When you’re a non-profit, one of the hardest challenges you have to overcome is getting donations when what you have to “sell” is nothing more than an idea. So, here’s how to use promotional products to increase awareness and donations.
Use Promotional Materials To Raise Awareness
Promotional materials, like custom playing cards, bracelets, pens, and shirts, are all designed to raise awareness in various contexts. In order for your giveaway or promotional product to be successful, it has to raise awareness.
To raise awareness, it has to be used. Therefore, it has to be relevant to your target market. If you’re a game shop, for example, the cards are a great idea. If you’re selling pots and pans? Not so much.
But, for a non-profit, these types of promotional products can be used simply to raise awareness about your cause. The playing cards could be printed with your charity’s name on it, for example.
Use Water Bottles and Bags
Water bottles and bags are becoming more popular as promotional products because:
- They’re designed to be with the prospect all the time and;
- They’re reusable
When a prospect goes out on a hike, he might take your backpack or carry-all with him. That’s free advertising, but it’s also brand awareness. He or she is getting used to seeing your name.
If you approach him through direct mail or online for a donation, there’s less resistance since he’s already been exposed to your promotional stuff.
Water bottles are especially nice because everyone is looking for ways to live a healthier lifestyle. Give away a nice water bottle filter and you just earned yourself a donation the next time you ask for one.
The Susan G. Komen organization is the master of marketing when it comes to breast cancer awareness. From shirts to bracelets to pins, that classic pink color is embossed and dyed onto and into almost anything.
The organization’s website even has an online “store” where you can buy merchandise to help support cancer research. Regardless of what you think about the organization (they’ve been implicated in several scandals), they have excellent marketing and they use promotional products very well to spread their message.
Be careful about selling things when you’re a non-profit. If you look too much like a t-shirt company or a pen company or a company that sells outdoor apparel, then you might be seen as a for-profit organization that just so happens to take donations.
The promotional material has to be incidental to your organization’s mission. In other words, use it as a vehicle to get donations and don’t get too carried away with variety or “selling” the promotional products.
Pens are the universal promotional product. Almost every industry has used them at some point. The trick to getting them to work is to offer a high-quality pen.
Most businesses cheap out on the pen and then wonder why it didn’t bring in sales. Even free stuff needs to be quality. If you’re giving away a free pen that doesn’t write, or explodes on its second use, you’re not doing people any favors.
You need to give away a pen that people want to use – one that they reach for whenever they need to write something. That way, they’re constantly picking up your pen and seeing your organization’s name.
The pen should be durable, non-smudging, and comfortable to use. Give away a pen that you would be proud to sell.
Teresa Baker has held a number of management positions within public service organizations. She always relishes the opportunity to write about her experiences online in the belief that it may help others to understand certain issues more clearly. You can find a number of previous articles written by her that have been posted on a diverse range of sites.
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