Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Fundraising With Food

By: Kimbelry Reynolds

Fundraising with food has been a long time favorite for sports team fundraising. It is effective, provides something most people like and are willing to pay for, and the variety is vast. Whatever type of food fundraiser you choose for your team, there are three things you must do to get the most out of your efforts.

Food Fundraisers: Go For Mass Appeal
First, choose a popular product that will appeal to the greatest number of potential customers. Your choice should be appropriate to your target audience, be priced fairly, include a good profit margin, and be seasonally viable. For example, don’t sell sweets while the Girl Scouts annual cookie fundraiser is in progress!

Once you choose a product or group of products, use publicity to get the word out. Use school publications, posters, and all the usual suspects.

Take it to the next level by issuing a press release on local radio and newspapers. Most local publications offer this as a free service for non-profit organizations. This will spread your reach beyond the team, their families, neighbors, and friends.

Prepare and Execute!
Secondly, design your plan for execution. Everyone, including your team should know your group goal, your stretch goal, and their individual goal. Create a sales script for the team. Rehearse it at practice in a role playing way.

Would you rather make a purchase from an unprepared athlete who mumbles at his shoes, or from one that is prepared with what to say and looks their potential customer in the eye while conveying the appropriate message?

That message should briefly tell what product they are offering, who they are raising money for, and how the money will be used. (New uniforms, equipment, trip to the play-offs, etc.)

Offer Sales Incentives
Offer incentives for top sellers. Rewards should be quality prizes, not junk. Many fundraising suppliers include prize incentives for top sales attainment. If there is an additional charge for incentives, or if the incentives offered are not appropriate for your team, ask local businesses to donate prizes.

Have a recognition party announcing the top sellers. Everyone likes to be recognized for a job well done in the presence of their peers. If you tally your numbers daily, the top selling player has to run five less laps than the rest of the team.

Go Where The Money Is
As part of your execution plan, consider boosting your reach by selling your products from a table at a shopping center. These are customers that you may not reach otherwise, and can more than double your sales.

Approach the management of a shopping center for permission first. Then organize your volunteers in teams to cover the sales tables in shifts.

Advertise clearly at each sales table. In large print on posters, tell who is selling, what they are selling, and how the money will be used. Use not only multiple locations, but multiple tables at each location.

Give Extra Options
Third and finally, provide several ways the community can help your cause. Offering a variety of products helps ensure there is something that will appeal to everyone.

Or offer an overlay fundraising item. Not every customer will want the food products you have chosen to sell.

Offer a fundraising discount card in addition to your primary offering. Whether it is a two for one discount pizza card, or a fast food discount card, these can add substantial profit to your bottom line.

By offering your primary product and an overlay item, you could double the likelihood that a purchase will be made.

Don’t forget the most obvious overlay: a donation.

If a customer does not want to make a purchase, always ask if they would prefer to make a donation to help your cause.

How To Make Tax Time Less Taxing

Tax time is too often a cause of worry and undue stress. Whether or not you prepare your own return, if you fill out an extended form with attached schedules (that is, other than the short form), careful documentation of your records will make filing much easier.
Reasons for Being Organized
Well-organized records are crucial in case you are audited. By systemically collecting and carefully storing expenses and payments, you may find that you can deduct more than you thought possible previously. Most importantly, careful recording gets you thinking about, and therefore puts you more in control of, your entire financial life.
What to Organize
Tax returns cover any major aspect of your financial life during a calendar year. These include non-reimbursed medical and dental expenses, home purchase/sale, child-care and alimony payments. Sales of stocks and bonds need to be noted as well, including date of sale, number of shares, sale price and, what is most difficult for most people, the date and price of the original purchase, the last of which is required to determine profit or loss.
Organizing Back-Up Documentation for Deductions
Tax returns allow for a wide variety of deductions. You will want to itemize deductions if your total itemized deductions are more than the standard deduction to which you are otherwise entitled. Currently, the standard deduction for a single person or married person filing separately is $5,150; for married persons filing jointly, it’s $10,300 and for head of household, it’s $7,550. Consider filling out a Schedule A (Form 1040) for deductions if any of the following apply to you: if you adopted a child, if you paid interest and taxes on your home; if you had large uninsured casualty or theft losses, if you made large contributions to qualified charities, if you have educational expenses that maintain or improve skills required in your present job, if you paid union dues and fees, if you bought professional books and magazines, if you paid fees for having a tax return prepared, and if you paid fees for renting a safe deposit box to store investment-related material.
How to Organize
Everyone has a different way of handling personal financial information. The most basic is to put all receipts and financial documentation in a box or bag and let is accumulate throughout the year. This method, although easy to do for twelve months, results in a jumble of papers that need to be sorted when it comes time for tax preparation. A more efficient way to store documents is to consider first any items that you might want to claim as deductions. You can go online to http://www.irs.gov/publications or http://www.irs.gov/taxtopics to review legitimate deductions. Make a list of what applies to you. For example, did you buy or sell a home? Do you pay mortgage interest on your home? Do you have dependents? Then figure out the best system for you to sort the documents during the year. For example, you might want to purchase an accordion file with each tab corresponding to a deduction or expense category. Then put the receipts or relevant documents into the appropriately-tabbed folders in the file as you accumulate them. When it comes to tax time, pull out the receipts, add them up, clip them together and store them in that year’s tax box. The accordion file is then empty and ready for the new year. Alternatively you can get colored folders and color-code the categories from your master list of expenses and deductions that apply to you personally. Thinking about deductions may well save you money. Getting organized will economize your time and minimize your tax preparation stress. The above information is provided as a courtesy of Omni Financial, a company started by a former Staff Sergeant that has been exclusively serving the borrowing needs of America’s military members for over 55 years, and is intended for educational purposes only. This article, in whole or in part, is not intended to and does not constitute legal or financial counseling.

Source: Militaryloans.com

Celebrity Weddings

What would you do when you have a lot of money and you already found the greatest love of your life? Will you decide to ask her hand for marriage and give her the wedding of her dreams? If that’s the case, why not give it to her and make that wedding day one of the most memorable and happiest moments of her life? This may be one of the reasons why many celebrities have spent a lot on their weddings. And why not, after all, money is never an issue for them. Let’s check out some of the expensive weddings in 20 years.

Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes Wedding

These two Hollywood stars tied the knot in November 2006 at the Odescalchi Castle outside Rome. The estimated cost of the wedding was $2 million. Holmes’ dress was designed by Giorgio Armani.

Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston Wedding

Pitt and Aniston got married in July 2000. Two hundred guests attended the celebration. The gown worn by Aniston was designed by Lawrence Steele. The estimated cost was $1 million. (After more than 4 years of being together, the couple divorced in 200.)

Michael Douglas and Catherine-Zeta Jones Wedding

This amazing couple wed in November 2000 at Plaza Hotel in New York. Hologram-embedded invitations were given to guests and which they would present on the wedding day to prevent crashers. The estimated cost was $1.5 million.

David Gest and Liza Minelli Wedding

These celebrities exchanged their “I do’s” in March 2002. The wedding was held at the Marble Collegiate Church in New York. They had around 500 guests including Michael Jackson who was the Best Man and Elizabeth Taylor as Maid of Honor. The estimated cost was $3.5 million.

Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren

World-renowned golfer Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren tied the knot in October 2004 in Barbados at the Sandy Lane Resort where Woods rented the entire hotel and the island’s sole helicopter charter company to escape the paparazzi. The estimated cost was $1.5 million.