Why Your Nonprofit or Charity Should Try Promotional Products (2023)

As a nonprofit or charity, you want as many pennies as possible to go towards your cause. That’s why the idea of spending money on promotional products may seem downright crazy!

Don’t knock the idea quite yet! Nonprofit promotional items can go a long way in helping you raise funds. In fact, there’s proof that this marketing strategy works.

Without further ado, let’s dive into all the ways promo products can help your nonprofit or charity.

There are a million ways your nonprofit can use promotional items. Here are some ideas.

Why Your Nonprofit or Charity Should Try Promotional Products (1)

Free Gifts With Donations

If you give, people are likely to give even more in return. Offer a gift to anyone who donates a certain dollar amount to your cause, or for frequent donors who give every year.

Why Your Nonprofit or Charity Should Try Promotional Products (2)

Prizes

Contests and raffles are awesome ways for your nonprofit to get more donations. Put together branded gift baskets for a fundraiser, or host a social media contest and offer your merch as prizes.

Why Your Nonprofit or Charity Should Try Promotional Products (3)

Gift Shop Swag

Your supporters will proudly rock your logo, whether it’s on a shirt they wear on weekends, or on a coffee mug they sip from every morning. For that reason, you should sell your nonprofit branded merch in an online gift shop.

Why Your Nonprofit or Charity Should Try Promotional Products (4)
(Video) See What KPA Promotions can do for YOUR Non-Profit or Charity!

Fundraiser Freebies

Everyone loves a free goodie bag! Put your nonprofit swag in custom tote bags, and give one to every person who attends your live fundraiser.

Why Your Nonprofit or Charity Should Try Promotional Products (5)

Volunteer Gifts

Do you want to thank your volunteers for their hard work? Give them cool promo items from your nonprofit or charity. You can even pair the gift with a heartfelt note.

Nonprofit promotional items may seem expensive, but there are plenty of products that start at under $1 each. If you use these items wisely, you can easily raise more awareness and increase the number of donations you get every year.

Which Nonprofits Use Promotional Items?

Seeing is believing! The following nonprofits and charities have successfully used promotional items:

  1. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
  2. Livestrong
  3. American Heart Association
  4. Girl Scouts of America
  5. The World Wildlife Fund

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Why Your Nonprofit or Charity Should Try Promotional Products (6)

St. Jude has an extremely successful online shop full of branded merch. They also mail free promotional items like these notepads to past donors. It costs $1.4 billion to run St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital every year, and thankfully, every cent earned from their branded merch goes toward research and operation costs

What you can learn from St. Jude:Successful marketing is all about the give and take. Offer your customers a few promo items for free, while also selling more stylish, high-end items in an online gift shop.

Livestrong

Why Your Nonprofit or Charity Should Try Promotional Products (7)

Do you remember the yellow wristbands that Livestrong offered in the early 2000s? According to their website, the nonprofit received about $100 million in donations as a result of these simple promotional bracelets. It just goes to show the power of branded promotional items.

What you can learn from Livestrong:Keep your finger on the pulse of what’s trending. For example, kids were obsessed with pop-it bubble fidget toys in 2020. Your nonprofit should offer items that people are talking about and loving.

American Heart Association

Why Your Nonprofit or Charity Should Try Promotional Products (8)

The American Heart Association has a ton of cool branded merch as part of their “Go Red for Women” campaign. This includes: custom socks, water bottles, jackets, and even cookbooks! The money raised goes toward supporting women like Holly Weigle who survived three heart attacks and is a proud advocate of the organization

What you can learn from American Heart Association:Creativity pays off in spades. The weird promotional items, like message socks, are unique enough to get attention and cool enough to be purchased.

(Video) The Truth About Nonprofits

Girl Scouts of America

Why Your Nonprofit or Charity Should Try Promotional Products (9)

There’s nothing sweeter than Girl Scout cookies. From Thin Mints to Peanut Butter Sandwiches, all of the money earned from these promotional cookies goes back to the troops to pay for supplies and uniforms.

What you can learn from the Girl Scouts:There’s value in consistency. The Girl Scouts of America have offered yummy cookies since 1917. You can’t think of their organization without thinking about these treats!

The World Wildlife Fund

Why Your Nonprofit or Charity Should Try Promotional Products (10)

The World Wildlife Fund sells a ton of promotional items in their gift shop, but their branded coloring books are some of the best. They’re designed for both adults and children, give a brief bio on the organization, and provide fun facts about the animals. It costs $55 to adopt an animal from WWF, but a simple purchase from their gift shop is another way to contribute to their cause.

What you can learn from WWF:The best nonprofits know the value of storytelling. Your promotional products should tug at people’s heartstrings and encourage them to feel connected to your cause.

