13 Booster Club Fundraising Ideas and Their Profit Margins — COVID-19 Edition
With states around the country reopening, it looks like kids are headed back to school, which means it’s time for booster clubs to start fundraising again. (You can see this list to track school opening dates state-by-state.)
As if fundraising wasn’t demanding enough pre-coronavirus, things are only getting more challenging nowadays. On top of running fun and profitable fundraising events, booster clubs must also take into consideration the safety of event attendees and volunteers.
NeONBRAND, via Unsplash.
The FanFood team has worked with hundreds of booster clubs nation-wide and understands the dilemmas manys booster parents are facing: how can I best involve the community without jeopardizing everyone’s health and safety?
Our high school specialists have compiled the following fundraising project ideas that are creative, fun and-- most importantly-- safe.
Ideas that don’t need too much work 😎
1. Revenue share — This is a quick way to fundraise without much logistics or manpower. You can set up a revenue share deal with a restaurant like Chipotle or a local pizzeria. For every customer you direct to that restaurant, your club receives a percentage of what they spend on their order. All you need for this fundraiser is marketing to get the word around: you can utilize social media (creating a Facebook event), posters, emails and word-of-mouth to get as many people to your partner restaurant as possible.
Granted, local businesses are having a difficult time getting orders these days due to COVID-19, as a result we are offering our online/mobile ordering platform for restaurants and other local businesses for free with no commission fee! In addition, for every order placed on FanFood, we donate a meal to your local food bank. So if you know any restaurant owner, definitely make them aware of this offer.
Cost: The cost would primarily be marketing cost to spread the word about your profit share initiative. If you're taking a digital-only approach (i.e. social media posts, email newsletters etc.), the cost is practically zero. If you or your local restaurant partner uses a mobile ordering platform like FanFood, you can direct your audience to their online storefront to place orders, and easily track which customers are referred by you using promo codes.
Profit margin: Depending on how much revenue you can generate, you can pretty much keep all the revenue as profit. That's a pretty good deal.
2. Sponsorship — This could be tricky these days given little to no audience in attendance at games and events. We recommend minimizing physical signage as sponsorship assets, since low attendance means fewer eyeballs. Instead, run digital campaigns that are easier to track and measure. For a deeper dive into how mobile sponsorship activation at games and events work, take a look at our blog here.
Cost: That depends on how much you're willing to offer your sponsors. A typical high school will likely put up a banner which costs about $60. (Fun fact: FanFood offers both in-venue and digital/mobile sponsorship assets for high schools. We can even help you find local sponsors so that you can make more money for your booster club!)
Profit margin: Depending on how much your sponsor is willing to offer, it can range between 100% up to 3000%! One of FanFood's partner high schools actually sold $10k in sponsorship with FanFood's co-branded sponsorship assets. Talk about a win-win!
3. Crowdfunding — Crowdfunding isn't just for those looking to sell homemade candles. Your booster club can totally open an account on Kickstarter or GoFundMe and encourage the community to donate towards specific projects. The good news is, people are definitely more willing to help out these days.
Cost: Again, the cost would really be up to how much you're willing to spend on marketing. Digital marketing will involve very little cost (besides labor, of course), unless you want to run a paid social media campaign.
Profit margin: Depending on how much you can raise, you can pretty much keep all the revenue.
Ideas that require selling things 💰
4. COVID postcard sale (& writing party) — Sell postcards and afterwards, host an event (with only a small crowd of course, or go for a virtual event instead) for students to write and send them together. Send postcards to local hospitals to say thank you to healthcare heroes, or spread some cheer to seniors living in nursing homes. Besides being a great way to fundraise, it also allows students to engage in community service.
Cost: The cost of a postcard could range from $0.50 to $5, depending on whether you're ordering them in bulk and allowing for customization. And the mailing cost would be about $0.35 if you're mailing the cards on behalf of your customers (which we recommend! So that you can charge a handling fee.) So let's assume the total cost for each postcard would be $1.35.
Profit margin: Let's say you charge $8 per postcard and $2 for the handling fee, that's a profit margin of 640%. Gotta say, that's pretty sizable.
5. Concession sales — That is, if your school is cleared to host sports games, outdoor movie sessions, or other events. The only difference is you want to limit cash transactions and congregation of people around concession stands as much as possible.
Booster clubs nationwide have been looking into alternative ways to avoid crowds and physical interactions, such as online and mobile ordering. Easy, plug-and-play solutions like FanFood makes it possible for any concession stand to start rolling out mobile ordering within days.
