This outline is specifically for school’s that use Sigler’s Top 200 Drug Cards, but can easily be adapted for other items or even for schools that do not use these. This fundraiser is held annually by Gamma Psi, and Gamma Xi had a similar item they used to sell until the school stopped requiring the lab cards.
Sigler’s Drug Cards are a set of the top 200 prescription drugs on index cards that contain various pieces of information relating to the drugs. At Mercer, these cards are required for P1s as the professors administer several quizzes based on the information contained on the cards. Other versions of the cards (OTCs, Injectables, Herbals, etc…) are also used for the P2 and P3 classes, creating even more revenue.
Two possibilities to adapt this fundraiser:
- Identify a required academic item and find a way to receive a discount by buying in bulk and using the fact that you belong to a non-profit organization. Items that are required for first year students are ideal, i.e. blood pressure cuffs.
- Sell these exact cards to P1s with the sales pitch that they are phenomenal studying tools. There will be markedly less sales (because they are not required), but using the “money up front” ordering technique described below will minimize risk.
The one aspect of this fundraiser that allows it to be so lucrative is the fact that Sigler (the company that makes the cards) will give you a SUBSTANTIAL discount on the cards – at a price so low you can make a healthy profit and still outcompete any online sources like eBay. Another huge advantage is that the cards are updated annually; therefore you have very little hand-me-down competition from the upper class men.
If done properly, this fundraiser could net between $1000 to $4000. With a ten to fifteen dollar markup, all you have to sell is 80 units to make a substantial profit.
Degree of effort:
Extensive. Planning must be done months in advance (typically over the summer to start sales in August). Many steps are involved and the money-collection and card-distribution phases require the assistance of the Brothers.
With pre-orders being made and the majority of money collected up front, almost no initial investment is required. Sigler will actually ship all of the drug cards at no cost and send an invoice!
The main limitation is obviously having this item or a similar one that is used on campus and can be sold. Next is having permission from the school to actually sell it. A major reason for not being allowed would be competition with the bookstore, as some schools do not allow this.
Nothing physical except a table to run operations and depending on where you get the items shipped, a way to move them. One hundred or more boxes suddenly become quite a burden.
Rundown & Pointers
Have the fundraiser approved by the appropriate people at your university. If necessary, speak to faculty to alert them of your philanthropy (because yes, you are helping P1s get their needed supplies and are saving them time and money. So nice of you!) Pick your point of contact for each class (P1, P2, P3); that one person is responsible for collecting all money for that class and must maintain an ACCURATE master list for you to order from.
Contact SFI publishing and ask to speak to Susan Sigler (firstname.lastname@example.org) tel: 1-800-446-6293. Introduce yourself as a non-profit organization and explain that you want the bulk order discount pricing. This is typically about 30 to 40% below MSRP - $35 for the $55 sets, $20 for the $35 sets. Sale price for each item is usually set five to ten dollars less than the price listed on the website. You will have to set up an account, and it is recommended to use the school address or Kappa Psi House if there is one. If mailing to the school, be sure to have it addressed to your faculty GCD. If you are having any problems with this stage feel free to name drop Mercer University Kappa Psi to get the same deal. Ask to have an order form emailed to you and be sure to check what the latest edition of each set is.
If your school uses the drug cards or a similar item, follow this next step. If not, you could be able to skip:
Email and introduce yourself as the point of contact to the coordinators of classes that use the item. If drug cards, inform them of the newest editions and confirm the required editions for this year. If there are any quizzes or practicums related to the item, be sure to get pertinent dates in order to establish deadlines.
Organize and finalize publicity strategies (Facebook posts, email drafts, white coat reception tabling, class announcements) and payment and ordering options (Paypal, Chapter Website links, Google Docs). Create the google docs and share access with your point people. Make sure they are constantly updating who paid and any changes to the order on the google excel sheet. Things should flow as follows: students placing orders with you with an option to pay, but not required à order from manufacturer and receive item à distribute to people and collect unpaid money.
Now you are prepared to begin the fundraiser. Email blast classes outlining the drug card fundraiser (deadlines, costs, lowest price available, same ones you get from bookstore, etc...) including sign up and payment links (Late July/Early August). Send another blast 2 days before white coat for P1s and let them know where to meet to sign up and pay for their cards. Also bring a sample that they can take a look at as well.
Once you meet your initial deadline for students to place orders, time to place yours! Place order well in advance to ensure proper time for printing and shipping before deadline (usually a week).
Once cards/item arrive(s):
Confirm a location and time for students to come pick up their item. If they have not done so yet, remind them to pay and that placing an order was a commitment to pay, as your organization had to front the cost of the item (even if you didn’t. Fifty shades of business, in my opinion.) It is usually best to have schedule separate times for separate classes to reduce madness. Print out at least 3 copies of the master list using excel sheet and organize it alphabetically. Have 2 people per pick up station. One person checks names off and confirms order, one person hands cards out. Other Brothers should be helping assist (ensuring distributors have boxes by their side, funneling people into the area, pubbing for any socials/fundraiser, getting to know the new class). At the end of each pick up, compile the lists and see who still is left to pick up. Email them asking their situation and try to schedule a time to pick up, if they paid then make sure to give it to them (find them in class). If they didn’t, give it up to someone who wants it.
If there are any unpaid items/cards left over, try to sell online or save for next year. Make sure all invoices are settled.
Avoid PayPal at all costs. Yeah, it is convenient, but if you get thirty or more orders and people aren’t putting their information in correctly, it is very easy to start getting confused. Not to mention the fees. Check and cash makes life much, much easier.
Always order a few extra. There may be some last minute people who decide they want what you’ve got, and you don’t want to miss out!
Stay organized and in communication with your point persons! Be sure to update the master list daily and limit access to the cards and the lists.
Now that the drug cards are an established part of Mercer life, this fundraiser profits over $5000 each year. You may not be able to do this exact sale, but if you do something similar and build it up, then after a few years you will have a perpetual fundraiser that will keep your coffers in the black!