I previously shared with you that programs and organizations, such as schools and community organizations, who used to enjoy dependable revenues from taxes and donations now scrambling to find new income sources. Faced with this abandonment of traditional avenues of cash, most schools and organizations turn to fundraisers in one of two forms:
- Conducting an event such as a fair, carnival or sale.
- Selling goods or services.
The flaw with both of these methods is that they:
1 – Take an enormous amount of time that distracts from your mission.
2 – Don’t have a residual effect.
3 – Frequently the products being offered may not be in line with the organizations goals nor represent good choices.
Early in the twentieth century direct sales gave way to Network Marketing. A brilliant model that gave autonomy to the individual while at the same time creating a flowing sales channel for the producer.
This direct selling model relieved the manufacturer of the burdensome expense of marketing by paying out a commission to the distributor or simply selling to the distributor at a wholesale price and allowing the distributor to sell at any price the market would bear.
The manufacturer had a steady sales channel and everyone was happy. For the seller, the challenge became finding the buyer.
The approach of the Fuller Brush Company was to go door to door, the iconic “Fuller Brush Man”. Later came other iconic models like Harold Tupper and the “Tupperware Home Parties”, then Avon, Amway, Mary Kay and others. Now thousands of companies choose this model to market their products and they are successful doing so.
But we still haven’t talked about your fund raising, have we!
You have figured it out by now – in boardrooms it’s called a Joint Venture. Two parties who each can bring something to the table that doesn’t cost them nearly as much as it would cost the other party to obtain but that as a “trade” becomes a synergistic fit that benefits both entities.
This is the relationship that can exist between direct selling companies, sometimes called network marketing companies or MLM, and organizations that need to raise funds. A legitimate MLM always has a product, or a service, to sell. Attracting prospective customers is no less a challenge for a work from home house wife than it is for a corporate titan. This is where the synergy comes into play.
Charitable organizations, schools, churches and others who turn to fund raising to support their fiscal burdens have one thing in common that is worth its weight in gold to the direct marketer:
A Mailing List.
Whether a multi-national company or a work at home entrepreneur, the challenge is always the same: find motivated and qualified buyers. This is a match made in heaven! Network marketing companies choose their products based on demand. They are usually products in heavy use by the consumer such as health and beauty products, collectibles, legal services, phones and phone services and more.
It is relatively simple for an organization to choose a company and product that reflects their values and mission statement and bring value to their supporters. Those needing to raise funds are in CONSTANT contact with their patrons. If they aren’t they don’t stay around very long.
This list of patrons is the holy grail to network marketer and all the fund raising organization needs to do is endorse the marketer, include contact information in their existing communication channels such as emails, newsletters, phone trees, website and correspondence and a productive synergy is unleashed all with virtually no effort on the part of the recipient of funds. They are simply including a referral or link to the marketer in existing channels. Privacy is intact and productivity soars as the grind of fund raising goes from brick and mortar to virtual.
A savvy marketer will point out that his exposure is viral. It’s not just the names on the lists of the organizations, but who do they know? This is another benefit of a fundraiser with the MLM model.
Typically, a geographic area is saturated using traditional fundraisers. Schools are a perfect example of this as several hundred students are tasked with selling a product in the same neighborhood. The MLM model extends your reach, depending on the company you choose, to anywhere in the world.
Your school or organization has a very powerful resource – it’s list of supporters and who they know who would be prone to support The only real work for the recipient is choosing the right company and marketer to partner with. In Part Three I explain how to choose a company that will support your goals.