Selling Christmas Trees as a Fundraiser
Christmas trees, along with wreaths, garland and swags have successfully been sold in Virginia to raise funds for various organizations for many years. Real Christmas trees and fresh greens offer a good profit margin because they are relatively easy to market and many people plan on buying them anyway. They are also eco-friendly as the trees are grown on farms and replaced annually.
There are two different ways to sell Christmas trees and greens as fundraising activities; one is the traditional tree lot and the other method is through pre-sales. A traditional lot can be a great way to maximize your profits. Many organizations claim to use a tree lot to fund all of their annual activities. A church, school, or any number of civic groups make great Christmas tree fundraising organizations because they already have the advantages an existing facility, an involved membership and a defined leadership structure. There is much to consider before deciding on a Christmas tree lot; division of labor, wholesale sources, types of trees and greens, timing of the order, staffing of the lot, business days/hours, security, expenses, advertising methods, and maintenance of the lot. Further, organizers will need to decide whether to have the trees delivered or is there access to trucks/trailers. And lastly, consideration should be given to offering other services such as shaking and baling.
The pre-selling of Christmas trees and greens involves the use of a brochure and order form. Members of the organization promote the sale, take orders and collect payment. Next, at a predetermined place and time, the products are made available or delivered. In planning a presale, the identification of the grower(s), types of trees to be offered and variety of greens are early decisions. Next, the brochure must be published and a schedule agreed upon. Again, organizers will need to decide if they wish to have the products delivered or if there are trucks/trailers available. Once the trees and greens arrive, fundraising members may be asked to unload the truck and then either deliver the trees, or ask their customers to come to a pick-up location. The advantages to presales include: minimal financial risk in having unsold trees, there are no staffing hours of the tree lot, and the trees are usually shipped immediately after being cut, so the trees will be as fresh as possible.
Whichever method the organizers of a fundraising activity decide upon, it would never be too early to consult your nearby Virginia growers to determine product availability and coordinate schedules.
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