My daughter’s school is having a fundraiser right now. It’s more educational than most, so I like it a little better. Rather than selling candy, wrapping paper and all that stuff that we quickly get too much of, they’re having people sponsor the kids in a Spell-A-Thon. Sponsors choose flat rate or an amount per word, knowing that the entire word list is 100 words. Easy to figure out what you can afford.

Watching my daughter trying to sell people on sponsoring her was fun. She didn’t ask many people, so I only got to see so many techniques from her, but it was cute.

Know What Your Customer Can Afford

My daughter’s first attempt at getting a sponsor was a complete failure. She asked her 5 year old brother to sponsor her at the rate of $1 per word.

She of course hadn’t given any thought to how much money that would be in the event that she gets all the words right, and given that these are spelling words from throughout the school year that she’s already learned, there are good odds that she would get all of them right.

I was quick to point out that her brother doesn’t have that much money, and even if he did, that would be an unreasonable amount for a 5 year old to give.

We discussed what was appropriate and that a brother does not have to sponsor his sister if he doesn’t want to spend the money. We came to the agreement that a penny a word was okay to ask for. He still declined.

If you don’t know what your market is willing to pay for whatever you’re selling and ask too high at first, you’ll get them into a “no” mood. Think about what is reasonable for your market and start testing offers.

Ask for the Stars

My daughter was ambitious in what she asked for. While that didn’t work so well with her younger brother, she had better luck elsewhere.

The goal for each child is to reach $15, so they can get an entry into a drawing for prizes. My daughter went right for it. She told her grandmother that she wanted to be sponsored at the $15 level. She explained that grandma could also sponsor her per word, but that a flat rate was simpler to deal with, as Grandma was visiting from out of town and would not be around at the time money needed to be collected.

The tactic worked. Grandma had to laugh when she realized that she had agreed to handle the entire amount my daughter needed to make. It had sounded reasonable at the time, and so my daughter got it.

Know that Some People Will Buy No Matter What You Do

There was someone my daughter forgot to ask for money when she was doing her fundraising. It didn’t matter – some people will buy from you just because there’s that much trust.

She forgot to ask me.

I’m her mother. Of course I’m going to contribute to her school fundraiser. But I found it quite amusing that she forgot to ask me.

It didn’t matter, of course. She’s getting her money from me too.

If you have gained a great deal of trust, you can have customers like that too. You don’t have to tell them about the product, they’re interested because it comes from you. That takes some work on your part, but it’s a wonderful thing to have happen. And you probably won’t even need to be related by blood for it to happen if you do it right.

And she’d better do well on that Spell-A-Thon!