I previously told you that programs and organizations, such as schools and community organizations, that used to enjoy reliable income from taxes and donations, are now struggling to find new sources of income. Faced with this abandonment of traditional cash avenues, most schools and organizations turn to fundraising in one of two ways:
- Holding an event such as a fair, carnival or sale.
- Sale of goods or services.
The shortcoming of both methods is that:
1 – Take an enormous amount of time to distract you from your mission.
2 – It does not have a residual effect.
3 – Often times, the products offered may not be in line with the objectives of the organization or represent good options.
At the beginning of the 20th century, direct sales gave way to network marketing. A brilliant model that gave autonomy to the individual and at the same time created a fluid sales channel for the producer.
This direct selling model relieved the manufacturer of onerous marketing expense by paying a commission to the distributor or simply selling to the distributor at a wholesale price and allowing the distributor to sell at whatever price the market would bear.
The manufacturer had a stable 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”. Then 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 succeeding.
But we haven’t talked about their fundraising yet, have we?
You’ve already figured it out: in boardrooms it’s called a Joint Venture. Two parties that each can contribute something that does not cost them as much as it would cost the other party to obtain, but that as an “exchange” becomes a synergistic adjustment that benefits both entities.
This is the relationship that can exist between direct selling companies, sometimes called network marketing or MLM companies, and organizations that need to raise funds. A legitimate MLM always has a product or service to sell. Attracting leads is no less challenging for a stay at home job than it is for a corporate titan. This is where synergy comes in.
The charities, schools, churches and others who turn to fundraising to support their tax burdens have one thing in common that is worth its weight in gold to the direct marketer:
A mailing list.
Whether you are a multinational company or an entrepreneur working from home, the challenge is always the same: find motivated and qualified buyers. It’s a match made in heaven! Network marketing companies choose their products based on demand. These are typically consumer-intensive products such as health and beauty products, collectibles, legal services, telephones and telephone services, and more.
It is relatively easy for an organization to choose a company and a product that reflects its values and mission statement and brings value to its followers. Those who need to raise funds are in CONSTANT contact with their sponsors. If not, they don’t stay long.
This list of sponsors is the holy grail for the network marketer and all the fundraising organization needs to do is support the marketer, include contact information in their existing communication channels such as emails, newsletters, phone trees, websites and correspondence, and a productive synergy is generated. unleashed everything with virtually no effort on the part of the recipient of the funds. They just include a referral or link to the marketer on existing channels. Privacy is intact and productivity skyrockets as the fundraising routine goes from hands-on to virtual.
A marketing expert will point out that your exposure is viral. It’s not just the names on the organization lists, but who do you know? This is another benefit of a fundraiser with the MLM model.
Usually a geographic area is saturated with traditional fundraising events. 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 its reach, depending on the company you choose, to any part of the world.
Your school or organization has a very powerful resource: your list of supporters and who they know and who they would be likely to support. The only real job for the recipient is choosing the right company and marketer to partner with. In Part Three, I explain how to choose a company that supports your goals.