Many little girls dream of one day becoming a high school cheerleader. It’s exciting to be in front of a large crowd. You get to inspire people to cheer for their team and even help influence the outcome of a game. Cheerleaders are also often thought of as influential. In high school, it’s important to be accepted by your peers and everyone wants to feel relevant in some way.
The glamour however fades once a cheerleading fundraiser begins. There’s no way to candy-coat it, raising money is a lot of work and is an ongoing process that can be exhausting. Once the congratulations and elations of making the squad are over, this is where reality hits.
Cheerleading is a costly sport. You have registration and spirit fees, uniforms, warm-up, performance and game accessories, practice gear, training fees that pay for tumbling classes, camps and competitions, just to name a few.
According to Omni Cheer, a leading uniform provider, the annual cost for a single year of high school cheer for a new member can be as much as $1,000. And it doesn’t end there. Wear and tear on gear must also be factored in along with travel fees.
Most cheer sponsors will admit that what they do is anything but easy. In addition to coordinating the fundraising efforts, they have to deal with tryouts, then develop squad unity and trust, and prepare their team for upcoming games, events and activities by continuously practicing a variety of routines.
To help make raising money more effective, here are 4 easy cheerleading fundraiser tips that you can implement into your next sale:
Every cheer group is different. There are several factors to consider. If you’ve determined that you want to raise money by selling a product, you should first decide the best way to sell it. Is a direct sale better, where you show potential customers the actual product, or should your students take orders out of a brochure?
Which method you choose may be determined by your socioeconomic area. For example, there are many low-cost products that can be sold in hand. Lollipops and candy bars are perfect examples. Plus, ‘point of sale’ fundraisers require fewer steps because once the transaction is complete there’s no going back to deliver the item like with a catalog sale. Students will often sell these products to each other.
Order taking also has it’s advantages. You’ll collect the money before the order is placed while making a higher profit off each item sold. And buyers usually have a larger selection of items to choose from.
Attempt to offer something unique compared to what other groups are selling. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a different product, but maybe there’s something that stands out that you can emphasize. For instance, you may be able to highlight a quality well-known brand, like Otis Spunkmeyer cookie dough, rather than just cookie dough.
Another factor is past experience. How have other similar groups done by selling a particular product? When was the last time they sold it and why are they no longer offering it? Some groups have also been fortunate to be able to establish a product niche. Every year people in their community look forward to purchasing a certain product from them. Pies before Thanksgiving is one good example.
Many cheerleading groups have done well selling specialized products, like candles, cookie dough and even discount cards. On the other hand, since most cheer organizations form new squads in the springtime, it is also reasonable to consider brochures that offer a lot of variety, like a large spring shopper.
Many will say that cheerleaders are already motivated to raise money, but adding motivational incentives definitely can’t hurt. You can start by incorporating group-related privileges. For example, the first member to turn in money for 25 items gets a 5% discount on an equipment item that they need to purchase. You can always negotiate a discount with a local provider to make up the difference.
Many of our cheer groups use our unique prize programs. For example, if they’re selling cookie dough or frozen food, they can do our ‘Bucks or Dough’ incentive. Cheerleaders are allowed to choose either cash or cookie dough as their reward for reaching certain item levels. And the more they sell, the more they get.
Some sponsors like their members working for sportswear prizes that can be customized with the squad and mascot name. They also get to pick their school’s colors. These items tend to enhance squad unity and spirit. Plus, they can serve a dual purpose by being worn at certain cheer activities. These incentives are provided free of charge by the company as long as reasonable group minimums are met.
You can even focus on a specific item in the sportswear prize flyer and use it as the fundraising goal. Tell everyone that they need to sell enough items to get a hooded sweatshirt or travel bag that will be used for special events. This obligates everyone to to reach that level so the squad can be uniform.
Every group needs a sales goal. Do you know how much money each cheerleader needs to raise? Your goal should also be tied to a specific purpose. For example, each member needs to raise $100 to pay for practice gear.
Once you know how much money your squad needs, you can easily establish the amount of items each cheerleader needs to sell. Our brochure pages on our website have a ‘Calculate Your Profit’ tool that will do that for you. And if you’re ordering a product up front, you can even determine how much you’ll need to order to reach your goal.
Once you’ve decided on a product and know how much your group needs to sell, be sure to schedule a meeting and go over your goals and objectives. Your students need to know what’s expected of them and how to proceed. Having a formalized meeting also gives you the opportunity to create enthusiasm and build momentum for your sale.
Talk with your group about the proper way to approach people. They should introduce their group and why they’re raising money. Part of your kickoff meeting can also be devoted to having your sellers put together prospect lists so they’ll have a head start on whom to approach.
Sales accountability will also be important. We strongly recommended that you meet with your sellers at specific times throughout your sale to track their progress. Continuous accountability and feedback is important, and it will help them reach their goals.
With the right direction and guidance, you can take your cheerleading fundraiser to an even higher level.