Profit margin: Do know which concession item has the highest profit margin? Cotton candy. Followed by shaved ice, popcorn, funnel cakes and nachos. However, you can sell concessions throughout the season and keep making profits at each game, unlike many other one-off events listed here. In addition, you can increase your profit margin with FanFood, which allows you to charge a convenience fee for express pickup and help you sell more items without needing more staff.
6. Bake sale — Or, if you want to put in extra effort, maybe host a baking workshop where people can sign up to bake together! To make it safe, offer curbside pick-up. Use FanFood’s mobile ordering to receive orders and car plate number so that your volunteers can deliver the orders with 100% accuracy.
Cost: Bakery margins vary widely, and data on average margins is not available. This means a baker must start by figuring out their cost per cake. After you know the cost to produce a single cake, you can set the price. Pricing will fluctuate, based on the individualized effort and customization required for each cake, as well.
Profit margin: A standard 50% - 100% markup typically works for a bake sale. However, you can increase the profit margin when allowing for additional donations on top of the price point.
7. Artwork sale — We’ve all been looking for new activities to keep us busy while stuck at home. Some of us, including our students, have turned to art! You can source artwork from students, or even tap into the art classes offered at your kids’ school and sell some of the student work.
Cost: $0. It's most likely you can get the artwork for free from the students.
Profit margin: Whatever the price you charge, you get to keep all the revenue as profit.
8. Lemonade stand — Another classic. You can always recruit students to assist with this, just make sure everyone is wearing a mask and gloves while helping out.
Cost: Let's say for each cup of lemonade, the cost is $0.30 (which is an over-estimation especially if you buy all the ingredients and materials in bulk).
Profit margin: If you sell each cup at $1, that's about 233% per cup. That's excluding any additional marketing you'd be doing to get more people to your stand.
9. Book or puzzle sale — If you are like most people, you have a collection of books that you haven’t touched in years. And if lockdown has shown us anything, it’s that sometimes, we need a book to cuddle up with or a puzzle to work on to interrupt the monotony of scrolling on our phones or binge watching on Netflix. Why not organize people in the community to donate their books for sale and use the revenue to fund school projects?
Cost: Let's say you can get all the used books for free through donation. Then the cost is $0.
Profit margin: Again, you get to keep all revenue as profit.
10. Holiday/birthday gift delivery — Now that hugging is taboo, people are going to have to find different ways to spread the love for that special someone. Sending a gift (contactless drop-off at the door!) is a great alternative to physical touch.
Cost: If you can get a bunch of volunteers to help you out with the delivery, the cost is essentially $0.
Profit margin: Keep everything as your profit!
Ideas that are pretty sporty 🏈
11. 5K run — One activity available for everyone during lockdown was going for a walk or a run. Hosting a 5k outdoors can definitely raise a lot of money for your booster club, just make sure to manage traffic throughout the race and keep things spread out. To make it fun, add a special theme, or encourage costumes!
Cost: Let's say you spend about $70 on miscellaneous materials and prizes.
Profit margin: For a turnout of 100 people at $5 each for the ticket, that's about 700%-900% profit margin. Or raise the ticket price for a higher margin!
12. (Virtual) Dance marathon — You can get students to pay to participate in a dance marathon, and even have several costume themes throughout the marathon. Definitely a fun and trendy way to raise money, but in order to make it safe, you might want to host it outside where people are spread out, or host a virtual online session! Use a video chatting platform like Zoom so that everyone can turn on their camera and dance the night away — right from their living room.
Cost: You might need to spend more on this one, considering that you'd need sound equipment, a venue, snacks and drinks. Perhaps you'd need to budget for $800 - $1500.
Profit margin: Maybe you can get hundreds of people to attend and the ticket is $10 each. That's about 900% profit margin.
Ideas that involve your community 🙋♀️🙋♂️
13. Drive-In or Open Air Movie Night — Get the popcorn ready! And don’t forget the candy. Maybe some nachos too? One good thing to come out of the pandemic is the revival of classic drive-in movie theaters: according to CNBC, mom and pop drive-ins have seen spikes in revenue and a massive increase in demand. Turning your school’s athletic field or parking lot into an outdoor movie theater will attract a lot of community members, and it will be easy to put on with social distancing measures in place. (One additional suggestion: use mobile ordering with FanFood for concessions!)
Cost: Renting a projector and a screen would only run you around $80.
Profit margin: If you charge a $5 ticket and sell snacks on top of that, that would be about 200%-300% profit margin.