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3 Ways to Get Your Nonprofit or Charity Noticed with Custom Logo Items

Did you know that there are over 1.5 million nonprofit organizations registered in the US? With so many worthy causes hoping to gain support from donors, it is important to get creative when amplifying your message. Here are a few tips for effective non-profit marketing:

Color run group wearing custom sunglasses
  1. Sell Some Swag – Promotional Nonprofit Merchandise for Fundraising

    Selling promotional products as a means of fundraising works twofold for your organization. Not only does your cause receive extra funds, your nonprofit merchandise also serves to get your organization’s name out there. Whatever cause your organization supports, there is a unique promotional product to spread your message. In this section, we will provide fundraising ideas and case studies that demonstrate how promotional products can work for your nonprofit.

    • Apparel: Custom apparel is one of the most popular merchandise items for nonprofits. For example, established fashion and lifestyle brand Ivory Ella donates a portion of their sales to Save the Elephants, a charity dedicated to protecting elephant populations and preserving their habitats. Since their inception in 2015, Ivory Ella has managed to donate over $1.7 million to the cause, and they’re not slowing down. Their company is proof that branded apparel can have a big monetary impact on a nonprofit while also allowing consumers to represent the causes they care about. Try using t-shirts as a donation incentive.
      Save the elephants campaign design

      Image courtesy of Ivory Ella

    • Bracelets: Promotional or fashion bracelets have quickly become a staple for nonprofit organizations. Wristlets are a great way to promote a new campaign or fundraiser. It is a simple way for people to show off and support their favorite causes. The Human Rights Campaign sells higher-end fashion jewelry as well as lower-cost campaign wristbands. Each purchase from their store supports their cause. Offering a low-cost option in your fundraising efforts allows even supporters with modest incomes to engage with your cause. Awareness wristlets are perfect for this.
      Color run group wearing custom sunglasses

      Image courtesy of Human Rights Campaign

    • Tech: Imprinted tech items and accessories have proven to be an effective solution for nonprofits, as these sought-after products are used for most people every day. In fact, our first and second best-selling items, PopSockets® and Silicone Tech Pockets, both fall under this category. Charitable brand, (RED), partners with many popular brands to create products that either feature the logo or are inspired by (RED). Each product sold benefits AIDs awareness and prevention organizations. One of the most recognizable products featuring (RED) branding is the EMPOW(RED) power stations. By partnering with higher-end tech companies, (RED) has been able to make a name for their brand and, in turn, their cause. Luckily, you can do the same at just a fraction of the cost. Try getting your logo imprinted on one of our chargers or power banks.
      Metallic popsockets
      Black mophie power bank travel charger

      Image courtesy of Human Rights Campaign

    • Bags: While useful, custom bags are also a great way to promote your nonprofit and further your cause. FEED does just that by selling products that directly result in meals for in-need children upon purchase. Their flagship product, the Feed 1 Bag, is a tote that provides an underprivileged student school meals for a year. Leave a mark on your cause in the same way by using environmentally friendly promotional totes or reusable grocery bags to raise funds and show you care.
      School meals campaign tote bag

      Image courtesy of (Feed)

    • Pet Products: If your organization supports animal rights, then pet products are just the thing to help raise awareness for your cause while also directly supporting a furry friend in your community. One of our lines of pet products gives a portion of its sales to K9s for Warriors, a nonprofit dedicated to providing service canines to members of the military who are suffering from trauma or disability as result of post-9/11 military service.

      Using one of these neat, customizable pet products to help your own organization has the potential to elevate your awareness efforts to the next level.

      School meals campaign tote bag
  2. Organize or Participate in an Awareness Raising Event

    Get involved with your community by sponsoring or hosting an event relevant to your cause. Events are a great outreach opportunity and can allow your group to make valuable connections with other nonprofits in your area. This section will outline a few ideas that you can implement or get involved in to raise awareness about your own organization.

    • Sponsor a Fun Run or Charity Walk

      Although charity walks are rising in popularity, they are not exactly cost-effective for nonprofit groups. Hosting a walk or run often requires closing a road, security, human capital to help with organizing the event, marketing the event, additional fundraising efforts, and registration. Becoming a sponsor is a great way to give back to an organization that needs it. It is also a great way to get your business involved with the community and spread awareness about what you do. You can sponsor an event monetarily or some organizations even accept in-kind donations of giveaways or other supplies. The great part about donating these kinds of goods is that there is always room to include your logo along with the organization that you are helping. Handing out the goods yourself also allows for extra face time with potential supporters. Below are a few ideas to think about when sponsoring a charity marathon.

