New Ways to Use Merchandise to Fundraise

Guest post by Kari Kiel

While fundraising merchandise sales are hardly new, they been revolutionized over the past few years as new technologies have sprung up to make them easier and more efficient. A few years ago, nonprofits wishing to sell merchandise for their fundraising event required purchasing a large quantity of product up front and then reselling items to make a profit. Unsold items and missing sales envelopes meant headache and loss of revenue for your organization. Not to mention lugging around all of those boxes of chocolates, or guestimating the quantity and sizes of fundraising t-shirts to order.

Thanks to online fundraising tools, incorporating merchandise sales with your fundraising event is now much easier AND more personable!

Today organizations can create an online store which features custom fundraising merchandise designed specifically for your organization and/or fundraising events. With easy-to-use online tools, your organization can choose between a variety of fundraising merchandise to make available for sale (such as t-shirts, sweatshirts, water bottles, etc.) Once merchandise is selected, it can then customized specifically for your cause. Administrators upload merchandise options and design choices featuring imagery, logos, messaging, event taglines, etc.

This provides your organization with control over the branded aspects of the merchandise including color, logo placement and references to sponsors. Yet, it allows participants to be creative in choosing a style and design they like. In addition, each of your constituents or event participants can personalize their fundraising merchandise with their name, team name, the name of a loved one, a photo or a personalized message.

The new crop of online tools are extremely easy to use. Participants choose the item or clothing silhouette they like. They pick the design of their choice. Then they add personalized information (such as name), and select their donation amount. Constituents who choose to purchase merchandise generally also have the ability to increase the amount of money donated through their purchase.

Fundraising merchandise sales are a great fundraising option for participant-driven fundraising events such as walk-a-thons. Why? Fundraising merchandise provides various teams the ability to differentiate themselves by creating their own t-shirts, tagline, team color, etc. This creates a fun environment at the event as each team can be identified by their unique designs. Parents and other supporters can also get involved. They can purchase merchandise for the team they support and customize with messages such as “Proud Parent”. Fundraising merchandise can also be used to motivate participants by giving away prizes for most sales or donations received.

Fundraising merchandise options can include: t-shirts, sweatshirts, coffee mugs, water bottles, key chains and much more. Your organization can choose from a catalog of items that fit your constituency’s needs and budgets.

Kari Kiel, is a marketing consultant who currently leads marketing efforts for online fundraising software provider, DoJiggy LLC. Kari has more than twelve years experience developing and executing strategic event marketing plans. She has produced large-scale community fundraising events for nonprofits, and has consulted for various companies to help them extend their reach and improve results through integrating targeted online marketing campaigns.

Photo Credit: InsideTheMagic