Fundraising with Show Bags

Kids love show bags, and while you may not automatically associate them with a school event, they are no longer simply the domain of the State Shows. Using the same supplier, schools and other groups can now sell show bags at their fetes and events, adding a level of festivity that usually only comes with a ferris wheel or roller coaster.

In a nutshell

Fundraising products: show-quality branded bags, novelty and confectionery

Suitable for: large school or community events

Profit: 15-20% approx. 80 cents to $1.50 per bag or more

The products

WA Showbags provide showbags to fundraising groups to sell at school or community fetes and festivals. Pre-packed and ready for sale, the bags are the same that would be purchased at the Royal Show (WA) or Easter Show (NSW) and have been inspected and deemed suitable for sale to children by Consumer Protection.

The range of bags offered include the branded/licenced novelty bags such as Peppa Pig and Pokemon as well as confectionery bags such as Bertie Beetle, Allens and Cadbury.

For large events (in WA), you can also request a fully equipped showbag trailer, which needs to be staffed by the school/fundraising group for a profit share arrangement.

The fundraising process

WA Showbags have a set range and price list which are available throughout the year. The most common form of fundraising is for the group to pre-purchase the bags which are then onsold at the fete or festival.

Another option is allowing the fundraising group to take individual orders over a period of time (the lamington drive method) but these have a slightly higher wholesale rate, reducing the profit margin.

WAShowbags do not provide online sales, but instead offer a personal service to help fundraising groups make sure they get the most suitable bags (and quantity) for their event. With thirty years’ experience the team know what factors to take into account when estimating sales (such as the size of the school, the event timing, whether the event is new or existing, weather and more) and they encourage potential fundraisers to call and discuss their event, so they can help decide how many bags might be sold and tailor an option which is best suited to the particular event, which may be as small as 20 bag or as many as 1,000.

As Jeremy Sims, the Director of WA Showbags says “That’s what sets us apart, as we don’t just accept orders for hundreds of bags for fundraisers, if they realistically won’t sell hundreds of bags.  Supporting our Fundraising customers is part of our core business, and their success is our success.”

Costs and profit

Fundraising group purchase the bags at a wholesale rate, and then sell them at the fete at the normal retail price.

The profit margin for the confectionery showbags is 20% (A $4 RRP bag is bought for $3.20 making an 80 cent profit) while a high end branded novelty bags has a slightly smaller margin at 15%, but a much larger absolute profit (ie a $20 RRP bag is bought for $17 with a $3 profit).

The recommended retail is what WA Showbags sell for at the Perth Royal Show, but many fundraisers add an extra margin onto the sale price of each bag (from 50 cents to $1) which helps to increase the profit. This is up to the fundraiser.

There are no returns offered on any bags with food products, although they will accept returns on unsold novelty bags.

WA Showbags are located in the Claremont Showgrounds (Perth) and orders can be collected at no charge, or freighted to your location (extra cost). For schools and groups in the Eastern States, orders can still be made with WA Showbags as they have partners in the Eastern States.

Worth considering

While many schools with healthy eating or zero waste policies may object to selling showbags at an internal fundraiser, showbags would probably only successful at a very large event anyway with a large expected crowd, as the absolute profit can be quite small. At the same time, the amount of work involved is relatively small and straightforward, simply requiring staff to sell the bags (at a larger event, an extra volunteer to maintain stock levels would also be helpful).

Handled correctly, showbags could be considered a major drawcard, bringing an element of the ‘big shows’ to a local event. Jeremy says that “the best results are when the school gets the students involved” making promotional posters and creating a buzz. “It’s not necessarily the size of the event, but the atmosphere created for the event, that gets the results.”

For more information visit WA Showbags at or call on (08) 9385 4579.

Author: Shannon Meyerkort

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