      • Volunteer to Provide the T-Shirts

        No matter the type of event, the organizer is bound to offer t-shirts to participants in one way or another. Take advantage of the opportunity to sponsor these essential fun run giveaways for the event. Not only will you be helping in a big way, but you’ll also ensure that your logo will be worn around for years to come.

        pink tie-dye breast cancer awareness t-shirt
      • Become a Hydration Station

        Another great way to sponsor any type of charity athletic event is to make your booth into a hydration station for participants. Set up a table filled with personalized recyclable water bottles that participants can grab and go. Alternatively, you can customize a fun reusable water bottle that participants can keep and refill at your booth whenever they run out of water. This is a great way to safeguard everyone’s health and ensures that people continue to return to your booth throughout the event. The runners and event staff will surely appreciate these charity promotional items.

        green water bottle
      • Bring the Shade

        A staple at any sort of outdoor event, they are the thing that participants always forget, but vendors always seem to have on hand — sunglasses. Especially if the event takes place during the warmer months, these are a great giveaway to sponsor. You could also provide sunscreen and other UV safety products to become the official “sun safety stand” at the event. Participants will be flocking your booth in no time.

        White and blue retro sunglasses
      • Supply a Storage Solution

        One negative about jogging clothes is that they don't have pockets. This leaves runners struggling to find somewhere to keep their belongings while they finish the marathon. Fix this issue yourself by offering to have your organization supply custom waist packs. These are great, hands-free promotional items for runners, and will be a unique way to get your cause noticed.

        Orange waist pack
      • Lighten Up the Event

        Themed marathon events are becoming increasingly prominent within the charity event landscape. From Insane Inflatable, to color runs, to marathons where you jog through bubbles, fun runs are a great opportunity for professionals and novices alike to enjoy themselves while also supporting a cause they care about. Other types of non-traditional marathons that have been appearing more lately are glow, dark, and blacklight runs. What do these all have in common? They happen after dark, of course! Give the gift of light by volunteering to provide the lights that the event organizers will undoubtedly want to put in post-registration goodie bags. Things like shoe lights, glow sticks, flashlights, face paint, and hair chalk make great giveaways for these types of events. Check out our selection of other giveaways available in neon colors to ensure that whatever you sponsor for the event stays on theme.

        Blue LED flashlight glow stick
      • Take Part In a Community Event

        Perhaps the best way to find supporters for your organization is to go out into your municipality and talk with community members face-to-face the old-fashioned way. Tabling at an event can take a bit of extra planning and resources on your part, but it is well worth it for the feedback you get in return. Here, we offer a few events where you might be able to present your cause in your own community.

      • Health Fairs

        Health fairs are outreach events that offer a variety of information on medical topics, basic health screenings, and other fun activities to get people thinking about health, wellness, and fitness in all aspects of their lives. In that way, health fairs are events that could welcome just about any charity organization, not just those directly related to health and wellness. Tabling at an event like this is beneficial to you because it takes place while people are already thinking about bettering themselves. What better way to do so than by supporting a charitable cause? Ready your display set up, find a first aid item to give away, and find out when the next health fair is near you.

      • Farmers Markets, Flea Markets, and Festivals

        Many communities host farmers markets, flea markets, or annual festivals where local vendors can go and sell their products. It’s a great way for small businesses to get noticed by patrons. Some markets and festivals will allow organizations to table there. Contact your local market or festival organizers to see if their policies would allow you to present. If so, prepare some freebies for patrons to take after learning about your organization. A custom tote bag with your organization’s name and logo design is an ideal choice at this type of venue. You could even allow them to spin a prize wheel for an extra bit of fun. Also, make sure your table looks nice with custom table covers and signs that could catch anyone’s eye.

        Customized cotton tote bag
      • Guest Speaker

        Why not have community members come to you instead? If you have connections within your cause, you could invite someone with a lot of knowledge to come to your community and speak. Publicize your event in all the local newspapers, radio broadcasts, and on all your social media platforms. This way, you know that all the people who attend are already interested in your cause. Whether you choose to charge admission to the event is up to you, but providing notebooks and pens for attendees to take notes with is a kind gesture that will remind everyone that you sponsored the event, long after it is over.

