Troop TX-0147 is excited to share a fundraising option for fellow troops, Cards For A Cause (CFAC), that abides by Trail Life USA policies, while allowing troops to reap a hefty return of approximately 50%! You will be selling boxes of 30 or 50 (holiday box, only) embellished greeting cards for $30. Try getting that deal at your local store! This fundraiser has a low minimum troop order and does not require you to pre-stock the product.
Why is this being offered?
- Our troop conducted this fundraiser in October 2015 and September 2016. With only 6-8 participating Trailmen over a two-week period gathering orders, we raised over $1,000 each year that went directly back into the troop account. In October 2017, 2018, and 2020, we raised over $2,000, $3,000, and $5,000 respectively with 20 boys participating (plus or minus a few), and in October 2019-2021, we raised between $6,000-8,000 with 30-40 Trailmen participating! We’ve offered the fundraiser to other troops for several years, and many other troops have participated with us and had success as well. The information and materials provided here will allow your troops to take advantage of this amazing opportunity.
- “Great way to meet our neighbors and a very effective fundraiser. We averaged 2-3 boxes sold for every hour we invested. I can’t think of another fundraiser that will give you that kind of return on your time.” Troop VA-2714
- “A big thanks to Katherine who made this such a simple fundraiser for our new troop.” Troop OK-0313
What is CFAC and how does it work?
What official order form should my Trailman use?
- Cards For A Cause – Order Form (PDF)
- You may also order pre-printed order forms very inexpensively, if you prefer that to printing your own.
What other marketing materials are available to my Trailman to help make sales?
- Cards For A Cause – Resource Pack (PDF)
- We set up a Square site to promote online sales for the last couple of years, and it was a HUGE success! We are more than happy to help you set up something like this yourself. We can also set up QR codes that customers can use for contactless orders/payments when you are selling in person.
How do we sign up?
What are some ideas of what our troop can do differently during the Covid-19 pandemic?
What percentage does my troop actually get to keep?
- Your troop will earn approximately 50% of your raw sales amount.
- For example, if your charter organization is non-profit, and your troop sells $2,000 in greeting cards, then you will earn about $1,000 of that (only troops that are not tied to a non-profit charter organization will be subject to their state’s sales tax, which may slightly affect that percentage).
- Detailed Breakdown: You may have read in the overview PDF that your troop will get to keep $13 per $30 box sale, which is about 43%. While this is the standard fundraiser offering from Usborne Books & More, the consultant who is facilitating this fundraiser will be donating her own personal commission in its entirety to preserve the ethical and moral purity of the fundraiser (i.e no personal profit for her). The focus here is to ensure that all earnings will solely benefit your local troop and Trail Life USA national. Therefore, with the added commission, your troop will earn an estimated 50% of your sales amounts. Each individual troop that participates will receive the passed-on commission earnings separately after the fundraiser has concluded. Any additional commissions above and beyond the 50% will be donated directly to Trail Life USA National, and that amount will be shared publicly after the fundraiser is complete.
How much time do we have to conduct this fundraiser?
- We typically have Trailmen selling for about two weeks in their neighborhood/churches/etc, and then we go door-to-door in the neighborhood around our charter organization as a Hit The Trail meeting. Of course, please research the rules for the neighborhoods where you are located to make sure this is allowed, get proper permits, etc. It really only takes a week or less to get things organized, so it’s perfect if you want to get started quickly.
What happens if we do not meet the minimum order?
- You may have read in the Overview PDF that the minimum order is 15 boxes. What this means is that your troop, collectively, needs to sell at least 15 boxes in order for this fundraiser to be worth your while, and earn the approximate 50% return. However, if you do not meet the minimum, you will have two options: cancel your orders and return your customers’ payments, or buy extra boxes out of your own pocket at the $17 cost per box in order to satisfy the minimum. The latter will translate into a lower earnings percentage for the troop.
- For example, if your troop has a cumulative sales amount of 10 boxes, then you have collected $300 from customers. Since you’d still have to pay the minimum of $255 (15 boxes @ $17 each), your troops earnings would be $45 (kept from sales) plus about $30 (from the consultant’s passed-on commission) which is only about 25% earnings for the troop.
Can I get samples beforehand to show potential buyers?
- This is a great question, and one our own troop posed when we started. It depends on how quickly you are wanting to start your fundraiser. Order processing time for sample boxes is approximately 1-2wks currently, so I would not recommend planning on receiving sample boxes unless you are about a 2wks minimum out from your goal date for fundraising. The pricing for sample boxes is the full price of $30 per box plus shipping; please let the consultant know directly if you would like to order sample boxes before your fundraiser. If you are ordering sample boxes, I would highly recommend also purchasing pre-printed order forms at the same time, since they are VERY inexpensive and most likely even less than you could print in color yourself, $2 for a pack of 25. For those who do not have time to order samples or prefer not to for another reason, it is fortunate that these greeting cards can be sold easily by using the materials provided above in the linked Resource Pack.