Your non-profit can host shoe drive fundraisers, collect money to cure an illness, be dedicated to education, or work with animals. There’s no wrong way to use promotional products. Just learn from the non-profits and charities listed above!

Be giving, stay trendy, tell a story, and remain creative and consistent. It doesn’t matter what your cause – there’s a way to incorporate nonprofit promotional products into your marketing strategy.

Why Your Nonprofit or Charity Should Try Promotional Products (11)

21% of non-profits have an annual budget of less than $50,000. TV commercials and podcast spots are expensive, but promotional items are very affordable. You can easily incorporate them into your marketing.

The best promotional items for nonprofits are less than $1 each. You can get cheap giveaways such as:

  • Grocery tote bags
  • Personalized keychains
  • Custom ballpoint pens
  • Silicone bracelets
  • Lip balm
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Promotional stress balls
  • Custom sunglasses

If you have more room in the budget, it’s not a bad idea to also splurge on high-end items you can sell in an online gift shop for a profit. Clothing, tech gadgets, and drinkware are sure to be bestsellers!

How Promotional Items Help Nonprofits

Why Your Nonprofit or Charity Should Try Promotional Products (12)

Marketing a nonprofit can be tricky. You can print your awesome ribbon on mailers, host fundraisers, and keep up with social media, but what else can you do to put your cause on the map? The answer could be nonprofit promotional items!

Do you need proof that promotional products work for nonprofits? Take a look at these interesting facts and figures!

Why Your Nonprofit or Charity Should Try Promotional Products (13)
(Video) How to Use Promotional Products for a Non-Profit or Philanthropy

*Numbers based on 2022 data.

There are more than 1.6 million nonprofits in the U.S., and Americans are willing to spend upwards of $470 billion to support their favorite causes. 71% of them will even spend more if it means they’re giving back to an issue they care about.

So how can promo items help? Just look at the American Red Cross, which saw 9.5% more donations when they offered their donors a free gift. If the research in the Journal of Marketing is any indication, these people are also 20% more likely to talk about the Red Cross now that they received something for free.

Overall, freebies are just one way your nonprofit can use promotional items. It only benefits you to get your name out there!

Why Your Nonprofit or Charity Should Try Promotional Products (14)

Another option for nonprofit funding is to look into corporate sponsors. A little boost from these organizations can go a long way and help you pay for your promotional items. In fact, 79% of customers would donate to a nonprofit associated with a trusted brand. Reach out to some local companies and see if they’d be interested in partnering with you!

Whether you order promotional items yourself or find some help from a sponsor, it’s well worth making branded items part of your marketing strategy. Every time someone carries one of your tote bags or writes with one of your pens, they’ll be thinking about your organization.

Final Thoughts

Promotional products never expire. People will hang onto these items for years, and in doing so, have a constant reminder of your nonprofit or charity.

Whether your supporters are using branded sticky notes at their desk, chowing down on delicious chocolates with your logo, or squeezing on a custom stress ball, these items will stand by their side as much as you stand by your respective cause. It’s time to make promotional items part of your nonprofit organization!

References

Independent Sector. The Charitable Sector. Retrieved from, https://independentsector.org/about/the-charitable-sector/

Pala, S. 71 Percent of Consumers Will Spend More Money to Support a Cause. Here’s How to Pick the Right One for Your Company. Retrieved from, https://www.inc.com/serhat-pala/71-percent-of-consumers-will-spend-more-money-to-support-a-cause-heres-how-to-pick-right-one-for-your-company.html

National Philanthropic Trust. Charitable Giving Statistics. Retrieved from, https://www.nptrust.org/philanthropic-resources/charitable-giving-statistics/

Leonhardt, M. (2020, September 30). Nearly 3 Out of 4 Millennials Have Donated Money During the Pandemic. Retrieved from, https://www.cnbc.com/2020/09/29/more-millennials-donated-money-during-the-pandemic-than-other-generations.html

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. 5 Things to Know About Your St. Jude Donation. Retrieved from, https://www.stjude.org/about-st-jude/why-support-st-jude/five-things-to-know-about-your-donation.html

Livestrong. Our History. Retrieved from, https://www.livestrong.org/who-we-are/our-history

(Video) Free Promotional Products for Your Business or Non-Profit

Sharp, A. (2018, October 29). Quad City Woman Shares Her Story After Surviving 3 Heart Attacks. Retrieved from, https://www.wqad.com/article/news/local/drone/8-in-the-air/quad-city-woman-shares-her-story-after-surviving-3-heart-attacks/526-ff12cfce-ade5-4f02-9c1d-93ecc8516357

