Successful fundraising for nonprofits often involves the use of promotional products.

Nonprofit organizations have used printed fundraising and awareness items for decades to spread their message. Why? Mainly because the cost is low and the results are proven.

To be effective, nonprofits must be frugal with their funds to keep charitable programs alive. It doesn’t make sense to spend more money than necessary when you have an important cause to support.

Nonprofits work hard in our communities and operating budgets can quickly dwindle. It costs money to build relationships with donors, rent office spaces, organize events and promote awareness.

Custom-printed promo items have historically been excellent tools for helping nonprofits share their story, gather support and reach more people.

Let’s take a look at the average cost and best practices for marketing a nonprofit organization. I’ll also help you decide which types of merchandise is best to sell for fundraisers or use as promotional giveaways.

What do nonprofits spend on marketing?

On average, nonprofit organizations spend about .5 percent of their entire budget on marketing costs. It’s not a lot but advertising expenses must remain low in order to maintain adequate funds for programs and services.

The amount of money each charitable organization spends on marketing will differ, depending on its goals. Like most corporations, nonprofits typically have board members or trustees who decide how much money should be spent to achieve those goals.

Staying within a budget — especially in today’s economic climate — requires low-cost marketing ideas for nonprofits. Events such as bake sales might be easy to organize as fundraisers, but they typically don’t bring long-term awareness to a cause.

This is where customized promotional products come in. According to PPAI research, 61 percent of people would seek information about your nonprofit if they received a promo product from you. Getting potential donors and volunteers interested in your organization is the first step to success!

Best fundraising products for nonprofits

custom koozies for a food bank in various colors of blue

Totally Promotional offers a wide range of affordable fundraising and giveaway items. We have plenty of Products Under $1 that can be customized with your nonprofit’s logo, unique design or awareness message. We also have plenty of promotional products sale items to keep you on budget.

Take a look at the top fundraising items for nonprofits:

These personalized items can be used as giveaways, donor gifts and branded items to sell. They are very affordable when ordered in bulk. Each product is also practical, easy to transport and popular with people of all ages.

How nonprofits can use fundraising merchandise

woman holding a customized heart stress ball

You’ll find many ways to use custom-printed fundraising items. Since each charitable organization is unique, I can’t list every fundraising idea for nonprofits. But here are a few suggestions to consider when using promotional products:

  • Include customized T-shirts in participation packets for runners/walkers at 5K fundraising events.
  • Hand out Droplet Stress Balls to donors at local blood drives. (Tip: Squeezing these while giving blood can help the flow.)
  • Distribute personalized drawstring bags printed with an inspirational message to breast cancer survivors during a night-out celebration.
  • Sell custom hats with your logo at Special Olympics or other sporting events that raise money for clients with special needs.
  • Give customized bumper stickers to drivers who donate to your car wash fundraiser.

Why raise funds for nonprofits with promo items?

Getting the most bang for your buck is essential for any business. But for nonprofit organizations it’s even more crucial. Most have limited budgets, so every penny counts when weighing revenue and expenses.

Besides keeping marketing costs low to net greater revenue, promo items for nonprofits bring these benefits:

  • Brand recognition. Exposing your organization’s name and logo to big audiences helps people remember you and the good things you do. About 89 percent of consumers remember an organization that gives them a promotional item.
  • Trust. Potential donors are more likely to trust and lend support to a cause or campaign when they are familiar with the brand.
  • Create new relationships. Swag helps expand your target audience: 63 percent of consumers pass down personalized promotional items to others.
  • Generate gratitude and goodwill. Handing someone a free item makes them feel grateful and paints a positive image of your organization.

To sum it up …

various promotional items with a give thanks imprint

Raising visibility and support can be a difficult task for many nonprofit organizations, but it is an important one. Investing in promotional products can provide a big payoff.

Practical items like reusable tote bags and pens are budget-friendly and can grab attention while sending a message about your organization’s values. Unique and branded swag that donors will use often can help boost awareness of your mission and values.

Nonprofit swag can turn every fundraising event into a marketing opportunity and significantly improve the quality of engagement.

Collaborating with Totally Promotional’s experts who understand the needs and objectives of nonprofits can help achieve your goals. Shop our fundraising items to kick off your next event!

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prep for the season with cozy sweatshirts for your team

Shelley Grieshop is a former newspaper journalist who earned more than a dozen Associated Press awards for her in-depth research and writing skills. In May 2016, she joined Totally Promotional as a creative writer. She currently writes company blogs about branding, marketing, logos, wedding planning and much more. One of her life goals is to teach people when to use hyphens and apostrophes.

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