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Fund-Raising Sales: How Good is Your Signage?
Today I was driving home and saw a lady standing by a bus bench holding a box of Krispy Kreme donuts, and a bag that had several more boxes. It seemed clear from her posture (but not from much else) that she was offering these donuts for sale. Unfortunately her efforts were drawing apparently no attention.
About 50 yards further down the road I saw another young lady assuming the same posture with a similar stash of Krispy Kreme donuts; and across the road I noted one or two more folk apparently engaged in the same effort for drivers going the other way.
A moment of background: Recall that I live in Hawaii, on Oahu, and the only Krispy Kreme shop in the state is on Maui. Accordingly a lot of groups - school groups, dance clubs, youth sports groups, etc. sell boxes of Krispy Kreme donuts as fundraisers. Often you see these folks along the side of the road, making their sales to passing motorists.
The problem today's folks had was that they had essentially no signage; not even t-shirts. This caused several problems for them:
1. Drivers had no way to anticipate the sale. Sales like that work best on busy roadways where there are a lot of cars to sell to. The problem with that is that those roadways are busy and the cars tend to be moving quickly and purposefully. If you want to sell to those drivers you need to let them know far enough ahead of time so that they can slow down, pull over, get their wallets out and so forth. You can't just wave at them as they go by at 50 MPH and think they're going to slam on the brakes and buy your goodies.
These folks gave us no warning that they would be selling donuts ahead so there was no way for drivers to prepare.
2. There was no indication of WHY they were selling these donuts. Granted most donut eaters probably don't need a cause, the treat is a treat. But I'm trying to be relatively healthy and so if I'm going to shell out some cash for food that is delicious but not good for me I really need to have a reason. If it's to buy equipment for the Little League kids or books for the school library then I'm a lot more likely to buy what they're selling (or even just give them a few bucks and not take the donuts). If they're raising money for a cause I don't support then I'm not as likely to.
These folks were just random people standing on the roadway and I had no idea if they were raising money for something I supported or not.
3. There was no indication of how much they were selling the donuts for. $10 is pretty typical for a box, but without any signage there was no way to know if these donuts were a good bargain or not. In light of problem #2 (above) it would have benefitted these folks to attract buyers with a good price.
4. There was no indication of WHAT they were selling. I recognized the Krispy Kreme boxes but I'm observant that way. It's a fair bet that a large percentage of drivers had no idea what was in the boxes, if they even noticed the sellers at all (see #5).
5. These sellers were fairly inconspicuous. I noticed them because I'm somebody who looks around when I drive and it seemed odd that these folks were standing by the roadway holding boxes. Otherwise they were just inconspicuous pedestrians with a lot of boxes. No doubt some percentage of motorists never saw them.
So what's the solution?
1. A large poster some distance up the road that read: "Fresh Krispy Kreme Donuts $10 a Box! Help Support the [Insert Cause]! Just 100 feet ahead on the right!" Attach a couple of balloons to the poster.
2. The sellers should themselves have some similar balloons and rather than being solitary folks next to bus benches, they should group together, with their balloons, to attract more attention and create a sense of festival and activity.
3. Another sign next to the sellers that says the same as the first (except for the "100 feet ahead..." bit)
Alert the drivers ahead of time, inform them of what you're selling, how much you're selling it for and why and make it easy for them to find you when they reach you.
Today's folks did none of these things and not surprisingly I saw not a single motorist even slowing as they passed them.