scroll down for our analysis and explanation of why this works — with a little practice, you’ll be writing effective fundraising emails in no time.

Subject line: Eat, drink and help ACDS fight hunger

Hi Steve

Hunger kills more people each year than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined — would you like to help me fight hunger by drinking a really good cup of coffee? I’m writing to you because I’m selling some awesome healthy, local products from Vigilante Coffee, Truly-Life Eco Gifts, Blue Ridge Produce, and Fruitcycle as part of a fundraiser my school is hosting to support Stop Hunger Now, a program that packs backpacks full of food and sends them to areas of need. Will you please help us by buying of a pound of coffee, or box of fruits and vegetables through our online fundraising market 

Our fundraising campaign is different this year because it’s not a fundraiser–it’s a FarmRaiserThat means that when you buy from our online market, 85%+ of the price will support the ACDS Campaign to Stop Hunger Now and our local food system. If you don’t live in the Alexandria area but still want to support this cause, you can make a donation or purchase a Community Basket, which benefits our cause and provides fresh food for local food bank. Click here to strengthen our local economy and fight hunger.

Thanks again for your support! I’ll talk to you again in a day or two to see if you have any questions.

Love,
Lauren

P.S.  You can buy products with a credit card in my market, but if you’d like to pay with cash or check, no problem–let me know and I’ll take care of that. Our sale ends on _______. If you purchase something, I’ll bring it to you on or just after _______(distribution date).

That’s it. If you’re ready to go, just copy this fundraising email example and paste the text into your email program, fill in the blanks and change all the links to the appropriate ones for your campaign, and start sending them out. Let’s break it down and see what makes this so effective:

Subject line: Eat, drink and help ACDS fight hunger <–the subject line is the most important line of your fundraising email, it should be both catchy and accurately descriptive

Hi Steve, <–make sure it’s addressed to their name, generic emails are less likely to be read

Hunger kills more people each year than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined — would you like to help me fight hunger by drinking a really good cup of coffee? I’m writing to you because I’m selling some awesome healthy, local products from Vigilante Coffee, Truly-Life Eco Gifts, Blue Ridge Produce, and Fruitcycle as part of a fundraiser my school is hosting to support Stop Hunger Now, a program that packs backpacks full of food and sends them to areas of need. Will you please help us by buying of a pound of coffee, or box of fruits and vegetables through our online fundraising market [link to your personal market].

[It’s really important to make your case for supporting your fundraiser in the first paragraph of your email. The first sentence gets attention, while highlighting the large problem you are addressing, while offering an easy thing that the recipient can do to help.  The second sentence provides clear detail about the fundraising campaign.  The final sentence in the first paragraph is a direct personal appeal with a clear CALL TO ACTION .] 

Our fundraising campaign is different this year because it’s not a fundraiser–it’s a FarmRaiser! [they might not know what a FarmRaiser is, so the link to the video can help explain it quickly] That means that when you buy from our online market, 85%+ of the price will support the ACDS Campaign to Stop Hunger Now and our local food system. If you don’t live in the Alexandria area but still want to support this cause, you can make a donation or purchase a Community Basket, which benefits our cause and provides fresh food for local food bank. Click here to strengthen our local economy and fight hunger.

[The second paragraph of your fundraising email provides additional arguments: it supports the local economy, there are many ways to participate, it’s easy, etc., and closes with the second CALL TO ACTION]

Thanks again for your support! I’ll talk to you again in a day or two to see if you have any questions.
[close, and offer to follow up — make sure you actually follow up, because it sometimes takes a few emails or phone calls to reach someone]
Love,
Lauren

P.S.  You can buy products with a credit card in my market, but if you’d like to pay with cash or check, no problem–let me know and I’ll take care of that. Our sale ends on _______. If you purchase something, I’ll bring it to you on or just after _______(distribution date).

[ The P.S. is a place for final details, additional appeals or arguments for the cause]

We’d love to hear your feedback on this, or other email techniques — please post them in the comments below, or send us an email. Please see other articles in this series if you’re looking for tips for selling on social media, or want help in merchandising your market

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Fundraising Tips for Champion and Community Engagement!

Thanks for being a current or future FarmRaiser organizer! While dreaming up healthy fundraising ideas and perfecting your online market by selecting the right mix of local products is fun, we know from experience that student and community engagement is the secret to a successful school product fundraiser. To help your FarmRaiser succeed, here are some tips from our top performing campaign organizers to help you mobilize students and supporters. Also, don’t forget to share our Champ Tips with your kiddos! 

