How can merchandise help charities and non-profit organisations achieve their objectives?

Promotional products are a cost-effective way of marketing for non-profit organisations and charities.

Why? Because merchandise can be incredibly versatile and used for achieving different objectives. Plus it’s a great way of achieving huge results with a small budget.

Charity merchandise can be used for retaining donor loyalty as well as fundraising, raising awareness, and engaging with stakeholders at events.

In this blog, we explore how branding goodies and other promotional merchandise items can help achieve core charity marketing objectives, which promo items we’d recommend, and how to measure results.

Fun Rub for Breast Cancer Selfie

Promotional products for increasing fundraising activity

A common charity marketing objective may be to increase the number of donations made through fundraising by a certain percentage.

In 2017 alone, around 40% of charity donations were made by people purchasing branded charity merchandise.

Think about it – how many times have you been into a shop and seen charity campaign ribbons, charity wristbands, or even a little metal clutch pin by the counter and have purchased one?

charity wristbands

Let’s just say it’s a £2 donation, 20 people buy one a day, the shop is open seven days a week – that’s £280 a week just from one shop. Now, imagine if you roll that out across 100 stores nationwide?

A lot of charities also have online shops which they use to sell merchandise and other branded items so anyone can help support them. Charities such as Teenage Cancer Trust also use their online stores to sell event merchandise, for example when Kasabian performed for them at the Royal Albert Hall, helping the event attendees to commemorate that moment forever.

A top tip for maximising return on fundraising merchandise is to choose a product people will either wear or use every day. For example, branded tote bags printed with your charity logo, hashtag or campaign message, promotional wristbands, and support badges, or even reusable water bottles. The purchasing of these items will contribute to your fundraising, but also raise awareness of your cause every time they’re seen – which could be between a hundred to thousands of times. Promotional t-shirts, baseball caps and even beachballs with an eye-catching design or message are also extremely popular, especially for selling online and in retail stores.

Malrey with JW3 Hat and Beach Ball

Using merchandise to retain donor loyalty

Building and maintaining relationships with big shot donors, such as businesses and entrepreneurs, is crucial to sustaining frequent, high-value donations.

Genuinely, the main thing donors want from a charity or non-profit organisation is a thank you. Ideally, that thank you should be personalised, not a generic blanket email or letter, and it should demonstrate how their large contribution has or will help the cause.

Did you know that around 13% of donors pull out because they didn’t receive any gratitude? That may not seem like a lot, however, if your organisation receives £1m from listed donor companies and individuals and you lose 13%, that’s £130,000 gone.

Branded promotional items can be a perfect solution for this by acting as a reward and helping to retain donor loyalty – especially as 79% of promotional gift recipients say that they feel appreciated.

Corporate gifts can be personalised with the donor’s name or company and given to them as a token of appreciation. There are so many creative and cost-effective charity merchandise options that won’t take up much room of your budget.

For example, a beautiful notebook with the organisation’s logo on the cover and printed with the donor’s name – you can get a beneficiary to write a thank you note on the first page for a sentimental touch. Or a beneficiary could record a message, which could be uploaded onto a memory card and inserted in a promotional speaker – so when the donor turns the speaker on, they can hear the message and that it’s personalised to them.

Keep a record of which donors you have sent these personalised gifts to, and over time you should find the retention rate increasing.

Merchandise with social media to increase engagement at charity events

Whether your organisation is hosting your own event, such as an open day, a fundraiser, or a sporting event, promotional products are a great way of engaging with attendees before, during, and after the event.

A great way to spark engagement about your charity event is to take advantage of social media. Decide upon a designated hashtag for the event and ensure there’s merchandise printed with it across the entire event – so if someone wants to know what hashtag to include in their tweet, it’s right in front of them. This can be anything from promotional balloons in your logo colours, to branded t-shirts worn by staff.

Hosting a sporting event fundraiser? Make some noise with bang-bang sticks printed with your logo, or give participants a reusable water bottle which they’ll keep using again and again. These products will be sure to find their way onto social media, accompanied by your event hashtag.

You can then measure your engagement by searching your hashtag across all social media channels – perhaps you can even have a live stream of the hashtag projected on a screen at the event itself.

If an external company is hosting a fundraising event for you, use it as an opportunity to get your campaign message out there by sending the company a merchandise pack. This could include printed balloons, banners, and some promotional badges that can be used on the night. Items such as promotional phone chargers and branded powerbanks also make great prizes for raffles, because they’re items people will use every day and engage with.

Here at GB Merchandise, we have over 20 years’ experience helping charities and non-profit organisations to maximise their marketing with promotional products.

We work closely with your team to understand your objectives and provide creative solutions to help you achieve them, offering value for money, and fitting within any budget.

So if you’re looking to increase your fundraising, encourage and retain donor loyalty, and engage with stakeholders at your charity events, get in touch and we’ll be happy to help!Call 020 3818 0270, or email We look forward to hearing from you.

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