Fundraisers are critical to the livelihood of many schools, churches, and other community organizations. The challenge for fundraiser organizers is to find a product that customers will value and be confident about investing in. Playbooks, or merchant tickets, perfectly fit this bill.

According to Statista, 66 percent of U.S. consumers use coupons to cut down on household expenses. The enormous success of sites like Groupon and Restaurants.com attests to the fact that we love a good deal. In fact, Statista recently reported that Groupon had approximately 30-million unique visitors each month.

Use the couponing trend to gain traction in your community and see an overall increase in the results of your fundraising campaign. Playbooks will provide the value that buyers are looking for, while helping you meet your fundraising goals. Here are three tips for how to launch your playbook fundraiser:

Develop a Strategy for Gathering Sponsors

“The more the merrier” is a safe approach to gathering sponsors for your playbook, but it’s not always the most effective. Having a strategy is the most important factor to help you sell more books and get more valuable sponsors.

Here’s what we mean: First, set geographic parameters. You most likely want local companies. Depending on your region, that might be a tri-county area, within a city’s limits, or confined to a specific side of a large city. You want your businesses to be conveniently located near your buyers. After all, buyers are less likely to buy a book if many of the sponsors are on the other side of town. If you are raising funds for a community school or church, your geographic area should be somewhat confined to where your buyers live. If you are selling for a scouting group or larger non-profit, your area may be more spread out.

Second, be strategic about the types of business you include. Think about goods and services your potential buyers really need and want. For example, a five-dollar coupon to an expensive spa might not appeal to the hard-working, middle-class family to which you are selling. Conversely, a five-dollar coupon to a popular grocery store would be highly valuable. Let’s say that you are selling your playbook for ten dollars. Among the coupons are two highly valuable five-dollar coupons from local grocery stores.
Your students or other fundraising volunteers could easily show the value of purchasing this playbook.

That leads us to the next and third point on strategy: talk to sponsors in the same industry. Businesses care about their perceived community involvement, and they won’t want their competitor showing more community support than they are. Use that to your advantage.

And fourth, don’t be afraid to think outside of the box. Some fundraisers have had success with sponsors by creating a themed playbook. For example, an athletic team might want to sell a playbook all about athletics. Solicit involvement from stores that support a healthy lifestyle, such as farmers markets, bicycle shops, whole-foods grocers, local shoe stores, or large sporting department stores.

Have a Sample

The word coupon sometimes conjures up an image of black-and-white ads in the Sunday paper. Instead, make sure that your sponsors understand the high-quality advertising that playbooks offer them.

The best way to prove this is to get a sample. Electro Image is happy to provide customers with a sample merchant ticket book. Show businesses that the playbook is a professional advertising space, and a custom piece of artwork. Point out the #100 heavy-weight cover stock printed in full color on both sides. Be sure to set reliable expectations. The merchant should understand that the space they are allotted includes both sides.

Before you enter the sales process, decide on details like whether or not the tickets will be scored and perforated. You can opt for the super-saver version, which is not perforated. Instead, the cards are separated by dotted lines for easy clipping. Either option looks and works great. The point is, don’t tell your merchants that their coupons will be perforated, and then change to the clipping version. For high-volume orders over 10,000 units, the UV super-shiny gloss varnish has been incredibly popular with sponsors, so consider buying in bulk.

Stick to a Timeline

Fundraisers are often run by volunteers who are juggling numerous other responsibilities. For this reason, develop a timeline, and start well in advance. Allow plenty of time for the entire fundraising preparation, ordering process, and volunteer organization. Developing an unrealistic timeline will only lead to unmet expectations on the part of sponsors, parents, staff, and community members.

Appoint a project manager who insists on staying on schedule. If a sponsor fails to submit coupon data or does not pay by a certain date, they are not included. Waiting around for a handful of late sponsors will frustrate the ones who have submitted on time.

Keep in mind that sponsors may target their messaging based on your timeline. For example, a grocery store may offer a coupon for five dollars off of the holiday platters in their deli because you told them that the playbook would be published by the end of November. You have a responsibility to your merchants to make that deadline, and publish the playbook when you planned.

Playbook coupons have been incredibly successful fundraisers, because they’re beneficial both to buyers, who get great deals from local businesses, and to sponsors, who get quality advertising in their community. By developing a playbook-sponsor strategy, having samples on hand, and sticking to a timeline, you’ll run a successful fundraiser that both buyers and sponsors are proud to be involved in.