Some of you may have entered the stage of signing the fundraising contracts or fundraising agreements. Therefore, as we do our best to be your complete source for fundraising, we would like to highlight some key points to for you to be aware of when you are about to sign a contract.
A fundraising contract is an agreement between the school/club/church/organization running the sale, and the company that is facilitating the fundraising program. Not all companies and programs require a contract to be signed, but most of the larger and well-established fundraising companies that offer school-wide catalog sales do require you sign their pre-determined contracts. Having all of the terms clearly stated down on paper protects both parties (the company and the fundraising organization) in case there is a dispute or misunderstanding. Most fundraising organizers, however, are not lawyers and have had limited experience with contracts. Please cautiously be aware of the following key points before signing a contract based on our experiences.
1. Are you authorized to sign a contract?
Make sure that you are authorized to sign on behalf of your organization. Many schools have their own procedures to follow so please do check with your administrative office before signing anything. It’s also important to make sure you are not held liable personally if something goes wrong.
2. Do your due diligence on the fundraising companies.
You are about to sign a legal document entering an arrangement with an outside company. Make sure you do your research and have a good feeling about the company you are about to go into business with. Check the Better Business Bureau to see if there are any issues on the company that you need to be aware of.
3. Make sure the key terms are clearly stated in the contract.
There are multiple parts to a fundraiser and each company has different policies. Below are the main points to be discussed and agreed to.
- The term of the agreement. (Is it just for one fundraiser? Multiple fundraisers? Multiple years? )
- Profit Margin
- Shipping Costs
- Brochure Costs
- Student Packing Costs
- Prize Programs
- Posters / Marketing Materials
- Product / Material returns
The above points should be understood by all parties and discussed ahead of time. Nothing should catch your group by surprise. It is a good idea to have the contract reviewed (and agreed to) by all of the decision makers in your organization. Remember, a contract is there to protect and help your group. Just make sure it is handled properly.