Whether you’re raising money for new cheer uniforms or for a chance to travel to competitions, a great way to boost your fundraising results is to team up with local businesses. You might be wondering, “Why would a business want to help out my squad?” You’d be surprised by how many small businesses enjoy helping school teams and programs with their fundraising. Other than the satisfaction of helping out a local team, many businesses like giving back to the community. Not only does it spread the word about their own business, but it also gives them the opportunity to stand out from a lot of big businesses that won’t help. This is why approaching smaller, local businesses for fundraising help is your best bet. Whether you want to pair up with a business for a big event or just want a little help in spreading the word about your Fun”D” 2 Raise cards, there are several ways you can work with your local businesses. Finding the right business. When deciding on what business with which to work, you can’t just choose one at random. Preferably, the business is either related to your program or similar to your fundraiser. For instance, as a cheer squad raising funds for cheer camp clothing, pairing up with an athletic supplies company could be an option. If you’re doing a car wash fundraiser, try teaming up with a store that sells car supplies or has a large parking lot. Selling or creating items with flowers or plants? Work with a florist or home improvement store. Working with a local business that is in some way related to your fundraiser will make it much easier to promote, advertise, and achieve success! Approaching a business. You’ve figured out the right business for your fundraiser. Now, it’s time to ask them! Before you set up a meeting with the manager or owner, make sure you’re prepared. Create a document with information about your fundraiser. Try to include any information you think a business owner would ask. Common questions you may be asked are: What is the fundraiser? When does the fundraiser start and end? Who does the fundraiser benefit? How much money needs to be raised? Why do you want to work with this business? What items will you need (i.e. sponges for a car wash; containers for flowers)? Is the fundraiser an event or sale? Is it ongoing or specific dates only? How can my business help your fundraiser? It is also good to let the owner or manager know how the fundraiser will benefit their business; mention how it will give the business recognition, exposure, and new customers. If you can, bring a mock-up of a flyer for your fundraiser, with the business’ name on it as a sponsor or supporter. Always be respectful of the business owner or manager’s time. Set up a meeting in advance rather than just dropping in to the store. When you go to the meeting, wear your team warm-ups or uniform. If possible, have your coach come to the meeting, too. Always thank the business for their time, whether or not they decide to work with you. If they do work with you, send them another thank you note for their support. Update them on how well your fundraiser did. It the funds were used to buy new uniforms, send them a picture of your squad wearing them! Working with a business. Once a business has agreed to help you, it’s time to start planning an executing your fundraiser. First, make sure your squad and the business know exactly what one another is providing. Communication is key; otherwise, things easily get lost in translation. Have a list ready for the business owner, detailing what your squad will provide and do, and what you need the business to provide and do. If you’re hosting an event on specific dates, pick a date and time in advance. It gives you and the business plenty of time to prepare. Form a list with the names and contact information for all the volunteers. Ask friends and family if they’ll volunteer and see if the business has any employees willing to help out. If it’s an ongoing fundraiser, hash out the details for the starting and ending date. Create a schedule for each day or week so you always know who is doing what, where and when. Create flyers and hang them around the school, business, and town! Always make sure you’ve been granted permission to hang flyers. For school, ask an administrator; for your local business, ask the owner or manager at your meeting; for the city, you may have to contact the city official. Take advantage of publicity. It’s the best way to create a buzz about your fundraiser! Ask the business if they can hand out flyers during the weeks before the fundraiser, offer a discount for those who participate in the fundraiser, promote word of mouth marketing, and/or hang up signs. Include the business’ name on publicity materials as a sponsor or supporter. By working with a business, your fundraiser can draw more community members and create more awareness. It’s also a great way for your squad to get involved with the community! More Tips: Never approach a business for help at the last minute. They’ll need time to prepare. Make sure you remove all flyers after the fundraiser ends. Send a thoughtful gift and/or note to the business, thanking them for their help. Always make sure everyone who is helping you knows what the fundraiser is for and how it benefits your squad. Start promoting the fundraiser as far in advance as possible. Bring tape! The easiest things to forget are the little things. This is especially the case with tape when hanging up flyers. Have you ever worked with a business for a fundraiser? What are your tips? Leave a comment!