        Blue eco-friendly notebook and pen set
      • Documentary Screening

        Screening a documentary about your cause is another cost-effective way to promote your organization. Providing an outlet for interested community members to discuss your mission is as easy as choosing a film to show and getting the word out about your event. Make tasty snacks available to ensure a nice atmosphere where everyone feels comfortable.

      • Happy Hours

        Reach out to local bars or pubs to see if they would be willing to help you host a happy hour. Some bars will periodically allow customers to extend their happy hour deals if they donate to a charity. Others will allow a portion of proceeds from an event to go toward a nonprofit. Contact bars and pubs in your area to find out if there is a way for you to get involved in their happy hour festivities. Make it extra special for patrons by providing customized barware, water bottles, or t-shirts for them to take home.

        Pint glass
  3. Promote in the Media

    When you think of ways to promote an organization or message, harnessing the power of the media immediately comes to mind. This is the best and cheapest way to get people outside of your community to notice your organization. In the final section of this article, we will offer some suggestions of how you can utilize the media to get your organization’s name out there.

    • Social Media

      Social media platforms, especially Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are ideal for promoting your cause and keeping people engaged with updates, blog posts, event photos, questionnaires, and videos. Below are some insider tips and tricks for how you can use social media to its full potential for fundraising and promoting.

      • Facebook

        Facebook offers a wide range of features that make it easy for nonprofits and charities to fundraise and engage with supporters. Perhaps the most exciting feature is the opportunity to join a growing pool of organizations eligible to use Facebook’s fundraising tools. These allow you and your supporters to use Facebook to directly fundraise and donate to your cause. To learn more about eligibility and how to apply for this privilege, consult Facebook’s help page and sign up here.

      • Twitter

        Hashtags, a common social media tool, gained notoriety through their implementation on Twitter. For over a decade, Twitter has allowed users from around the world to engage in discussions over just about any topic using hashtags. In order to get your tweets noticed by as many people as possible, always add hashtags when possible. Whether it’s your own original hashtag or one made for a specific event or day surrounding your cause, hashtags are one of the best ways to connect and interact with others who care about your organization. Don’t forget to follow @Nonprofits and @TwitterForGood to keep up to date on how other nonprofits and social movements are using Twitter to their advantage.

      • Instagram

        Aside from allowing users to post photos and videos to a diverse population of users around the world, Instagram also makes it easy to share what your organization is doing at your home base. Like popular messaging app, Snapchat, Instagram features the ability to post “stories.” These are a series of photos or short videos that users can view by tapping on your icon. Stories are useful because they let you engage with your followers much quicker than with a typical Instagram post. You can even use the polling system or embed a “swipe up” link into Instagram stories to let your supporters interact with your story. Learn more about how to use Instagram stories on their help page.

      • Trends and Challenges

        In 2014, the ALS Association, a nonprofit dedicated to raising awareness and funds for the prevention of Lou Gehrig’s disease, benefited greatly from the widespread trend, the ice bucket challenge. The challenge involved people dumping a bucket of ice water on themselves before nominating others to do the same. The most commonly held rule was that if the nominee failed to take on the challenge within 24 hours, they would have to donate to the ALS Association. Using this model, the ALSA was able to raise over $115 million toward ALS research. This is a large-scale example of the benefit of staying on top of trends happening online. Whether your office takes on a challenge, starts a new trend, or posts about a popular TV show, knowing what everyone is talking about can make it substantially easier to get your posts, and your organization, noticed.

    • Press Releases

      Simply put, press releases are a brief written about an event or special occurrence within your organization. This document can then be submitted to news organizations and publications where they might consider making a piece based on the information. If you’re just getting started or have a big event coming up, press releases are the most convenient way to get your foot in the door.

    • Cause-Specific Publications

      Consider subscribing to or buying a copy of the Writer’s Market. They feature a complete listing of publications looking for freelance writing. This makes it easier to find publications that directly relate to your cause. If you have a good writer in your midst, have them submit a query letter to a publication requesting to write a piece about your organization. If not, try finding a freelance writer that would be willing to take on the project. This is a great way to ensure that readers are passionate about your cause, making them more likely to support your organization specifically.

To learn more about how organizations are using promotional products to spread awareness about social causes, check out this article from our Promotional Products in the Wild series.