Gauss, A. (2017, August 22). Infographic: Corporate Sponsorship 101. Retrieved from, https://www.classy.org/blog/infographic-corporate-sponsorship/

Zip Sprout. How Big Are Most Non-Profits? Retrieved from, https://zipsprout.com/how-big-are-most-non-profits/

NP Source. The Ultimate List of Charitable Giving Statistics for 2018. Retrieved from, https://nonprofitssource.com/online-giving-statistics/

Woodruff, M. (2011, December 5). People Are Much More Likely to Be ‘Charitable’ When They Get Free Goodies. Retrieved from, https://www.businessinsider.com/study-shows-people-more-likely-to-donate-blood-with-cash-incentives-2011-12

Qgiv. Fundraising Statistics: Incredible Insights to Raise More. Retrieved from, https://www.qgiv.com/blog/fundraising-statistics/

White, M. (2013, June 24). 5 Ways Companies Win By Giving Stuff Away. Retrieved from, https://business.time.com/2013/06/24/5-ways-companies-win-by-giving-stuff-away

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FAQs

Why is it important for nonprofits to utilize marketing strategies? ›

Marketing is critical to the success of nonprofits in advancing their missions. Marketing for nonprofits is a way for nonprofits to identify potential supporters, make sure supporters know about all the great work a nonprofit is doing, and give them opportunities to be involved, like volunteering or donating.

What is the best way to promote a charity? ›

5 ways to advertise your charity
  1. Use social media. According to Data Reportal [1], over half the world's population now uses social media. ...
  2. Make the most of PR and outreach ideas for charities and non-profit organisations. ...
  3. Email marketing. ...
  4. Using Google Ad Grants for Pay Per Click (PPC) ...
  5. Promoting charity events.
10 Feb 2022

Why Social Media Marketing is important for nonprofits? ›

It allows organizations with limited budgets to reach a larger audience in a fast and cost-effective way. Social media platforms allow organizations to tell their story. Messages can help engage supporters, increase brand awareness and promote fundraising initiatives.

When it comes to marketing for nonprofit organizations What obstacle must marketers overcome? ›

Overcoming Budget Constraints

Difficulties plague nonprofit marketers from all directions. Over 85 percent of those surveyed say they face challenges in reaching their marketing and engagement goals. The number one roadblock is around budgetary constraints, affecting nearly half of marketers in the US and UK.

Why is awareness important in non profits? ›

Why is Raising Brand Awareness for Nonprofit Organizations Important? Brand awareness is important for nonprofit organizations to better serve their communities, raise more money by engaging more potential donors, and establishing trust amongst the communities that they serve.

How important is it that a nonprofit should have an integrated marketing plan? ›

It creates a seamless experience for your supporters and donors by integrating all aspects of your nonprofit's marketing. Instead of marketing efforts standing alone, they work together to usher your supporters where you want them and advance your big-picture goals.

How do nonprofits attract donors? ›

Stewarding the relationships you have with current and new donors can help you build a dedicated, loyal base of supporters.
  1. Go mobile. ...
  2. Launch branded campaigns. ...
  3. Use captivating photos. ...
  4. Be transparent with prospective donors. ...
  5. Draw attention to opportunities to give. ...
  6. Use a Secure Fundraising Method. ...
  7. Use donation tiers.
22 Mar 2017

Why is direct marketing so important to charities? ›

Why should charities use direct mail? With the right messaging direct mail has the power to provoke your emotions. Messages which can reward and excite, shock or concern. Fundamentally, mail can deliver the most important benefit for your charity – driving your stakeholders to take action.

Why is promoting awareness important? ›

Public awareness is important to increase enthusiasm and support, stimulate self-mobilisation and action, and mobilise local knowledge and resources. Raising political awareness is important as policy makers and politicians are key actors in the policy process of adaptation.

Why is it important to advertise awareness campaigns? ›

Awareness campaigns are the most cost-effective strategy for identifying more engaged audiences that you can target to hone in your messaging. Read on to learn how awareness campaigns are the first step of a robust marketing strategy that will lead to better (and better quality) leads in perpetuity.

What is the importance of having awareness? ›

Being aware will give you an insight into your beliefs and whether they are positive or holding you back. If you are aware then this will give you knowledge and if you have knowledge then you know what you need to do to and the direction you need to go to make changes to improve and be successful.

What are the 3 5 most important elements of an integrated marketing campaign? ›

And we know that once a consumer trusts you, they will often make a purchase.
...
So how can you ensure you are putting together a gold-standard integrated marketing strategy?
  • Set Goals + Objectives. ...
  • Define Your Audience. ...
  • Choose Your Channels + Allocate Budget. ...
  • Create Adaptive Assets.
29 Jul 2020

What motivates people to donate to nonprofits? ›

Sara Konrath and Femida Handy identified six separate motives for giving, including trust (seeing charities properly use donations for the public good), altruism (concern or compassion for those less fortunate), social benefits (nonmonetary benefit, being part of a social network), tax benefits (monetary private ...

