Flowers are a wonderful way to brighten a yard and provide color and beauty to any garden. Bulbs allow people to have flowers when other plants won’t bloom, like in the early spring and fall.
In fact, many people like to give flower bulbs as gifts, because as perennials, they can be planted in the garden and then bloom for many years afterwards. A flower bulb fundraiser will find a lot of appeal with gardeners, experienced and amateur alike. It’s a unique idea that should raise some money for your group and beautify your community.
How does it work?
To stage a flower bulb fundraiser, you’ll need to find a company that specializes in this type of event. Some companies will have a brochure for you to choose from, but others may allow you to create unique blends and choices that will grow well in your climate and area.
Most companies will have a good choice of bulbs, including popular favorites like tulips, crocuses, daffodils and snowdrops. They may even have more expensive and exotic bulbs to choose from. The company should have a policy that guarantees all bulbs to grow or they’ll replace them – your customers need to feel like they’re buying with confidence.
Also, choose a company that works within your country – you don’t want to have to ship bulbs across the border.
Once you’ve chosen your company, they will ship brochures and order forms to take around to potential customers. Make sure that the brochures have pictures in them, because people like to see what they’re buying and you’ll likely have more success with sales. When the sales period is done, you’ll collect all the order forms and money and then place one large order with the flower bulb company.
Remember to factor in shipping – it’s often extra with these companies. You may also have to meet a minimum order, so make sure to check this out before choosing a company.
You’ll likely need volunteers to help you when the orders come in, because the bulbs will need to be sorted and bagged. Some companies will ship all the bulbs to you in bulk and then you’ll have to sort them and bag them yourself.
Make sure you also label them. Sometimes, companies allow you to set your own prices, so you can offer deals to your customers like “buy four bags of one variety, get this variety free”. This may increase sales for your organization.
How much can I make?
Normally, flower bulb fundraisers make about 50% profit. You have to figure some costs into your profit margin to get an accurate number. One such cost is labels and bags. Often, companies will not bag nor label your orders, so you’re going to have to do this yourself. As well, some companies don’t include shipping costs in the cost of the order.
Check to see how you can get around shipping – do you have to place a minimum order? Remember, flower bulbs are perishable, so you can’t carry an inventory with this type of fundraiser. If you place a minimum order with the company, you’ve got to sell all the bulbs or you’ll take a loss.
Pros and cons of flower bulb fundraisers
Like all fundraisers, selling flower bulbs has its pros and cons. The good thing is that bulbs can be planted both in the spring and in the fall, depending on the variety, so you can host two fundraisers in the same year; plus, they also make great holiday gifts, especially around Easter or Mother’s Day.
Another pro is that your profit is available immediately. This is also a very unique and green fundraiser, which may pique people’s interest and net you more sales. If nothing else, you’ll be popular with the gardeners in your community! Remember, if you’re going to send young children door-to-door, make sure that you have a security plan in place (chaperoning or going in groups), because this can be dangerous and at the very least, upsetting for the children if they encounter nasty neighbours.
However, there are some disadvantages to flower bulb fundraisers. For one, bulbs are perishable, so they have to be shipped right away and sold immediately, because they won’t last unless they are stored in a correct manner. Another thing is that planting time is critical, so you may have very unhappy customers if the shipment is late.
Also, you’ll need a lot of volunteers to help you to sort and bag the bulbs if the company doesn’t do this for you. You’ll also need to factor labels and bags into your overhead costs.
Flower bulb fundraisers are a great way to brighten up people’s gardens and raise funds for your organization. It’s a lot of work, but it has the potential to pay off really well.