February 17, 2022

How a Knickerbockers Fundraiser Works, From Beginning to End

At Knickerbockers, we try to pack a ton of value into every fundraiser. 

You sell certificates that entitle buyers to a studio portrait session and a package of prints. You keep 100% of certificate sales. Then, our photographers spend a weekend taking portraits of all your certificate holders. You and your helpers will receive free portrait sessions and print packages as well!

But as with any fundraiser, you probably have questions about the process: What do I need to get started? How does Knickerbockers work with me along the way? How much do I need to sell?
So, we’re going to take you through the process of a Knickerbockers fundraiser, from start to finish. And by the end, we hope you’ll be ready to start your own!

Step 1: Talk with a Knickerbockers Guide

Our goal is to help you put on the most successful fundraiser possible. That’s why every Knickerbockers fundraiser starts with a conversation over the phone. We take time to learn about your cause and your needs. 

Every Knickerbockers fundraiser needs a team of sellers. If you are raising money for a specific organization (e.g. a sports team, a school, a food pantry), you may have a built-in team of sellers. Otherwise, we can help you think through friends and family you can recruit to your cause.

Finally, we get to work setting a date and a selling goal. We recommend calling six to eight weeks before you want to hold your portrait weekend. However, we’ll work with you to find the right dates. We’ll also tell you about our current promotions and photoshoot themes you can take part in. Portrait weekends can be two to four days, depending on how many tickets you sell.

Because we need to cover our photographers’ mileage, your selling goal is based on your distance from our office in Johnson City, Tennessee. An organization within 200 miles of Johnson City needs to sell about 50 certificates. Then the minimum sales needed increases by 10 for every 50 miles. So, for example, a group 401 to 500 miles away would need to sell 110 portrait certificates. 

Step 2: Choose Your Location

Once we have your goal and timeline set, it’s time to find a location for the portrait sessions! 

You’ll need a room with at least 18x25 feet of level, open space and at least an 8-foot ceiling. The facility must have running water, restrooms, electricity, and heat or air conditioning. The room also needs to be available for the entire weekend. We find that community centers, church fellowship halls, conference rooms and fire departments work great!

Step 3: We Send All the Materials You Need

Once we’ve scheduled your fundraiser and set a location, we provide all the materials you need. You’ll get instant access to printable PDFs. We also send free full-color program materials, which arrive in about a week.
The key item is the portrait certificates you’ll sell to friends, family and neighbors. Buyers get a portrait session and a package of prints: two 8x10s, two 5x7s and eight wallets.
It is your responsibility to distribute these materials to your team of sellers and explain how the fundraiser works.

Step 4: Start Selling

With your materials in hand, it’s time to start selling! This part of the process usually takes three to five weeks. You can recruit as many sellers as you want. We also encourage you to set up a public Facebook event page so you and others can easily spread the word online. 

With each sale, your team members will collect money, names, phone numbers and email addresses. The money goes directly to your cause. You keep 100% of the certificate sales. The contact information will be used later, when you schedule the portrait sessions.

As you sell, we’ll check in with you every week. We’ve walked many people through this process, and we want to give you whatever wisdom and guidance we can!

(Read our six tried and true tips for selling portrait certificates!)

Step 5: Schedule Portrait Sessions with Your Buyers

Scheduling the individual portrait sessions is your last big step. You’ve already set the date for your portrait weekend. Your buyers should have been informed of these dates when they made their purchase. Now, all you have to do is call them up and see what time slot works best for them. 

Step 6: Knickerbockers Photographers Arrive for Portrait Weekend!

On portrait weekend, you make sure the chosen location is event-ready. As people arrive, you’ll sign them in for their photo appointment and schedule their return viewing appointment as well.

Our expert photographers are gifted at creating a fun, light-hearted atmosphere. They bring themed props and backdrops to set the tone for the day. And they’re skilled at helping active kids focus and shy teens light up for the camera. 

Our goal is to capture each participant at their very best. And we hope that every time they look at their portraits, they’ll think fondly of your cause.

You and your team will get to sit for your own portrait sessions, too. We provide sessions for you, your main helper and the location host. Your sellers who sell at least 10 certificates will receive a standard package of prints. You will also receive an even larger package of prints, including a CD of your portraits.

Step 7: We Return with Finished Portraits to Take Home

Two to three weeks after the portrait weekend, we’ll return to town to deliver print packages to participants. This will typically happen at the same venue, if possible. We ask that you or your main assistant be there. Participants will get to see all their portraits and choose any additional prints they’d like to buy. While no one is required to buy additional prints, we strive to create a quality product they’ll want to buy. This is how we pay our bills, allowing you to keep all of the certificate sales.

Oh, One More Thing: Cash Bonuses

It truly is our goal to help you have the most successful fundraiser you’ve ever had. So, when everything’s finished, we like to top off your funds raised with a few cash bonuses. You can receive a bonus for booking a certain weekend or selling a certain number of certificates. Check with your representative for specific details about the bonuses in your area!

Are You Ready to Start Your Fundraiser?

We’ve helped people like you raise funds for their churches, sports teams, family funerals, fire departments, nonprofits, hospitals and more. Most of these fundraisers turn into an annual event! Whatever your cause, Knickerbockers can help you run a memorable and profitable fundraiser. 

If you’re ready to learn more, give us a call at 800-332-1066, or head over to our contact page. We can’t wait to hear about your cause!

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