Fundraising discount cards provide an effective way for local organizations to raise money and engage the community. Not only do they have the potential to generate huge profits, but they are also completely customizable. This allows your team or organization to tailor your fundraiser to your supporters and include the merchants they value most.

While our “Done for You” Fundraising cards offer a quick and easy way to get your fundraiser off the ground, DIY fundraising gives you the freedom to choose your own merchants and build a custom discount card that is customized to your exact area. There are numerous benefits to collaborating with small, local merchants on your fundraiser, but naturally, you may be concerned about actually getting those merchants to participate. The good news is that, with the right approach, finding merchants to support your cause is easy.

Here are some tips for how to get merchants to sign on for your upcoming fundraiser.

Develop A List Of Merchants You Want To Target

When opting for DIY fundraising cards, you will need to find merchants to participate in the fundraiser. Whether you are targeting restaurants, movie theaters, retailers, automotive businesses, or all of the above, make a list of who you plan to pitch your fundraiser to ahead of time.

Categories that typically do best include pizza places, quick-service restaurants, floral shops, salons and barber shops, spas or massage services, oil change/automotive repair companies, and specialty merchants such as bakeries, yoga studios, or smoothie shops.

Consider what the local favorites are, including merchants that are both practical and fun. Once you have your list, you can delegate members of your team to pay them a visit.

Train Your Team

Before venturing out to find merchants to participate in your fundraiser, be sure everyone is trained on how to present the opportunity. Anyone meeting with merchants should know the details of the contract, the unique selling points of your fundraiser, and the timeframe of the card offerings. They should also be prepared to answer questions about your organization and your fundraisers mission.

Consider sending something to the merchants ahead of time that introduces your organization, provides the details of the fundraising event, and explains the specific benefits of participate in your fundraising program. This will give merchants a chance to familiarize themselves with the proposal, discuss the opportunity with the relevant stakeholders, and come up with a list of questions.

Present The Opportunity As “Free,” Year-Long Advertising To The Merchant

Partnering with your fundraiser is an opportunity for a business to market their products or services without any upfront advertising costs. In exchange for their promotional offer, you will include them on the card for free, sending them a steady stream of new and repeat business.

Remind them that is an opportunity for them to have their brand/logo in front of people year-round. Every time a user pulls out the card or browses the discounts offered, they’ll see the merchant’s name. This provides brand exposure to a whole new group of prospects.

Provide Examples Of Success Stories And Testimonials

This can be one of your most powerful selling tools. If a merchant can see how participating in a fundraising card program helped “xyz” business to grow their sales, they are more likely to sign up for your program.

Present this opportunity as a way for businesses to gain new customers who may not have otherwise tried their product or service and to keep those customers coming back all year long.

Have A Script

Selling can be intimidating to many people, but having a script with the guidelines and selling points of the fundraiser can help increase the confidence of those selling the idea to merchants. With the right tool kit, your team will have an easier time signing up merchants.

Bring Examples With You

When presenting the discount fundraising card idea to a local merchant, it is always helpful to have a sample of what the card might look like. This could be last year’s fundraising discount card, a mock-up of this year’s card, or even another group’s expired card.

Make It Easy

Come to meetings prepared with an easy-to-understand merchant agreement, and be sure to have all the necessary paperwork with you to sign the merchant up. You don’t want to sell them on the idea and then have to say, “Oh, I’ll be back with the agreement.” This is not only a waste of time, but it also opens up the chance that the decisionmaker may not be there when you return with the contract.

Have A Few Promotional Ideas Ready

Before visiting a potential merchant, have some examples ready of the types of promotional deals they might offer. This is another way to keep it simple for them and encourage them to make a decision on the spot.

Take more than one idea so you have a backup. You might suggest a “buy one get one free” offer to a merchant, only for them to say that they never utilize BOGO offers as a company.

Present The Opportunity As A Way To Publicly Support A Local Cause

Most businesses realize the importance of supporting local schools, teams, and organizations, and this is often a great incentive for them to partner with you. It creates a positive public image of that local business in the community, which can lead to increased business.

Follow-up With the Merchant After the Fundraising Event to Thank Them

Don’t neglect to thank your merchants once the fundraising event is complete. This should include thanking them for their partnership and letting them know how successful the fundraiser was. You can even send them a couple bonus cards as a gift! Be sure to also include your contact information in case they have any questions or concerns throughout the year.

With a little preparation beforehand, selling the idea of participating in your discount fundraising card will be easier than you think. If done right, you might even leave with the merchant thanking you for the opportunity to partner in this program. They’ll understand the benefits of participating and feel good about the cause they’re supporting.