To develop a simple and elegant marketing plan for a nonprofit fundraiser, Ames High School senior DeVaughn Stringfellow might say “it’s all in the wrist.”
Business teacher Vicki Hales gave Stringfellow’s class an assignment to create a fundraiser that could take advantage of all the themes October has to offer—from Halloween, to Breast Cancer Awareness, to football…
“I started thinking of black and orange and pink and fall,” Stringfellow said. “It just seemed like too much. Then I just blurted out an idea to raise money for cancer awareness. Not just breast cancer, because cancer touches more than that.”
Stringfellow said he got the idea to design a wristband as simple way to convey the clear, compelling message, “Ames High Cancer Awareness.”
“And choosing the colors orange and black will never to out of style at Ames High School,” he said.
Developing a business plan to produce and sell the wristbands taught Stringfellow how to face and overcome the inevitable obstacles.
“I didn’t have any money to fund the project, and I had a goal to get the wristbands in time for the next football game,” he said. “I asked (business teacher) Rhonda Schmaltz what to do, and she recommended talking to Alpha Copies.”
Stringfellow said Alpha Copies was willing to help, but couldn’t produce the wristbands within the timeframe they were needed.
“That’s when Mr. Evans stepped up,” Stringfellow said.
Principal Spence Evans approved using some DECA activity funds to front Stringfellow’s project so he could order 300 wristbands online.
“I didn’t know if they would actually arrive in time for October 16 football game, so I couldn’t promote them in advance,” he said. “They got here just in time for the game, so I sent some emails out and got some of my classmates lined up to sell them at the game.”
Stringfellow said he got more than 30 email responses within two hours.
Estimating he’s sold 250 wristbands so far, Stringfellow said he’s already covered his start-up costs and netted more than $100.
“I’m asking $1, but some people are giving more and treating it as a donation,” he said. “And I have more orders left to fill.”
Stringfellow said he was surprised that high school students would be so enthusiastic in their support of a cancer research fundraiser.
“This experience has me thinking about what it would be like to work for a nonprofit,” he said. “I’ve been involved in mission trips and helping people through my church, Christ Community Church, but this helps me see more of the business side of it.”
Stringfellow said he’s still researching cancer centers to receive the funds.