Fundraising Tip #1: Host a kickoff for your FarmRaiser. Talk with students about the importance of healthy products, make sure they know what the money will support, and share the incentives the school is offering. Ask your Cultivator about getting samples of products to share with students.

Fundraising Tip #2: Offer Incentives. Encourage competition among students by offering incentives to top performers. You can do this by grade, class, or individual. Some examples of great incentives (that are NOT pizza or ice cream parties) include:

1. 10 minutes extra recess for the class or grade who sells the most

2. Free homework pass, extra credit, etc. to the highest seller in each class or grade

3. Gift certificates to a local toy store, movie tickets, etc. to the top three sellers

4. Classroom dance party!

5. A beloved teacher or staff member dyes or shaves their hair

6. Let students throw water balloons, silly string, etc. at a staff member they choose

7. Show a movie to the class or grade that sells the most

Remember, an incentive doesn’t have to cost a lot of money, or take a lot of time, but needs to recognize and celebrate the students, staff, and parent volunteers for their energy and efforts. If you’ve got other ideas, add them in the comments section below.

Fundraising Tip #3. Make sure students use our mobile fundraising app! Make sure students download the (FREE) FarmRaiser app on their iPhone or Droid, and use it to make face-to-face sales. The app also includes fun facts about where products come from, and the local farmers or artisans who produce them.

Fundraising Tip #4. Kids aren’t the only ones who can sell! Encourage teachers, staff, and parents to register and sell with the app! They’ll already be sharing the link to your online market, and extra app sales can help blow your sale out of the water. This is also an easy way to encourage friendly competition and motivate students to sell more–after all, who wants their principal, history teacher, etc. to beat them in sales?!

Fundraising Tip #5. Share the link to your online market everywhere: email, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, blogs, etc. See our social media suggestions  for ideas about what and when to to post.Download  and print this sheet to remind you. Encourage students and parents to share the link to the fundraising market on their social media as well, and don’t forget to encourage students (and parents) to write a personal email to potential supporters.

Fundraising Tip #6. Don’t forget about email. A personal email appeal that introduces the campaign, the goals, and the products can be a very fundraising tool. Use this example as a template, and customize it for your specific campaign, add personal notes to the recipients, and let them know how passionate you are about the cause.

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Start a Seed Fundraiser Today — Fast, Simple, Profitable

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If you’re looking for an idea for a high-profit, easy, and healthy winter fundraiser, we have some great news for you: FarmRaiser has just partnered with High Mowing Organic Seeds to bring their seed fundraising catalog to your school, band, team or cause. Reach your fundraising goals by offering the highest quality, 100% certified organic and Non-GMO Project Verified seeds to your supporters and customers.

Reasons we love seeds:

  1. Seeds are in demand during the winter months when gardeners are planning for spring and deciding what to grow.
  2. High Mowing seeds can be shipped directly to your school, anywhere in the country, making delivery and distribution a snap.
  3. A great selection of carefully selected seeds allows home and school gardeners to pick exactly what they want to grow this year — dedicated gardeners are going to spend money on seeds anyway, and they might as well support your cause while doing it.
  4. You can add a seed sale to almost any of your existing fundraising plans, and boost your profits while providing countless opportunities for kids to learn and connect with food.
  5. If they grow it, they will eat it — when kids experience the magic of gardening firsthand, they are more likely to enjoy the fruits (and vegetables) of their efforts.
  6. You can set up your FarmRaiser campaign so fast it will make your head spin. With our real-time inventory system and the tried and true selection of seeds from High Mowing, you can start selling almost immediately.  Try it, and see just how easy seed fundraising can be.
  7. Planting a seed is an expression of hope for the future, and cultivating hope for the future is what we try to do every day.

If you want to get a jump on the spring fundraising season, login to your account, or contact your cultivator, and we can help you get started today. If you’re looking for other great winter or spring fundraising ideas or products to sell, browse our farmer and artisan lists, check out our blog, or just give us an old-fashioned call at 571-279-8873

 

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Get a piece of the $4 billion product fundraising pie!

The product fundraising business is $4 billion/year industry, and we’re here to help you make your mark in it. As a FarmRaiser partner, you’re getting your product into the hands (and mouths!) of your community, expanding your customer base, and increasing your brand recognition. Think of FarmRaiser as a friendly tool to substantially expand your business, increase revenue, and of course, support schools and causes in your community. There are three easy ways to boost your fundraising sales:

  1. Make sure your product catalog on FarmRaiser is up to date and has great pictures; second
  2. Create a web page on your site letting people know that you offer fundraising — your fans and customers love your products and would prefer selling them in a fundraiser than junk food and candy. With our new “iFrame” signup form, they can register for a FarmRaiser featuring your products without leaving your site.
  3. Send an email to your customer list — again, if they don’t know about your fundraising business, they can’t possibly sign up

Show off your fundraising products

The best way make sure your products are selected for campaigns is to make sure that your products are up to date in our system and looking great. Great descriptions + Beautiful pictures = more campaigns and increased sales.

