fundraiser shows

So, you've been approached by someone to participate in a fundraiser. That's great! Fundraisers are a great way to make new connections, expand your Who Do You Know list, and give back to your community. But where do you start?

I've worked with a few charities in the past, helping to raise money for a cause or provide prize items for an event. It can be a tough area to navigate and figure out the best way to support these organizations - it is your business, after all! Even if it's for a good cause, you can't really justify going broke.

So, to give you a hand next time you're asked, I've gathered some tips and pointers about what other stylists do to support a fundraiser.

The key is to be up front and honest about the process with your hostess. Make it easy for them by offering one fundraising method and explaining it clearly and simply. Find out from your hostess what they would get the most benefit from - product or cash.

If the organization would best benefit from a cash donation, here are a few ways you could approach it:
  • Donate your commissions, keep the rewards. This is the method I most prefer to work under when I do fundraising events. I typically donate 15-20% of retail sales back to the charity in the form of cash. It is enough of a share that the charity ends up with a good size cheque at the end of the day but also leaves me with a little bit of cash commissions in my pocket to pay for travel and parking expenses. I will also take the hostess rewards for free product to use in my display or for hostess/stylist incentives.
  • Donate a fixed amount per order, per booking, per signup. This is a good way to generate new business from your fundraiser. You can set it up with the amounts and levels of your choice. For example, you will donate $10 for every order, $25 for a trunk show booking, and $50 for a new stylist joining your team. Mix and match if you'd like! Do you want to focus on booking more shows? Add this incentive.
If you are donating cash back to the organization, you will want to wait until the 3-week trunk show period has closed before you write the cheque. You may also want to hold out until after the customer return window passes, since any returns/refunds that come in will affect the commissions you earn and should also be reflected in your donation amount. Make sure that you are up front about this timeline with your hostess as some fundraisers are more time-sensitive than others.

If the organization would best benefit from a gift-in-kind, try one of these methods:
  • Donate a retired item. If you've been in the business for longer than a season, the chances are pretty good that you have at least one retired item in your collection. Sometimes these are pieces that we just can't part with, and that's ok! If you have any retired items you are comfortable with donating, that's awesome. Be sure to remember that your donated item will not be covered under Stella & Dot's 'Delight Guarantee'. I always give the item together with a stack of Mini Look Books so any interested parties can grab my information from the event. This method doesn't really allow me to collect new contact info or leads though, so I tend to avoid this if I can.
  • Donate hostess rewards. If I've been approached by someone who is open to hosting a trunk show, that's what I prefer to do. I work with her to do the show, collect as many outside orders as possible, and promote the fundraiser everywhere we can. The hostess rewards can then be given away as prizes for the fundraiser or used to purchase items for an auction. This is win-win - the hostess has a fun time, you earn your commissions and make some new contacts!
If you've never done a fundraiser before, give it a shot! If you know someone who is raising money for a 5k run, for a children's charity, for a sports team, or for any other cause... reach out! Offer to help. 

It's so rewarding to have a business where you can look good while you do good :)

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