How do you convince people to donate? ›

Four ways in which you can convince your friends to donate to a charitable cause you support
  1. Involve them when you work to support an NGO. ...
  2. Explain the importance of giving back. ...
  3. Make it fun. ...
  4. Tell them about the tax benefits in the form of donation tax rebate. ...
  5. Conclusion.
2 Nov 2016

How do you attract people for donations? ›

Powerful Tricks To Get People To Donate
  1. Email Campaigns. An email is a powerful tool for lead capture, conversion, and relationship building. ...
  2. Text Message Campaigns. SMS can boost any campaign. ...
  3. 3. Facebook. ...
  4. LinkedIn. ...
  5. Blog. ...
  6. Press Release. ...
  7. Crowdfunding. ...
  8. Digital Incentives.

Why do nonprofits invest more in advertising? ›

Nonprofits can benefit from running advertising campaigns earlier in the year, when costs are lower, to raise awareness of their organization, attract new supporters and cultivate relationships before fundraising season hits.

What is the most effective ways to create awareness of the brand? ›

9 ways to improve brand awareness
  • Build a recognizable brand.
  • Tell a brand story.
  • Create value beyond your product.
  • Create shareable content.
  • Contribute to your community.
  • Offer a freebie.
  • Run social media contests.
  • Work with the social algorithms.
11 Aug 2022

Does promotion increase brand awareness? ›

Promotional products, on the other hand, last far longer than traditional forms of advertising. People tend to keep their promotional products longer, and this helps with increasing brand awareness and top-of-mind awareness.

Why is marketing the most important function in an organization? ›

The importance of marketing for your business is that it makes the customers aware of your products or services, engages them, and helps them make the buying decision. Furthermore, a marketing plan, a part of your business plan helps in creating and maintaining demand, relevance, reputation, competition, etc.

How the marketing goals strategies and markets for the nonprofit differ from a for profit organization? ›

The process of marketing also differs, with the biggest differing factor being that the purpose of for profit marketing is to encourage customers to buy, while the purpose of nonprofit marketing is usually to encourage people to give. This means that the return on investment differs between the two.

Do nonprofit organizations benefit from strategy formulation? ›

Strategic planning can help a nonprofit achieve its goals. A plan will assist a nonprofit as it evaluates its assets and any challenges it may encounter. A strategic plan will also define the organization's mission, goals and objectives, and will guide the nonprofit as it sets out to accomplish its purpose.

Why is promotion necessary? ›

Why Are Promotions Important? The most important purpose that a promotion serves is that it sets a business apart from its competitors. No business will ever need to run any promotions if there wasn't any competition. You have to stay ahead of your competitors in order for customers to keep doing business with you.

What is the role of promotion in marketing? ›

The aim of promotion is to increase brand awareness, create interest, generate sales or create brand loyalty. It is one of the basic elements of the market mix, which includes the four Ps, i.e., product, price, place, and promotion. Promotion is also one of the elements in the promotional mix or promotional plan.

What is the most important part of a marketing strategy? ›

The Most Important Piece of a Marketing Plan Is Your Targeted Customer. Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Knowing your target customer is the single most important job of any marketer, and it's a job that never ends.

What makes a successful nonprofit organization? ›

The nonprofit should communicate its mission clearly to all its stakeholders—board, staff, donors, volunteers, partners, and the general public—so that everyone understands its goals and works toward a common purpose. All the nonprofit's programs and operations should be aligned to advance its mission.

How can a charity Organisation make use of advertising? ›

A nonprofit can also employ institutional advertising, or a message to promote a nonprofit organization as a whole or a concept, idea, or philosophy, and that encourage people to volunteer, vote, or donate money or services.

How does a nonprofit build and benefit from a brand? ›

Fundraising and Increased Engagement

A strong nonprofit brand can help you achieve your fundraising goals by increasing visibility and generating support. A strong brand also increases engagement among supporters and donors. These are only some of the benefits a strong nonprofit brand can bring about.

How important is it for an organization to develop a strategy? ›

Strategy help us define our business, gives it a set of values, and gives it purpose. It helps us understand what success actually looks like. It provides a roadmap for our business, shows us our destination and identifies useful stopping points along the way.

What are the benefits of making strategy? ›

Strategy provides a vision of the future, confirms the purpose and values of an organization, sets objectives, clarifies threats and opportunities, determines methods to leverage strengths, and mitigate weaknesses (at a minimum). As such, it sets a framework and clear boundaries within which decisions can be made.

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