FarmRaiser product Fundraising can help you grow your businessAs soon as you get a chance, grab your favorite beverage, log into your FarmRaiser account, and get started. If you have a million passwords and can’t remember which one you used for FarmRaiser, no problem.

In under an hour, you can get your FarmRaiser profile looking sharp with a few simple tips.

Create a fundraising page

If you’ve got a web site, add a basic page letting people know that you’ve got a product fundraising business. We’ve created a template here that features our new instant sign up form. If you have any questions about building out your fundraising page, or how to promote it, get in touch with Japhet, our director of partnerships and marketing.  You can email him here, or book some time on his calendar here.  He will help you make the most of your FarmRaiser membership.

Tell the world about your fundraising business

You don’t need to be an expert in marketing to know that email is one of the most effective ways to reach people.  Your fans, customers and friends who love your product are your best source of new fundraising business and referrals. A quick email announcement at the right time of year (August/September, and January/February) can earn you a couple of new campaigns. Here’s a sample that you can use to get started, customize with your own information, and send out to your customer lists, or post on your Facebook page. We’ve got a new brochure that explains the benefits of healthy fundraising with FarmRaiser — you can download it and attach it to your email, or post it to your social media sites.

If all else fails, read our handy Guide — we sent it to you when you signed up, but if you’re like me, that’s probably buried 2,743 emails deep by now; you can download it here.

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The First FarmRaiser Video

December 21, 2015 / All / Comments: 0

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We are thrilled to announce the release of our first video, featuring the second annual Hemingway Elementary FarmRaiser in Ketchum, Idaho. This school turned their passion of healthy local food into yet another $10,000+ fundraiser. Please take a minute to watch the video, and share it with your friends and family. Thanks to the folks at Wide Eye productions who shot and edited this piece in record time.

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What do Moose, Overzealous Zucchini, and Alice Waters Have in Common?

November 23, 2015 / All / Comments: 0

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They are all featured in the Readers to Eaters catalog of books that teaches kids about food and healthy eating. Readers to Eaters was founded in 2009 by Philip and June Jo Lee with a mission to promote food literacy from the ground up. With backgrounds in children’s publishing, education, and food ethnography, Philip and June Jo recognized that that youth obesity, hunger, and lack of access to good foods are major obstacles for children learning in school.

Featuring titles such as Silvia’s Spinach and Zora’s Zucchini by Katherine Pryor and Anna Raff, Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table by Jacqueline Briggs Martin and Eric-Shabazz Larkin, and Feeding the Young Athlete by Cynthia Lair,  Readers to Eaters helps families and children of all ages connect more deeply with their food system, and understand what and how we eat. View their full catalog here, and contact your Cultivator to learn about  special pricing and opportunities to earn books for the school library or a visit from one of the Readers to Eaters authors.

If you’re looking for a gift for the growing foodie on your list this holiday, you can purchase directly from their catalog. . .  Food + Books + Kids = Winning the Holidays

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Partnership with Real Food for Kids

November 21, 2015 / All, Artisans and Farmers, Healthy Fundraising Ideas / Comments: 0

logo 4 colorFarmRaiser is thrilled to announce a new partnership with Real Food for Kids Montgomery. RFKM is a true grass-roots organization that has grown over the last three years from a small group of parents concerned about nutrition in schools to a coalition of over 3900 supporters, with parents representing 90% of the schools in Montgomery County with 60 official representatives taking leadership roles in improving school nutrition and health. Learn more about RFKM, and join their mailing list and help make a difference in your child’s health.

Our kids are our future. They can’t function well if they aren’t offered healthy choices for lunch. The current Standard American Diet offered is processed, leaves them lethargic, promotes weight gain, and diseases such as diabetes – no longer called “adult onset” because it’s so common in young people. Not only our health depends on these changes but so does our economic future. Let’s do the right thing by our kids.
– an RFKM Supporter

Real Food for Kids Montgomery is excited to promote FarmRaiser as a healthy fundraising option for teachers, coaches, students and staff at Montgomery County Public Schools — it’s a concrete step schools can take to promote healthy eating and move away from junk food fundraisers to support activities.

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