Promotional products have been around for a long time. And they’re becoming ever more prevalent and desired. 80% of us have at least one promotional product, and over half will use that item at least once per week. Promo is a sure-fire way to enhance marketing strategy, helping nonprofits to achieve goals and generate more fundraising dollars.
4 Reasons Promo Benefits Nonprofits
1) Increase Brand Awareness
A major function of promotional products is to make prospective donors aware of your brand. Any item with your logo or message printed on it is a chance to increase awareness and recognition of your nonprofit’s brand and mission. High-visibility items like bags, apparel, or bumper stickers allow your donors to show their support for your organization. At the same time, individuals who aren’t associated with your nonprofit may begin to see your brand more frequently, inspiring them to learn more about your mission.
2) Generate Revenue
Promotional products make effective and attractive giveaways. They are also a potential source of revenue for your organization. If your nonprofit has a popular motif or tagline, you can sell items to individuals who are passionate about your mission and want to represent you in their day to day activities.
Sometimes it may be appropriate to incorporate promotional items into the gifting process. For instance, you can set up a tier of gifting, so that each donor who gives up to a certain amount receives a certain item, like a mug. From there, donors who give up to the next tier receive a larger item, like a shirt. Many of your donors may choose to give regardless. However, the promo item gives a further incentive to do so while thanking them with a nice gift they can use to further promote your brand.
4) Recognize and Thank Donors
Your donors give because your organization has special meaning for them. They’re the lifeblood of your nonprofit, making it possible for you to continue your good work and further your mission. You can use promotional products to show your appreciation for your donors and recognize the importance of their contribution. Via direct mail, you can send your top donors a thank you gift, like a stainless-steel tumbler or a fleece jacket. Include a handwritten note to make it extra personal, or explore variable data printing to customize the item with the donor’s name.
A study by ASI, the Advertising Specialty Institute, found that the average cost per impression for a TV advertisement was 2.5 cents. In contrast, the average cost per impression for promotional products was just 0.7 cents. The financial benefits of promotional products are clear. But there are a few things you should consider before investing in promo for your nonprofit.
First, ask yourself why you are using promo. What are your goals? As with any marketing strategy, to understand the effectiveness of using promotional products, it’s essential to know where you are starting and where you hope to be.
Also, does the promo item match your mission? Is it aligned with your brand? You’ll want to use the same logo and color scheme currently associated with your nonprofit. That way, there is a clear relationship between the item and your organization.
And, ensure that the product will be useful for your specific audience and speak to their needs. Items that work well for one demographic may not be ideal or make sense for another group.
Promotional products are a marketing tool, and like any marketing device, they reflect your brand. This not only refers to the content you imprint on the items, but also the items themselves. It can be tempting to order a high quantity of an inexpensive promotional item, and there are several economical options available. However, just remember that any item you put out there branded with your logo reflects your brand as a whole. If you’re promoting your organization with an item that is flimsy or the decoration does not hold up, potential leads will associate that with your nonprofit’s abilities, even if you’re doing good work. How your organization is perceived—even subconsciously—is the foundation for all you do.
6 Nonprofit Promo Ideas
Need some ideas for your nonprofit’s next promo campaign? Check out these 6:
It’s estimated that promotional bags generate an average of nearly 6,000 impressions during their lifetime. That’s more than any other promo product. With eco-friendly alternatives being popular and sought after, branded reusable bags are a solid choice to give to donors. They’re an inexpensive option that’s sure to be used and seen.
Shirts, jackets, vests, hats, socks…the list of apparel items available for branding with your logo is nearly endless. Like bags, clothing items are highly visible. Branded t-shirts make great giveaways, and nicer jackets are perfect as thank you gifts for top donors.
It’s always important to know your audience. Promo is no exception. If you know that many of your donors work in a corporate setting, desk items can be a way to create promo donors will see and use every day. Popular items include, journals, padfolios, mousepads, water bottles, and tech gear, like phone stands and power banks.
Water bottles are useful in the office and on the trail. Drinkware, like water bottles, thermoses, tumblers, and insulated mugs are ideal promotional items. They’re functional in a variety of settings, and they travel with you. Whether your donors are going on a hike or heading into a meeting, they can carry your branded drinkware with them.
If your organization is hosting or attending events regularly, having promotional items to give away is an effective lead generation tool. Depending on your audience, your items may differ. Some popular choices include pens, key chains, note pads, lip balms, and stress balls.
While your giveaways may be high quantity and low priced, the promo market also includes higher quality items that you can reserve for special donors or board members. When you want to say thank you in a special way, look to gift sets, ball point pens, embroidered jackets, or a debossed journal.
Wear Your Mission on Your Sleeve… Literally
Apparel is often used in a nonprofit context to outfit volunteers working on your behalf, as staff clothing or donor gifts, and to sell at events and on your website. When it comes to adding branded apparel to an organization’s marketing mix, a thoughtful approach to the personal side of apparel and how you decorate your shirts, hats, scarves, etc. is an opportunity to make a lasting visual impression.
Our preferences in what we wear is a very personal choice. When considering an investment in branded apparel, metaphorically try taking your organizational hat off and putting your personal hat on. Ask yourself, what would I want to wear if I was given a shirt or hat from this organization?
Having your logo on a garment means something different to you, as a staff member of your organization, than it does to a donor, volunteer, or consumer. To you, it’s a uniform of sorts; you ARE the logo on the shirt. And while a donor, volunteer, and consumer may relate similarly to wearing your organization’s logo, there is still a fine distinction between you and them about the meaning of wearing your brand.
So what to do? Consider adding your slogan, tag line, or value proposition statement to the garment. Doing so bridges the gap between staff and constituent with a common theme that starts conversations and elicits emotion and identity for your cause. Doing so puts the emphasis on the statement more than the organization. Your statement is the “why” people identify with your organization, volunteer, and give money.
It also helps to keep the statement or slogan short and sweet. Humor or levity help when it’s appropriate. Applying a unique artistic branding element to the slogan helps build awareness and alignment for when it’s used in various ways and mediums. Bold creative can work, but big and gaudy may not depending on the demographics of your constituency.
At the end of the day, if you’re spending hard-earned money on apparel, think it through and design it so people will actually wear it… and wear it happily.
Promotional products can be a major way to increase fundraising dollars and make more potential donors aware of your brand. If you want to make promo a part of your campaigns, Paw Print can help! Explore our online catalog, or give us a call at 865-2872 to start the conversation.