Support the Resource
By Ralph Cinfio, RMEF Vice President of Fundraising Services
Ordering insights and how-to
Before a Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation chapter hosts a Big Game Banquet, they usually receive what is called a support order. This shipment contains all the administrative items and materials needed to host a successful fundraising event. Chapters are not charged for these materials, and therefore the cost does not impact their event results. However, the cost of these items and the resources to ship them hit RMEF’s bottom line. We thought providing you with some insight and how-to on these orders would help you help us do more for elk country!
Did you know that the chapter should be filling out and placing the order with their regional director (RD)? Oftentimes not, I bet.
We need our chapters to take an inventory every year of the items they will need to host a successful event. Based on what they have in their coffers, they should then order the items they don’t have on the support order form. It does not help the RMEF or our mission to fill out the order form randomly selecting how much and what you think you might need.
Many of these items do not change from year to year and can be used again in following years. For example, if you take inventory and have 75 donation receipts left over, save them and order less the next year. We know at the end of an event, when you’re worn down and tired, it’s easy to just throw extras away. It’s actually the best time to collect your support materials, box them up, write the quantities on the outside of the box and store them for the next year. When the time comes to place your next order, all you will have to do is look at the list on the box to conduct your inventory and place your new order.
Another great cost saver is sharing event merchandise underwriting catalogs. These are tremendous tools for chapters but do cost an average of $3.22. If you have an event in the first half of the year and you have leftover or unused catalogs that are in good shape, please give them back to your RD. He can then use these to fill other chapters’ needs, ultimately reducing the number of catalogs used and associated shipping costs.
RMEF actually lists the cost of all materials on the order form, even though chapters are not charged for them. We have done this to help chapters see how much each order costs in order to help everyone be a little more conscious of their spending.
The RMEF hosts about 500 Big Game Banquets annually and more than 750 total events. The average support order for a chapter should hover under $450. This is a great gauge when placing your order with your RD. If it’s more than $450, maybe your order can be reevaluated or revised to include only those things you require.
Speaking of RDs, did you know that, while you place your orders through them, they should not decide what to order for you? Why? Well, how do they know what you have in your inventory? Only you know what you need. If an RD does a blanket order for your chapter not knowing your inventory, they end up ordering far more materials than you need. This can lead to great waste and higher expenses—ultimately, less money for mission-oriented work!
Did you also know RDs keeps a majority of these items in their own inventory? When you run low or need something quickly, they can get you extras with no major hang ups. Committee hats are a great example. If you had 27 volunteers on your committee, why order 40 hats? Order the amount you need, maybe a few extra, and let your RD know if you need more. They will be there to help. This also is extremely helpful when RMEF is trying to forecast usage and maintain adequate national inventories.