How do we submit our troop’s order and payment?
- You will need to send an email to [email protected] containing the following information: Troop number, number of orders for each box type, your charter organization’s mailing address, and your best contact phone number. For tax exemption (if your charter org is non-profit), we need you to attach the actual state sales tax exemption certificate as a PDF, not just an ID#. Once we receive this information for your troop, we will be calling to take payment for your shipment, and all orders for your troop will come together to the single address that you provide.
After we place our troop’s order, how long will it take for our boxes to arrive?
- Greeting cards typically take up to two weeks for delivery, and after that, your Trailmen can hand-deliver them to customers. Make sure you communicate delivery plans clearly and have contact info to communicate updates if needed, so customers know what to expect. These cards truly are great year-round, so the fundraiser can be done at any time!
Other than my troop, who else is profiting from my fundraising?
- Any additional commissions generated as a result of this fundraiser will be donated in full directly to Trail Life USA national, and no profits will be kept by TX-0147 or the Usborne Books & More consultant.
Who is the Usborne Books & More consultant that is helping to facilitate this?
- Katherine Roberts, Usborne Books & More Consultant #R4587. Mrs. Roberts has also been officially registered as the Troop Treasurer for Trail Life USA Troop TX-0147 since initial chartering in 2014. Her TLUSA ID is TLUSA-212963.
A Few Tips:
- Sell Locally: We have found that selling to people who would require shipment can be cumbersome, primarily due to the need for additional shipments after your bulk order arrives. We recommend selling locally to people who live close to your sponsor organization or in your Trailmens’ neighborhoods that would allow for easy hand delivery. You could also sell to church/organization members who live further out, but set up a specific date and time for distribution (such as a Sunday after church service) once you have received the cards.
- Shipping: If you do choose to sell boxes to out-of-town friends/family, setting up a Square site or other payment portal is the best option, and we can help you do that! Once your bulk order has arrived, you will be responsible for mailing any orders which need to be shipped. We have some tips for doing that effectively, but the most important factor will be making sure you are estimating the cost correctly to charge each customer.
- Make a goal: Tell your Trailmen how many boxes you’d love to sell, and how much money that will raise for your troop. Consider making a minimum goal per trailman/family, since that can help give parents an idea of how their boy(s) can help meet the troop goal. It sometimes helps to have a specific purpose for the funds that you will raise. i.e. “These funds will pay for our campout in 2 months!”
- Order A Few Extras: This is optional of course, but you may decide to do this fundraiser again in the future, and you may want to consider ordering a box or two at cost during this round of CFAC for your Trailmen to use as samples during future events.
- Involve your Kids: I’m going to be blunt here and tell you that it is MUCH harder to resist a kid who is selling items for a cause! 😉 Help them practice a short “sales pitch” to present the cards; you may be surprised at how successful they are and how this experience builds their confidence. That has definitely been the case with my son, and even at just 8yo, he made all of the sales for his troop’s fundraiser completely on his own. If you want to see the short video of him that we made for posting online, I am happy to share.
- Fundraiser Folders: This will depend heavily on how many participants you have actively fundraising. For a bigger troop, I would recommend giving each participant a large envelope stapled to an order form. (Make some extras, since you’ll inevitably have some high achievers who need additional order forms.) If you have a smaller number of participants, it works very well to assemble folders/binders with information about your organization/cause on one side, a picture of the 4 box options on the back, an order form (or two!) inside, a zipper pouch or envelope for payments/pen, and a sample card or two to show the impressive quality of the cards.
- Prizes: Another suggestion, and a GREAT motivator for our troop, was having this also be geared as a competition. We had seller awards for the top three spots plus a prize catalog that gave the Trailmen a lot of enjoyment. The boys were pretty excited about competing against each other, especially when we used one meeting time to go door-to-door at the same time. Prizes come in two forms: Top Sellers (gift-cards) and Prize Catalog (earn items based on box sales)
- Top Three Sellers earned gift cards to a local sporting good store in the amounts $25, $10 and $5.
- 2017 CFAC Prize Catalog
- Method: All Trailmen, including the top three sellers, can also earn prizes based on the number of boxes they have sold and then choose from the prize catalog we made. For our troop, we determined that 6% was a fair amount to reserve for prizes, so here’s our formula:
- Formula: [Prize cost] divided by [0.06] divided by 
- Example: At the time this was written, this hammock cost $19.99, so…
- $19.99 ÷ 0.06 ÷ 15 = 22.21 boxes (which we round up to 23 to save profit)
- Example: At the time this was written, this hammock cost $19.99, so…
NOTE: This fundraiser is being organized by Trail Life TX-0147 in Dallas, Texas, and is not an officially sponsored activity by Trail Life USA National. Please do not direct any questions, comments or concerns to Home Office regarding this fundraiser, as this is a grassroots endeavor. CFAC fully operates within the guidelines set forth by Home Office on how troop fundraising may be conducted.