The Candle Cauldron - Everything You Want to Know About Candlemaking!
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  How To Do Fundraisers 
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Fundraisers are great for all kinds of organizations that need to raise money!
Here are a few examples:

~ Schools ~ Churches ~ Sports Teams ~ Choir Groups ~ Cheerleading Squads ~ Band Class ~ Gymnastics Teams ~ Libraries ~ Dance Class ~ Charities ~ Etc!

After many requests, I've written up an easy program you can follow to make fundraisers simple and beneficial to you and your customers!
Copyright © 2002, Doneen St.John

The basic program:

~ Make a brochure with photos, descriptions and prices of the candles, soaps or whatever products you wish to offer.  Also make an order form listing each product & fragrance available.  Keep it simple and choose a limited number of sizes, colors and fragrances to offer for that fundraiser (too many can be confusing or overwhelming).  Provide enough copies of your brochure and order form for each child/salesperson to take around and sell with.  You may even wish to provide a sample candle or maybe a few wax tarts for each child to take around and let customers smell! 

~ Have them take orders for a specified period of time, usually 2 or 3 weeks.  They should collect payment from customers up front.  Checks should be made payable to the organization (ie: Hometown Middle School).  At the end of the sale, all participants should turn in their forms with all the money they collected in an envelope to their leader (teacher or whoever).  Make sure each participant puts their names on their order forms!  The leader should then tally up the total number of each product sold on the forms and add up the dollar total for each participant's form.  Then they will need to add up all the participants totals as a group, and turn the total candle order in to you along with a check or money order for the total dollar amount due.

~ Once you have the money and the total order of how many of each type of candle they need, you can start to produce them!  It's best to set a realistic date for delivery, usually 2 to 3 weeks (depending on size of order).  Make sure you have plenty of the supplies you need to make the candles on hand so you can get their order done on time!  If you do a good job, they will want to use your company again for future fundraisers!

How to book fundraisers:

Try making a flyer or brochure to advertise that you do fundraisers, and give people reasons why they should use you!
For example, how many times have kids come to your door selling candy bars, cookies or even cookbooks?  People are more likely to buy something new and exciting instead of the same old thing, so candles or bath products are a sure seller!  Also point out the higher profit they can make with your products as opposed to candy bars... you can help them make a LOT more money for their organization!  It doesn't hurt to provide them with a sample of the products you are offering with the flyer too :)

You may want to make an agreement form to have them sign, sort of like a contract.  Many candlemakers like to set a minimum order amount too.  Perhaps you want to make sure you get a minimum of $200.00 in orders (their cost wholesale, not their selling price retail).  Make sure to list the product prices on the contract, so there can be no question or misunderstanding.  List specified dates for sale to begin and end, and list estimated delivery time they should expect to have their products in.  List payment terms also, such as by check or money order only.  It's always a good idea to get everything in writing!

Figure each participant should be able to sell at least 15 candles a piece, even more depending on how long the sale goes for.  Figure up the dollar amount the organization will make off each candle, let's use a 16 oz Apothecary candle as an example and say they will make $6.00 off each candle sold.  So if each kid sells only 15 candles, that is $90.00 per kid.  So if the school (or whatever) has 30 kids participating, that would be a total of 450 candles, which would be $2,700.00 profit for the school!!  Try that with candy bars ;)  So basically you are giving the school a 40% commission on each candle sold, which gives them a good wholesale price and enables them to make a good profit, while still making a good profit yourself!  Plus you can give them free delivery in your local area, so they pay no shipping on the products, and that saves them money :)

Now figure if your actual cost on each candle is $4.50, and they're paying $9.00, you are making a profit of $4.50 on each one, which would make you a total of $2,025.00!  Not bad at all!  Remember, these figures are hypothetical examples, you will need to plug in your own figures here.  You can use my Candle Pricing Worksheet to help figure your costs.

How much do they make?

Here are a few examples just to give you some ideas:
 
PRODUCT THEY SELL IT FOR THEY ONLY PAY YOU SO THEY MAKE
16 oz Apothecary Jar $16.50 each $9.90 each $6.60 on each one!
16 oz Apothecary Jar $16.00 each $9.60 each $6.40 on each one!
16 oz Apothecary Jar $15.50 each $9.30 each $6.20 on each one!
16 oz Apothecary Jar $15.00 each $9.00 each $6.00 on each one!
10 oz Classic Jar Candle $ 9.00 each $5.40 each $3.60 on each one!
8 oz Jelly Jar Candle $ 6.00 each $3.60 each $2.40 on each one!
8 pack Votive & Glass Gift Box Set $14.00 each $8.40 each $5.60 on each one!
16 oz Decorated Mason Jar Oil Candle w/bottle of oil $17.00 each $10.20 each $6.80 on each one!
Lotion & Shower Gel Gift Set $15.00 each set $9.00 each set $6.00 on each set!
Wax Dipped Stuffed Teddy Bear $25.00 each $15.00 each $10.00 on each one!

