Gifts. Swag. Merch. From school kids raising money for athletics to political candidates on the campaign trail to established nonprofit “stores”, selling or giving away items is a common method of fundraising that has proven effective time and time again… When it’s done right anyway.
So what does that mean, “to do it right”? We’ll explore the answer to that question in today’s post—providing examples of successful product designs we created for a presidential campaign, and sharing a few tips to help you get it right.
2 Key Benefits of Fundraising Via Product Sales
There are two major benefits of using merchandise as a fundraising tool. While the first one is fairly obvious, the second one is often overlooked—and potentially more valuable in the long run.
- It’s a good way to raise money. Sure, giving is a reward in itself. But who doesn’t like to get a little something in return? Product fundraising can be a great way to sweeten the pot and compel people to give who might not otherwise.
- It’s a great way to spread the word. When you have creatively designed, eye-catching products that integrate your brand, the products you provide can also be a valuable marketing tool—raising awareness and sparking conversations.
6 Examples of Creative Products We Designed for the Carson Store
The creative team at eleventy recently designed some products for the Ben Carson Store. For those who don’t know, Ben Carson is currently a leading candidate for president in 2016 (you can read about our work redesigning his campaign logo here).
Our goal designing products for his store: Create some fun, creative merchandise that would serve as an effective fundraising tool for Ben’s campaign while also getting people talking.
Here are some of our favorite items…
1. Ben Carson Fever T-Shirt
This “Saturday Night Fever” inspired t-shirt reflects Ben Carson’s rising popularity among the American people.
2. More Carson T-Shirt
A similar idea with a twist, this tee plays off the classic Saturday Night Live “cowbell” sketch while touching on Ben’s career as a trailblazing physician.
3. Think Smart, Think Carson T-Shirt
A best seller in the Carson Store, this shirt reminds everyone that Ben—a former neurosurgeon—is the smart choice for president.
4. Keep Calm and Carson On T-Shirt
This t-shirt uses the popular “Keep calm and…” modo to touch on Ben’s calm and thoughtful (and presidential) demeanor.
5. Ben Carson Heal. Inspire. Revive. Baseball Cap
A subtle, stylish baseball cap that you can actually wear every day (not just to campaign events) that shows you’re on board with team Carson.
6. Carson for President Bumper Stickers
These vibrant bumper stickers echo the overall positive tone and powerful message of Ben Carson’s campaign for president.
These items, along with others in the Carson Store, haven proven incredibly popular with Ben Carson’s supporters. The products even caught the eye of CNN, which posted this shout-out not long after the Carson Store store went live.
3 Tips for Designing Your Own Fundraising Products
Anyone can slap a logo on a hat or t-shirt, but that won’t necessarily help you get the most from your efforts and investment (in terms of both raising funds and awareness). Here are some things to keep in mind when crafting your products:
1. Make them wearable/valuable/useful
Don’t just create any products, create products that people in your target audience will actually want or find valuable. Stuff they’ll make a donation just to get. For example, aim to design a t-shirt people will want to wear out in public—instead of just to mow the lawn or sleep in.
2. Have a concept and message
While a logo is there, it doesn’t necessarily resonate or say anything. It’s much more effective to have a message and a concept that you cleverly incorporate into the product. That’s what catches people’s attention and makes them want to take a closer look.
3. Aim for unique and have some fun
Fundraising merchandise offers a great opportunity to do something different—be witty, colorful, play off familiar images or phrases—to stand out. Remember these items are going to people. And people are always the most effective form of marketing. Give them something to talk about.