As we head into the new year, what fundraising strategies have you identified for your charity in 2020? Events, campaigns, public outreach and direct appeals may all be key facets of your fundraising strategy, but there’s an oft-overlooked, yet highly persuasive component that crosses all of these channels, and that is charitable merchandise.
As with corporates and businesses, your charity has cultivated an iconic brand and story that you share with supporters, donors, beneficiaries and the general public. Bespoke merchandise is the perfect palette to tell this story and raise greater awareness and more money for your cause. Often, the challenge for charities is simply to decide what type of merchandise will be the most effective and well-received.
Heading into 2020, we’re seeing more charities look toward planet-friendly promotional items that forge a direct connection with supporters. Here, we outline five key fundraising merchandise for the year ahead, which can serve as a roadmap for your own charitable merchandise strategy this year.
1) Eco-Friendly Options
Thankfully, more people and charities are taking a proactive approach to reduce their impact on the planet, and many private sector trends may be applicable to your charitable network. For example, one study found that half of the sales growth for consumer goods came from sustainably-marketed products. Another survey shows that two-thirds of people consider sustainability when choosing a product, and report a willingness to pay more for environmentally-friendly products. Charities and supporters alike are looking for more eco-friendly options when it comes to the products they purchase or receive.
One great option is a handy jute shopping bag. The telltale natural vegetable fibre is 100 percent biodegradable and carries a visible and positive environmental message about your charity. And, because it can be printed with your special charity logo or message, your supporters will promote awareness of your charity every time it’s proudly used. These bags would also make an ideal thank you gift for your staff or volunteers!
2) Reusable Products
Reusable products will also be a big trend this year as more people look to reduce their use of single-use plastic products. One timely and popular product is a set of reusable straws. The UK confirmed a ban on plastic straws and other utensils, beginning this year – they’re one of the top 10 items found in beach clean-ups. Leverage this move with a set of two reusable straws made from natural bamboo fibre. The straws come with a stainless steel and nylon cleaning brush, all packaged in a customisable cotton pouch. The straws would make a lovely item for your charity gift shop or as a welcome giveaway at your next event or campaign. Other top reusable products include bags for life, coffee mugs, utensils and even picnic supplies.
3) Personalised Products
Another 2020 trend is to flip the concept of personalisation on its head. Rather than designing a product that features your charity message, why not let your supporters create their own personalised products? More and more, we’re seeing that supporters seek greater personalisation options when it comes to their fundraising merchandise, whether it’s gifted or purchased.
For example, the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home sells a pesonalised Book of Everything for its dog- and cat-loving supporters. People can personalise the fun and quirky book with their own name and messages, or choose from a selection of ready-to-go quotes; £5 from each book sale goes to Battersea.
Want to add an option like this to your charity website? An easy way to pilot the personalised products trend is with picture magnets. For your charity, they’re low-cost with a quick turnaround and are easy to ship. For your recipients, personalised magnets are a fun and functional item to showcase their personal support for your cause, at home or in the office. Offering personalisable charitable merchandise, in general, might also be an effective draw to bring new supporters into your fold – just think of the gift options for the next holiday season!
4) Event Merchandise
Do you have special charity events scheduled in 2020? We predict that events will be a big trend this year as a way to build more personal, authentic relationships with donors and a greater sense of community amongst supporters. Charitable event merchandise that encourages this direct, person-to-person experience is a must, as it can help forge deeper connections and lasting impressions for life-long giving. This might be creating special gifts for charity 5K participants, hosting contests or games to win merchandise or offering limited-edition charity items that can only be purchased in person at an upcoming event.
From our popular and budget-friendly silicon wrist bands and custom running vests to branded tabards and bang bang sticks, we offer a wide range of merchandise to help you connect with your supporters, face to face.
5) Ethically Manufactured Products
Another 2020 fundraising trend is all about transparency. Offering sustainable charity merchandise is one thing. Ensuring that it’s manufactured in an ethical manner is another. As supporters look for greater transparency from the charities they support, you will need to ensure you know where, how and by whom your merchandise is made.
To meet this growing concern, be sure to partner with a company who takes ethical manufacturing seriously. Your charity must understand the challenges currently facing your supply chain and take steps to ensure ethical manufacturing and fair treatment of workers. A great place to start is with our Ethical Manufacturing Guide, which you can download for free here.
Lastly, if you’re still short on ideas, another tip is to solicit the input of your team, from your board to your leadership to your volunteers. Fundraising, after all, is not just the responsibility of your development team. Inquire with your team about what items they think will be the most effective this year. What examples have they seen from other charities or organisations? This is a great exercise not only to solicit creative ideas, but also to secure buy-in and excitement around your merchandise amongst key stakeholders.
What other trends are you seeing in fundraising merchandise? Please get in touch with us today to tap into these top trends to meet and exceed your fundraising goals in 2020.