You get the idea... the possibilities are endless!  You could offer soaps, bath & body sets, oil candles, potpourri, incense, smelly jellys, waxed bears, pillar candles, gel candles, soy candles, lotion bars, lip balms, perfume sticks, gift sets, etc!
Another great idea is to offer specialized products geared toward that organization... such as candles in their school colors, or fragrances with special names that fit that organization.  Example:  A church fundraiser could sell scents like "Angel Wings", "Heaven", etc.  Mill Town Middle School could sell candles scented with "Mill Town Mulberry".  A cheerleading squad could sell "Rah-Rah-Raspberry"!  A choir group could call a scent "Harmony"... just let your imagination run wild!

Pricing:

You may choose to give price breaks to customers for quantity orders (see example on the order form below), such as 1 candle $16.50, 2 candles $16.00 each, 3 candles $15.50 each, and 4 candles only $15.00 each.  This gives customers incentive to purchase several candles instead of just one, therefore increasing overall sales!  This may depend on the age of the participants and how complicated you want to get.  You may want to advise their group leader to have them take along calculators so they can easily figure up their customers totals.  If this option seems too confusing, just keep it simple and stick with one set price per item.  The prices you charge may depend on your area, as in some areas it seems a standard 8 oz jelly jar candle will only sell for around $5.00, and in some areas you can easily get $7 or even as much as $8 for them!  Use your judgement and figure out what your market will bear.  Remember, don't be too afraid to charge what your products are worth!  People will be more willing to pay a little more for quality, and also for a good cause!  If you sell your products too cheap, you will not be getting paid for your labor and you will have a hard time raising your prices later.  Your products are not bargain store junk, so don't sell them for bargain junk prices!  They are handmade in the USA quality, made by a human crafter, not a machine in a factory!  For years people have bought candy bars and paid more than they would've in a store, so they'll do the same with candles.  Remember packaging goes a long way too, so add special touches and make your products look unique and appealing!  Even little things like a bow tied on the jar, a cute hang tag, glitter sprinkles, potpourri in the lids, or special lids (like the rusty jelly jar lids), or a pack of matches tied onto the jar, a rusty tin ornament or wood ornament on the jar, etc, can make a huge impact and get the sale!

What's the kids' incentive?

Well aside from getting credit for raising money to help their group, you could choose a prize or even a gift certificate to a local toy store to award the one who sells the most candles.  You could even do a first, second and third place prize if you wish.  For example, if you gave $25 for first place, $15 for second place, and $10 for third place, it would only cost you a total of $50 in incentives.  If you are making $2,025.00 off the fundraiser, spending $50 in incentives isn't much to give up in order to help boost sales and reward the kids who helped you make all that money :)

How do I make the forms?

I've done some of the hard part for you!  Using examples I've seen for other types of fundraisers, I created some basic forms that you may find helpful.  I made an example contract, customer reciepts (2 on a sheet) and an order form the kids can use to take product orders.  All you need to do is make your own product brochure so the kids can show customers the products they're selling, a master order form that the leader can tally up all the kids' orders on to hand in at the end of the fundraiser, and a flyer you can hand out to organizations to sell them on the idea of fundraisers.  You are welcome to download my forms and edit them, and print them for your own use!  I only ask that they not be duplicated on any other websites without my permission (mainly other supplier or candlemaking sites).  I put alot of work into creating these for my site members and customers to use, I only ask that others not copy or take credit for my work.  Thanks :)

Forms are in Excel Spreadsheet format (.xls files).
You must have the Excel program on your computer in order to view and use these forms.


 
Fundraiser Contract
Candle Order Form
Customer Receipt
Tally Sheet

Delivering the products:

This is really up to you... you can either just deliver the products in cases and let the group leader sort them out, or you could choose to make it easier on them by sorting and bagging the individual orders yourself.  If you decide to do that, you would need a copy of each kid's order form along with the master order sheet, so you can see what each individual customer ordered.  This would give you the opportunity to include one of your business cards or even a coupon in each bag, and it would make less work for the group leader, which they always appreciate.  Or even just the receipt form that has your company information and candle burning instructions is great advertisement alone!  But again, this is just an option and it's up to you.  It's not that hard for them to tally up how many of each type of candle or product each kid sold and put them all in a box with some bags for the kids to go deliver to their customers. 

Repeat Business:

Remember, this is all great advertising for your company too!  Think about it... once the people burn their candles, or use the products, they will want more!  So be sure to put your company name and phone number or website address on the receipts so they will know how to contact you to buy more products!  Make sure to send a Thank You card to the organization to thank them for using your company for their fundraiser too... and it wouldn't hurt to give the leader a candle of their own to enjoy and remember you by :)  The key is to provide a quality product that sells itself, and run a smooth, organized fundraiser.  The easier you make it for them, the better they will like it, and the more chance they have of using you again!  You never know, they might also refer other organizations to you in the future!

Good Luck and Happy Fundraising! 
Copyright © 2002, Doneen St.John

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