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Peer-to-peer events — especially sports-based events like 5Ks or fun runs — are often accompanied by related merchandise. Selling t-shirts, water bottles, and other event-related goods is a great way to boost your event’s bottom line… but it can also be a challenge to keep an event store running smoothly. Here are some tips we’ve learned from nonprofits who do a great job and some ways you can follow their example.
1. Keep careful inventory
You know what’s annoying? Buying an item online and then finding out that it’s out of stock. It’s the worst. Avoid disappointing your participants and supporters by keeping careful inventory of what items you have on hand, and make sure that you keep your inventory up-to-date online. If you do have an inventory problem, make sure to contact buyers as soon as possible, sincerely apologize, and work with them to come up with a solution. The only thing more annoying than buying an out-of-stock item is waiting around for someone to help you fix the issue — don’t make them wait too long!
2. Put One Person in Charge
You know that old adage that too many cooks ruins the broth? The same is true when you’re talking about a store — too many managers ruins the inventory. By all means, have as many people as you need selling and distributing event merchandise, but make sure that you have one single person in charge of the whole operation. Having an individual overseeing your store will help cut down on mix-ups with inventory, miscommunication, and other organizational problems.
3. Use One Platform for Everything
Using different platforms for online and offline purchases is a logistical nightmare. Not only do you have two sets of books to settle at the end of your event, you’ve also got to keep your inventory straight between two programs that aren’t working with each other. Can you imagine the confusion that would result if a volunteer gave a t-shirt to a donor who paid with cash and forgot to remove that t-shirt from your online inventory? It’s a recipe for frustration and disorganization. Instead, find a platform that will let you track offline purchases in addition to online purchases. It’ll save your sanity (and everyone else’s)!
4. Stay Organized
Organization is a big deal, especially when you’re running a major event. Keeping things tidy and well-organized might be a bit of a challenge, but it’ll be a lot easier in the long run than digging through a huge box of shirts looking for the last medium or running around trying to find that last pesky box of water bottles. Get your store organized and keep it that way — it’ll prevent a lot of headaches.
5. Make the Shop Easy to Find
This mostly applies to your online storefront, but you could apply the same concept to a merch table or booth. Your shop will be much more successful if people can easily find it and if it’s easy to navigate. Make the link to your shop very visible and put it somewhere intuitive.
Another tip that’s especially handy is this: if you can, make the shop appear during the event registration process. You don’t have to compel registrants to buy anything before they pay to register, but it is a nice option for people who want to sign up for your event and buy merchandise, too. Making it all one easy purchase is a helpful way to boost sales.
Qgiv Users: are you running a peer-to-peer event?
We can help — and we can help you sell your merchandise, too. You can either:
- Check out our comprehensive guide to peer to peer fundraising for more useful information for how to plan your upcoming event.
- Give us a call if you have any questions!