So You Want to Put On a Fundraiser
Custom T-shirts are a great way to bring in money for your organization. When you boost fundraising with custom T-shirts you gain a host of benefits you might not have considered. You want to quickly raise money and then devote the majority of your time to achieving your organization’s mission, custom T-shirts can help you do both.
Key uses of custom T-shirts:
- Sell to raise funds
- Promote a cause
- Promote an event
- Raise awareness about your organization and the issues it supports
Nearly any organization can benefit from custom T-shirts for fundraising efforts.
Who can benefit:
- Athletic departments
- Athletic booster clubs
- Charity events
If you run a nonprofit or are athletic director or involved with boosters for an athletic department in need of subsidizing unmet school sports costs, you know that fundraising is an important part of your job, a non-negotiable. However, instead of being overwhelmed because it’s fundraising time, why not embrace it?
First, define your goal for the T-shirt fundraising initiative. Be specific and write it down. Break down the large goal into smaller chunks that will lead to fulfilling your ultimate goal.
Make sure to decide on a timeline as well. If you’re like most people, procrastination can come in the way of finishing and accomplishing what you set out to do. Make sure the timeline is realistic as well. You want to push yourself, but you don’t want to get frustrated.
Finally, look back at what you set out to do and reflect on it for your next fundraiser. You will learn something new every time.
Determine Your Target Market
Keep up with your target market’s current tastes. Especially if your target market is young, they can be fickle about style. Consider demographics such as:
Research to find out your target market’s other tastes so you can cater to what they are apt to like. For instance, if your audience is mostly women, consider adding tank tops as an option. Or consider the cost of the wholesale shirts if your customer is younger with less disposable income. You should always think about the season. If you are in a region that experiences long winters, you might choose a T-shirt that’s thicker, or possibly even long sleeve garments. On the other hand, if the T-shirt is going to be worn at a charity racing event, you might select a thinner, synthetic fabric.
People are willing to pay for something special. So make your custom T-shirts something your potential buyers don’t have in their wardrobes, but would want to have. Customers are more likely to make a purchase if they don’t already have three T-shirts in the same color. In addition, if they’re looking for a shirt of a certain color to wear that day they won’t overlook yours, costing you brand exposure.
Do temper your creativity though; don’t get too crazy. You may want people to actually wear these shirts in public beyond the charity event or outside of baseball practice to increase brand exposure. However, even if people are sympathetic to your cause, they likely won’t buy the shirt if they don’t want to wear it!
Tell (and sell) a story
People love stories. Most people don’t buy things based on facts, but rather on an emotional feeling the advertiser is selling. This approach seems to be especially effective when a purchase is a want versus need.
Though raising funds is the goal, you want people to connect with and remember your cause. People remember stories. Look at other campaigns that have been successful and ask: Why they worked? How did they tell their story? How can you tie-in your design to convey your story?
T-shirts help people feel a connection with your cause. They are literally wearing it – and advertising it. The shirt connects them physically with the idea or cause. They’ve committed to it.
Custom T-shirts can also take on symbolic meaning. At the Tour de France a yellow or polka dot shirt isn’t just a yellow shirt or a shirt with a pattern; the shirt is transformed to symbolize winning and the sacrifice and dedication that led up to it. Further, pastel pink is immediately associated with the Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s efforts to fight breast cancer. Creating symbolic meaning takes time and effort, which begins with a design that captivates.
Lastly, T-shirts produced specifically for fundraising make people feel a sense of community with others wearing the T-shirts. They will wear your garments as a badge of honor so make them great in doing so.
People love giving to good causes. Incentives make it even better! While the cost of custom T-shirts must be subtracted from the amount donated, adding T-shirts into the equation carries a lot of advantages.
You raise your organization’s visibility. A donor purchases a shirt and then other potential donors see it and ask about it, and the message spreads. A conversation is started. Or, donors post selfies on social media, such as Facebook or Instagram, and people see it and then Google it to find information about the cause.
Some people, though they probably wouldn’t admit it, like to show others that they are charitable. A T-shirt provides them an opportunity to accomplish this! In one study, offering to publish names of donors in a newsletter if they donated a certain amount increased the likelihood of donations by 24.5% and increased the amount given by almost 14%.
This suggests that an incentive such as a custom T-shirt will likely encourage people to donate more. Say they were going to donate $20 but a shirt is $30. You’ve just raised a contribution by 50% (less the expense of the shirt)!
Consider your margins
Don’t lose sight of your primary goal: profiting from the sale to raise funds. Make sure you consider the cost of each shirt, including the cost of screen printing or other applications, when you determine the price you will charge to consumers.
Deliver on the goods!
At T.R. McTaggart, we have myriad styles and colors so you can be as specific as you want when designing how your product(s) will look. Our custom T-shirts are also high quality, so customers are always satisfied. This also means the T-shirts last a long time, extending the life of the T-shirts’ promotional value for your organization.
The approach to marketing that will be most effective for your nonprofit can be unpredictable, but do as much research as you can to make an educated guess about the best strategy to pursue.
One option to boost fundraising with custom T-shirts is creating a Facebook ad aimed at your target demographic. Post it on your website and social media pages even consider purchasing an ad in a local newspaper or magazine to reach readers who may be interested in your cause. Consider organizing an event such as a fun run or golf outing. Through these, you engage the community and have an opportunity for publicity. A press release to your local newspaper to get earned media wouldn’t hurt either.
Be sure to pay attention to the medium you’re communicating through. Sending emails to potential donors is something you should do, but if you’re trying to reach potential donors on social media it is better to engage in a dialogue. Don’t just cut and paste your email blast. Ask your followers on Facebook to post your message on their wall or share it with their friends. Not only is this strategy more effective in raising money, it spreads the word about your organization along the way.
Consider reaching out beyond your usual base support. It is best to use multiple approaches to reach multiple audiences.
If you are able to do so, another factor that entices people to donate is getting a well-known person to either donate to your nonprofit – or possibly provide a PSA in support of. This increases the chances that someone will donate by 22%. If you get a big name to sponsor you, make sure others are aware! People are busy and there are a lot of charities. A famous name makes people assume their job is easier – they don’t need to research the charity closely because it’s already been evaluated as a worthy organization. If you can get the celebrity to wear your custom T-shirt in public, exposure will skyrocket, and so will sales!
Get out the word!
There are numerous ways to approach your campaign and feature your custom T-shirt.
- Promote on your Facebook page
- Find similar groups on Facebook
- Connect with groups on LinkedIn
- Advertise your message on Twitter
- Attend local events
- Organize a local event
Be proactive about your marketing campaign. If you aren’t sure how to go about this, enlist someone who can help.
Reach out to like-minded groups
Are groups and organizations with similar missions aware of your campaign? Consider teaming up and cross-promoting with them. By helping each other out, you can both increase your base of support.
T.R. McTaggart provides custom T-shirts
At T.R. McTaggart, we create custom T-shirts using your design or we can create unique designs to help you promote your brand and achieve your organization’s goals. Our expertise in designing and providing custom T-shirts has come from 40 years of experience. T.R. McTaggart creates custom T-shirts using screen printing, embroidery, or dye sublimation. We will work with you to make sure you have the colors, styles, and most importantly that your message gets across effectively. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us!
Custom T-shirt online store
We also offer a free online store that can be created for custom T-shirt sales.
Setting up a custom store also has the benefit of meeting demand and not over or under estimating that demand.
Custom online store advantages include avoiding:
- Up-front costs
- Worry about collecting and keeping track of money
- Dealing with shipping and handling
- Keeping inventory
- Logistics of distribution
We look forward to working with you on your custom T-shirts!