Top Ten Rules for Effective Kickoffs

By Harry Van Epps, Bumblebee Marketing

April 2011

Rule #1:  Always confirm kickoff and anything you will need the group to provide one to two days  prior to avoid last minute group changes such as unexpected meetings, change in kickoff location, or change in time.  This will save time, money, and embarrassment.  If you do not have a sound system, make sure you have the school set up their system for you.  For big groups, you need a microphone.


Rule #2:   Always show up at least half an hour to an hour early depending on group size and set-up. This will alleviate any glitches and have the kickoff ready to start on time.  Make sure you ask where to park so you won't have to move your vehicle in the middle of the kickoff.


Rule #3:   Set up some kind of visual for your group.  Make it something that they will getexcited about, something that you can romance, or something to have fun with.  It could be a prize display, a large poster, media presentation, or dressing as a character.


Rule #4:   Have someone of authority introduce you.  Write it out for them so they can't mess it up and make sure that whoever is introducing you understands it is to be fun and not a time tolecture.  Make sure that the introducer emphasizes why the money is being raised and havethem relate it to the kids.


Rule #5:   Be full of energy and enthusiasm during the whole presentation.  Do it in such a way as to have a student ask you "How many cups of coffee did you have this morning?"  Have fun doing the kickoff.  This will make or break the sale.


Rule #6:   Have your presentation down so pat that you could stop or be interrupted by anything andstill maintain your composure.  Make sure you don't use a certain phrase continually because kids will pick up on that and start counting the number of times you say it rather than listen to your presentation.


Rule #7:   Learn methods of crowd control and things you can do to get them back with you if they are starting to slip away.  Hold their attention by having them participate (questions, clapping, moving, having someone pre-selected in the audience to come up and be a participant).Remember that everyone is now programmed by television and every 12 or 13 minutes you need a commercial break, something to change gears.


Rule #8:   Have ways for the staff to be involved in the kickoff.  Someone eating the product in front of the group, different ones to demonstrate the prizes, wrap one in wrapping paper, a staged argument on which class is going to be the top, a challenge from one that if they reach a certain goal they will wear a chicken suit or whatever.  Be creative in your thoughts.


Rule #9:   Have a specific goal for each individual to sell.  This way they know what is expected of them.  Give them ideas on how that goal can be achieved.  Teach them how to sell and sell safely in elementary setting.  For middle school and high school, show them techniques and have fun doing it.


Rule #10: Have ways for the students to get the brochure or packet out of their backpack.  Have elementary students put it in the refrigerator or give mom a big hug and then hand it to her or put it her favorite chair.  For middle and high school students, tell them not to leave the brochures in their locker or wait for someone to ask them if they are selling something.


Harry Van Epps has more than 30 years of experience in the product fundraising industry.  He established Bumblebee Marketing in 1991 and previously spent 12 years with Princeton Industries.  In the fall of 2010, Harry and his wife Dorothy ran 350 groups, kicking off about 90% of them.  Bumblebee Marketing works with big and small groups, of all ages and all types. 

Download a copy of Harry's handout from his education session at AFRDS Show 2010 here

van_epps_handout.pdf26.43 KB