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Coupon and Discount Card Fundraisers: Save While You Spend

Woman at the store unzipping her wallet

Whether you’re raising money for your nonprofit, church, or child’s school, sports team, or band, coupons and discounts are a tried-and-true way to hook people into donating to your cause. 

Most people are more inclined to donate when offered something in return, which is why so many organizations run coupon book fundraisers and discount card fundraisers.

But before you jump in, it’s important to look at some of the hidden costs and cons you’ll encounter. 

Keep reading to learn more about these coupon fundraising ideas, and discover an alternative option that can help you raise even more money. 

Coupon Book Fundraisers

Coupon fundraisers rely on the power of incentives. If you offer someone a desirable product in return for their donation, they’ll likely be more willing to give to your cause. 

Not to mention, coupon books are more enticing than selling products like cookie dough or candy because they can help buyers save money. What’s not to love? 

These books typically contain coupons that allow people to buy a wide variety of items including:

  • Clothing
  • Food
  • Gas
  • Entertainment

Coupon books can be purchased from companies and sold at a profit by volunteers. After you break even, you can keep everything you make. Alternatively, there are other models where the coupon book companies receive a percentage of each sale. 

If you want more control over your fundraiser, you can put together your own coupon books by reaching out to local businesses willing to give discounts to your buyers. While you won’t have to give part of your earnings to a coupon book company with this tactic, it will take more hours of planning (and lots of paper). 

Discount Card Fundraisers

Discount cards are similar to coupons, but they can be used repeatedly until they expire, usually after a year. 

And, instead of lugging a large book of coupons around on a shopping trip, buyers can keep a single card in their wallet that works at several different stores. 

In addition to selling cards with preselected brands, you also have the option to customize the discount cards you sell. That way you can include brands that you know your buyers already like.

Guide to earning 5x more for your fundraising program

The Downsides of Coupon and Discount Card Fundraisers

Selling coupon books and discount cards are very common fundraisers — but that doesn’t mean they’re the best ones. 

Both types of fundraisers require significant time and effort to sell these items. Depending on how many volunteers you have, it can be difficult to sell enough books or cards to turn a profit. You can try incentivizing volunteers, but that could complicate things or reduce your profit margins. 

At one school in Knoxville, Tennessee, parents felt pressured to sell coupon books so their children wouldn’t miss out on the incentive, which was extra playtime. Parents who didn’t have time to sell simply donated their own money, defeating the purpose of the fundraiser. 

Additionally, some companies require you to buy their products upfront, so you risk having too many coupon books or discount cards and losing money. 

Several other disadvantages specific to coupon book fundraisers include:

  • The coupons often have expiration dates, limiting the amount of use buyers can get out of them.

  • Coupon book manufacturers may take a large percentage of your sales, shrinking your earnings.

  • Coupons are single-use only, so once a buyer uses it, it’s gone.

Discount cards also have some cons. For instance, many stores won’t allow you to use a discount card on sale items, limiting their usefulness.

A Sustainable Alternative: Gift Card Fundraising

Luckily, an easy, more profitable fundraising option is readily available to you: RaiseRight gift card fundraising. 

It’s simple: you and the families in your organization can buy gift cards from hundreds of brands for routine shopping trips like gas and groceries, dining, travel, home goods, and more. Your organization instantly earns a percentage of each gift card sale — 6% on average, sometimes up to 20%!

Discover the power of gift card fundraising

Gift card fundraising accounts for many of the disadvantages of coupon book and discount card fundraising, including:

  • You don’t need to rely on volunteers to sell anything; participants can buy gift cards themselves (and buy as many as they want). 

  • There’s no need to offer incentives that can unintentionally impact your community members.

  • You don’t have to worry about making sales quotas or losing big chunks of your earnings. You get the full value of every gift card (which never expires) and there’s no cap on earning potential.
Raise more with RaiseRight

If you’re burnt out from selling coupon books and discount cards, it’s time to give gift card fundraising a try. Over 50,000 charitable groups and organizations are earning big with RaiseRight.

With RaiseRight, participants don’t have to spend any more money to support your cause, because they can buy gift cards from brands they know and love, like Target, Walmart, Amazon, and more.

Earnings come directly from the brand, eliminating the need for out-of-pocket spending from your donors and families. 

Here are some next steps to get started:

  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.