Almost inevitably we all find ourselves participating in or hosting a fundraiser at some point in our lives. A large part of how successful that fundraiser will be depends on what you are selling, and cotton candy is one of the best items to sell!
How to have a successful, high profit fundraiser? There are three main ways that you can successfully use cotton candy in a fundraiser: pre-packaged, pre-sales, and spinning live. With a 90% profit, all of these cotton candy options can produce a high profit fundraiser for your school, church, dance or sports team, or any other organization trying to fundraise.
Each of these methods has different benefits, as well as a few drawbacks, but all of them have proven to be successful. Here is what we have found to be the pros and cons of each method and a few tips and tricks to make sure your fundraiser is a success!
Pre-packaged Cotton Candy Sales
The pre-packaged method involves spinning your cotton candy beforehand, packing it up, and then selling those packages during a scheduled event. If you do not want to spin your own cotton candy bags, consider Spun Paradise Cotton Candy prepackaged bags of cotton candy at wholesale cost for schools, churches, sports leagues, and other organizations that are fundraising with cotton candy.
Cost and Profit: If you plan to make your own prepackaged cotton candy bags, expect the clear bags to cost about 20 cents per bag, organic sugar floss will be about 70 cents per bag of cotton candy, and you will need a heat sealer as well. If you plan to order premade bags of cotton candy, our cotton bags, made with USDA organic sugar floss, will cost about $1.50 per bag depending on quantity. Either of these options is great as bags are sold for $5-$6 each yielding a large profit for your fundraiser.
Benefits: One of the biggest benefits to this method of fundraising is that your cotton candy can be easily stored and transported without the hassle of moving around a machine and supplies, or having to worry too much about selling in a location that will protect you from the elements while you spin live. You can also sell the cotton candy quickly without too much of a line building up as the bags are ready to go.
The best benefit of fundraising with prepackaged cotton candy is that you are able to easily sell multiple flavors at one time. One of your greatest advantages though is in the visual appeal. People will be able to physically see the bright-colored deliciousness of your cotton candy and will want to try it right in that moment that they see it. Luckily, you have cotton candy that is ready to go so they will be able to satisfy that craving in the moment when the appeal is greatest.
Considerations: There is a lot of time and mess involved in making your own prepackaged bags, always try to estimate about how long it will take you to make your bags. With pre-packaging, there is always a danger of not having enough. You will have to do your best to estimate the demand and interest so that you can spin enough cotton candy to sell. Keep in mind that the risk of running out will increase as you add more and more flavors. If one flavor ends up being more popular than another, you could end up with a lot of extra cotton candy leftover that could eat into your profits. I always recommend offering 3-5 prepackaged cotton candy flavors at an event with 100-999 people. I recommend 3-7 flavors for any event of 1,000 or more people.
Always ask the event coordinator to get an idea of how big the crowds are or what other vendors will be at the event, consider reaching out to a few of the other vendors and asking how much they usually sell. I have learned that other vendors are usually happy to help and share information to help each other out. Additionally, you can prepare order forms to have on hand so that if you do happen to run out of a specific flavor, customers can place an order for you to deliver at a later date.
TIP: To increase your success during this type of fundraiser, we suggest two things: samples and original creations. Who doesn’t love a good sample? Samples are a proven way to draw attention and entice people into buying more. This is especially useful if you are selling multiple flavors. In general, customers are hesitant to commit to buying a whole bag of something if they are not sure that they will like it, but remove that doubt and their sweet tooth will happily take the wheel.
Many of us also enjoy trying new things. Nothing will grab attention more than if you advertise an uncommon flavor of cotton candy that no one has ever tried before. So start up your idea generator! Do your best to create and name a signature cotton candy that only you sell. We do custom cotton candy sugar floss flavors for clients all the time specifically for this reason.
Pre-sales Cotton Candy
The pre-sales method includes creating an order form that customers can fill out ahead of time in order to receive their cotton candy when you deliver it at a later date.
