Does your group sell fundraising discount cards to raise money? I am curious to find out how you are doing with the sale of cards? The fundraising companies we speak to tell us that discount card fundraisers are booming. But then we ran across an article in the Tyler Texas newspaper that made us pause.

I’d like to share a little bit of the article and then get some feedback from our loyal readers about whether discount cards are still a good fundraising idea. Are Discount Fundraising Card Sales worth the work necessary to hold this type of fundraiser?

Here’s some snippets from the Tyler Paper:

“After eight years of discount card sales, Tyler elementary school students will take a break this year. The cards provided people with discounts at more than 20 Tyler area locations and served as a fundraiser for the participating schools and the Tyler ISD Foundation. Participating vendors included restaurants, entertainment and service companies such as oil changes, hair salons/barbers and dry cleaners, among other locations.”

Although we have not seen the actual card they used the discounts sound typical for fundraising discount cards and the inclusion of 20 merchants was a greater selection than most discount cards. So it would seem that the cards offered value. But apparently the buyers in Tyler didn’t think so.

“The TISD Foundation has led the campaign, but decided to suspend it this year because of poor sales last year and other priorities at the elementary schools. The way the program worked is that an outside company contacted vendors to include their discounts as part of the cards. Students and parents sold the cards and the school earned one-fourth of the profits, the foundation earned one-fourth of the profits and the company earned half of the profits.”

We are not familiar with any companies that operate with a profit split so we don’t know if the motivation for sales was not as high with this profit model. Most large discount card fundraising groups make 90% profit selling cards. Based on the article it looks like this group only made 50%.

“TISD Foundation executive director Larry Goddard said last year’s sales earned the foundation $10,000, half the profits of the previous year. Another $10,000 was spread among the participating elementary schools. “For the amount of time put into it by parents and teachers and students, it wasn’t worth it,” Goddard said. He also said elementary school parents, students and teachers have a lot on their plates this year with the new state assessments. “The elementary campus principals told us that they would do the discount card sales to help the foundation,” Goddard said in a statement. “We were impressed with the generous, dedicated benevolent spirit of our elementary principals — they do everything so well — but we want to change the vendor company and make it so that the card sales provide more dollars to the campuses for their discretionary spending.” He said the foundation is investigating other companies so that it can offer the cards and possibly additional fundraising opportunities next school year.”

The way we read the end of the article it appears like there was at least $20,000 of profits to be split. Most schools would love to have that kind of fundraiser. But Mr. Goddard indicates that there is too much work involved relative to the amount of money they raised.

So we would love to hear from you. Are discount card fundraisers still working for your group? Is the amount of time needed too much? Will you continue to sell cards?


Posted on 21 February 2012

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