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Candle Fundraisers: The Pros and Cons

Candles arranged on a coffee table

Whether it’s because of their ambient light, radiant warmth, or countless variety of soothing scents, candles are beloved by many. It’s no wonder candles are one of the most popular products sold for fundraisers.

But are candle fundraisers the most effective way to help your organization meet its goals? 

Read on for the pros and cons of candle fundraising, as well as an alternative that just might be even more of a crowd-pleaser.

What is a Candle Fundraiser?

You might remember participating in Yankee Candle fundraisers at school or while in a youth group. This popular fundraising event involves selling candles door-to-door, online, or via an order form, with a portion of the proceeds going toward your school or organization.

Various candle companies offer candle fundraiser programs, each with a different ordering process or business model. For instance, some candle fundraiser programs only require you to pay back the cost of the candles, while many others keep 55% or more of the profits. 

Because of this, candle fundraising can be labor-intensive. The average cost of a candle ranges anywhere from $1.99 to $35, so you’ll need to sell a lot of candles to turn a profit, especially if you’re only keeping 45% or less of what you make.

For example, if you sell candles at $20 each, you'll need to sell 25 candles to raise $500. However, after the candle company’s cut, you may only be left with $225 or less.

Is Candle Fundraising Effective?

Despite the work involved, candle fundraising can certainly yield a profit, especially since candles are easy to sell and cost more per unit than other common fundraising products, like cookie dough or scratchcards. 

Additionally, candles are popular in general. Selling candles with special features, like a longer burn time, may even allow you to charge more per unit.

However, as noted earlier, there are some cons to consider. 

Candle Fundraising Pros and Cons

Below are some of the most notable pros and cons of organizing a candle fundraiser.

The Pros

Let’s take a look at some of the major upsides of candle fundraising. 

  • Candles are a crowd-pleaser. Did you know? The candle industry is worth over $3 billion dollars! Candles are popular, make great gifts, and many folks don’t mind stocking up on candles at home. And with a wide variety of options available, there's something for everyone — from scented jar candles to small tea lights to wickless candles.

  • Candles are ideal for the holidays. Approximately 35% of candle sales occur during the holiday season. The cold weather combined with a craving for nostalgic scents and festive decorations makes candles an even easier sell in the winter months. 

  • There are typically no upfront costs. Many candle companies don’t charge upfront for their supplies, so it’s easy to get your fundraiser up and running without worrying about breaking even. Simply order the brochures and order forms, sell, place a mass order, and pay back the required cut.
The Cons

Despite the various advantages of candle fundraising, there are some downsides to keep in mind. 

  • Parents often do most of the legwork. Students or young athletes usually need the help of their parents to sell the goods to coworkers or extended family members. Candles, in particular, can be a burdensome fundraiser for parents since the target demographic for candles skews a bit older. 

  • You only receive a small cut of the profits. Big candle companies often keep more than half of the profits from any given candle fundraiser. Even those with more generous policies may charge for the cost of the candles, which can slow your progress toward meeting your fundraising goals.

  • There can be logistical difficulties. Even the best candle fundraiser can quickly become a hassle. Not only do you need to organize order forms and keep track of earnings for your entire organization, but you also need to order, store, and distribute the candles. If you’re short on time or space, candle fundraising will likely become cumbersome. 
A Brighter Alternative: Gift Card Fundraising

If candle fundraising burns you out, there’s a more effective way to fundraise. Gift card fundraising with RaiseRight is a no-selling fundraising method that you incorporate for your school, sports team, church, or other organization. It works like this: 

  • Enroll your organization in a RaiseRight program
  • Purchase gift cards for routine shopping (think gas, groceries, coffee, or dining out) from the brands you love
  • Your organization earns a percentage back for each gift card sold — anywhere from 1 to 20%. 

With RaiseRight, there are no limits to your earning potential. Gift cards never expire and can be purchased and used year-round.

RaiseRight partners with hundreds of retailers, including brands like Yankee Candle and Bath & Body Works. Consider running your own candle fundraiser by using RaiseRight gift cards while shopping at your favorite candle retailers. 

Ready to start earning?

Here are some next steps to get the ball rolling:

  1. Learn more about how gift card fundraising works.
  2. Download the Gift Card Fundraising Playbook and share it with others in your organization.
  3. Start a free program by completing a short, online enrollment form.  

If your organization is already earning with RaiseRight, you just need your enrollment code to create an account and begin fundraising right away.