There's only so many rolls of wrapping paper, bars of chocolate or bags of water softening salt that one can buy from cherubic doorbell ringers, hawking their goods for the benefit of their schools, sport teams or other worthy endeavors.
Many folks have either purchased from kids selling goods or have ferried their own children from neighborhood to neighborhood in search of willing purchasers. The minds behind MN Brands for Good have made both sides of the business transaction much more palatable by featuring a fresh take on fundraising products.
Co-founders Gina Moore and AJ Buckner have experience working with local Minnesota brands and saw a need for featuring local, high quality products in fundraising programs. MN Brands for Good brings together local brands with students’ schools, sports teams and nonprofit groups. Even better news: 40 percent of sales go to fundraising organizations and groups. (Groups of all sizes are welcome to join up with no upfront costs.)
Each season, MN Brands for Good rotates Minnesota-based products in its catalogue for each seasonal fundraiser, featuring over 50 best-selling products from Minnesota brands, makers and artisans. This spring, Moore says over 10,000 catalogues were delivered to Minnesota schools, non-profits, churches, music programs, dance studios, clubs and organizations. For example, last spring’s catalogue offered brands, such as Bare Honey, Essence One, Hip Hop Gourmet Popcorn, Juanita’s Jar, Kind Lips, LOLLiDALE, Triple Crown BBQ sauce and Mademoiselle Miel. Other collaborators include City Girl Coffee, and the inclusion of Mike & Jen’s Hot Coco Mix is in the works. Moore is excited for what’s to come. “We’re going to have a fresh new assortment of really great products,” she says.
When customers order from a MN Brands for Good catalogue, they’re choosing from a list of intentionally culled items that Buckner and Moore have chosen themselves. “We looked for Minnesota-made, quality products with wide appeal that we liked,” Moore says. Products need to have an accessible price point with a “rich story and looking to gain new customers and share their mission,” she says.
Many of the brands they work with have a philanthropic element to them, for example, MN Brands for Good brand partners support local anti-bullying programs, mental health education, relationship violence education, Minnesota honey bee pollinator programs and many more. “It just felt like, when you are picking a fundraiser, why not pick the fundraiser that not only gives back to the local business, but also goes toward other causes?” Moore says.
Bottom line, success is in the selling, and MN Brands for Good provides a dedicated fundraising consultant, who works hand-in-hand with each student nonprofit group to maximize its success through digital support, on-time deliveries and thoughtful communication.
Fundraising groups and customers aren’t the only ones to benefit from the program. Moore and Buckner say their business provides the perfect audience to build up local brands that may not have gotten the attention otherwise. With fundraising, Moore says, there is a “captive audience … motivated to purchase … [MN Brands for Good is] a great way to share your product and reach a customer who you may not have otherwise reached.”