Cost and Profit: Pre-sold cotton candy fundraising will be at the same cost and profit level as pre-packaged. Once you have the exact numbers sold from the pre-sales order forms, you need to make your own cotton candy or order prepackaged at wholesale. If you plan to make your own prepackaged cotton candy bags, expect the clear bags to cost about 20 cents per bag, organic sugar floss will be about 70 cents per bag of cotton candy, and you will need a heat sealer as well to seal the bags. If you plan to order premade bags of cotton candy after you have finished with the pre-sales, our cotton bags, made with USDA organic sugar floss, will cost about $1.50 per bag depending on quantity. Again, either making the cotton candy yourself or ordering it premade is great since bags are sold for $5-$6 each yielding a large profit for your fundraiser.
Benefits: Pre-sales is a great fundraising option because there is no risk of surplus or wasted materials. Customer-specific order forms ensure that you will know exactly how much cotton candy you need to spin and when you need it by. This method also allows you to easily include a variety of flavors and toppings that your customers can choose from.
Considerations: The tricky thing with pre-sales is getting the word out there. You will have to be proactive in advertising the sales and informing as many people as possible about it. Pre-sales cotton candy fundraising works best with school groups or sports teams that will be actively selling the cotton candy through presales. You don’t have the advantage of using the physical product’s appeal, so your advertisements will have to do the selling. Another difficulty that you face with pre-sales is the delivery. We suggest using a specific location for pickup. This tends to work fairly well, especially if the fundraiser is at a well-known location such as a school or a business. There is also the option of mailing the cotton candy directly to the customer. If you choose this option, be sure to budget accordingly and be familiar with the different shipping and postage requirements in your area.
TIP: Pre-packaged sales are most successful during holidays! Give your customers the option of buying cotton candy for someone else and writing them a note to deliver with it. Cotton candy grams make great Valentine’s Day or Christmas fundraisers for schools. In addition, you could offer discounted prices when customers purchase more than one cotton candy. Or, for a slightly elevated price, offer them the option of creating their own cotton candy by choosing from a list of flavors, toppings, and what they would like it spun on. These specialty orders are a bit more time consuming on your part, but are a fun way to draw attention and let your customers take part in the cotton candy making process.
Spinning Live Cotton Candy Sales
The spinning live method requires a cotton candy spinning machine so that you can spin a customer’s cotton candy right in front of them as soon as they order it.
Cost and Profit: Making cotton candy cones live at an event is by far the most profitable cotton candy fundraising option. Plan on cotton candy cones costing anywhere from 3 cents to 12 cents. If you have a Smart and Final close, we highly recommend purchasing the cotton candy sticks there at 3 cents per cone. If this isn’t an option, you can get the sticks on Amazon for around 12 cents per cone. If using our organic sugar floss, it will be about 25 cents per cone of floss sugar. Cotton candy cones should be sold in a price range of $5-$7 depending on location and size of the fundraiser. With cost being 28-37 cents, this makes live spinning a very high profit fundraiser.
Benefits: Spinning live is the most eye-catching method for fundraising. Not only does it have the appeal of cotton candy, but it is also a visual attraction that people will stop and watch. The fact that you are selling fresh cotton candy only adds to the appeal. Spinning live also allows you to customize orders by letting your customers choose how much cotton candy they would like, how they want their cotton candy cone size (small vs large), as well as select from a variety of toppings that you have available.
The secret to success with this method of fundraising is definitely your location. Spinning live is a visual attraction so you will want to find an area where you can easily be seen but that also has a lot of traffic so that many people will have to walk by you and see you spinning. This can be a bit of a challenge for some, but with a little creativity and a few extension cords you can make it work! School carnivals, sports games, and farmers markets are fantastic locations for live spinning fundraising.
Considerations: Be sure to confirm with your local Environmental Health Department if there are any requirements to make cotton candy on site at an event. Laws vary by state and county, so be sure to know if you need a temporary food facility permit for live spinning.
TIP: Want to draw even more attention? Schedule a live-demo to show people how cotton candy is made! You can explain the process, teach a little bit of the history of cotton candy, and share your favorite flavors with the crowd.
If you are planning a fundraiser, your spinning skills are a sure and easy way to raise the funds that various organizations need. Cotton candy is a flexible product that can be sold in whichever way best fits your schedule and resources. As if that weren’t enough, it is also a fun product to make and sell. No one is ever sad to see the cotton candy spot, everyone is always excited and happy when they spot you! So if you are feeling a little stressed about how to manage a fundraiser, forget chocolate and instead use cotton candy to add a little bit more fun to your FUNdraiser! As always, we are here to help with all things cotton candy, let us know if you have any questions!