Fundraising discount cards, how I was forced into action!

Perhaps you have read a few of my other articles and may have noticed my author profile, “I started in fundraising as a reluctant volunteer for a small soccer organization in Florida, now fundraising has become a way of life for me”. Now I will give you “the rest of the story”

Though I was a member of the local soccer board 8 years ago, I was hardly the ideal volunteer. I was not at a point in my life where giving of my time was a priority. So as a board member I did a little to earn my keep, but I would be the first to say, “I did not make a difference”. Well low and behold, my youngest daughter decided that soccer was also “her thing”…

The timing was perhaps by design, the previous board members had done a really good job, but I had heard that most of them were leaving and was concerned about the future of the soccer club with the remaining board members. So I stepped up, and somehow ended up being president of the organization (as well as a coach) anyways getting back to how I became involved with fundraising discount cards.

One day the parent of one of my players approached me about cards we could sell to raise money, it had 4 national fast food chains on it and was 4 laminated paper cards attached together that folded like an accordion. I didn’t think much about it at the time but knew that our organization was really going to need a lot of funds to accomplish all that we wanted to do. So at the next board meeting I brought up the idea of venturing back into fundraising and showed everyone the cards… what I have yet to mention was that the cards sold for $10.00 each and for every card we sold we kept $2.00 (what a rip off) the worst part is that most of us thought that the cards had value and that $2.00 profit per fundraising cards sounded reasonable, wow were we wrong. Well fortunately someone had gotten a card from a soccer convention they attended and brought it to the meeting, So rather than decide on the original cards we decided to check out this other company.

Well I check out the website listed on the card, which should have been the first clue. It was very unimpressive and gave no information but said to call.. so I did, he described the plan over the phone while I wrote everything down… this company was going to get local merchants for our card, print them and send them to us for only $2.00 per card. I was glad we checked with this company… $8.00 profit for each fundraising discount cards. Seemed really good compared to the last cards, so we signed a contract and set a date for deliver in about 60 days… well over the next couple weeks I called to check on the progress a few times.. sometimes without a return phone call and sometimes when I did get a call back was told not to worry it would be done..

Fast forward to three days before our season registration on a Saturday. I called him on Wednesday afternoon (I had expect to already received the cards) to make sure the cards were already shipped. To which he replied, “we have a little problem, I only have 6 merchants”. I was flabbergasted.. I had no idea what to even say…what if I had not called? Thoughts were racing through my head, my reputation is on the line, I signed the contract and said it was a good deal, said it was all going to happen, I am letting the kids down, what do I do? It took nearly every ounce of thought to keep from rambling off a few swear words and hanging up…. but I kept thinking , “I am letting the kids down.” Well, my background is in sales and I had too much at stake, this was not the time to play the blame game. So I asked when was the last minute that he could have the merchants and have them to us on Friday, he replied 3:00 on Thursday afternoon… so Thursday morning I put on my suit and started going business to business finding merchants to make it happen… it was not fun and it was not easy but at 2:30 I got a signature from our 18th merchant and faxed them all in.

Friday afternoon I received some of the cards (because of printing time he could not get all of them to us by Friday)….. UNREAL!!!! they were florescent orange laminated paper cards… I had just assumed they would be credit card stock, and we were going for Orange and navy blue (like the Denver Broncos) our soccer clubs colors. He had stated that sometimes with that color combination the navy sometimes looks blackish….. well I can surely state Black print most certainly looks black and florescent orange most certainly is not orange. Laminated paper was not expected, nor was a black outline of our logo. Well at that point there was no choice, the show had to go on. We did manage to make lemonade out of lemons despite all of the issues, we end up raising over $5,000.

So it got me thinking…. what if? What if the cards were printed on credit card stock? What if the cards were printed in color? What if the merchants had been found in a timely manner (allowing us to be more selective and gaining better deals)? What if our logo was bright crisp and clear on the cards? What if? What did he do for us? well I started researching the cost of a card production machine, I knew I could get the merchants (I just performed a miracle in gaining ours in 6 hours) I am proficient at online marketing, I have the software to make crisp clear logos. I have run a couple other large businesses before. What if I could charge less than the rest of the companies and produce a superior fundraising discount card? What if?

Mark South

About the Author
I started in fundraising as a reluctant volunteer for a small soccer organization in Florida, now fundraising has become a way of life!

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