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4 Tips for Choosing Branded Promotional Items for Your Nonprofit

By: Brittany Engelmann-- 2017-03-21 6:00 am --

Items branded with your organization’s logo can be a great way to spread awareness of your mission. Gifting branded items to your donors as a thank you not only shows them how much you appreciate their support, but also gives visibility to your brand.

However, to be effective you should take a few things into consideration before deciding what to brand and how to use your items.

Don’t use gifts as a motivation to donate

According to a study conducted at Yale University in 2012, thank you gifts don’t motivate people to give. Thank you gifts can actually deter people from donating to your organization because their gift feels selfish when they receive a physical item in return.

But remember that rules are meant to be broken, and this tactic does work for some nonprofits. For example, many NPR listeners have happily donate to receive a coffee mug.

Know your donor

Gifts in return for donations are a tried and true tactic during NPR pledge drives all over the country. This works for NPR because they know what motivates their donors to give.

Knowing what drives your donors and attracts them to your cause is paramount to choosing what items to invest in and how to distribute them.

Use donor research to guide your choices. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask them what they prefer and how they would like to be thanked.

Find items that are on-brand to personalize with your logo and distribute them to your donors. For example, if your organization hosts a 5k fundraiser every year, a water bottle with your logo would be a good choice as a thank you for participating.

Incentivize volunteer fundraisers

With rise in popularity of peer-to-peer fundraising, there is even more opportunity for organizations to utilize thank you gifts for increased visibility.

Knowing who your donors are will help you find incentives that will motivate your volunteer fundraisers and encourage others to volunteer as well.

There are many ways to motivate your volunteers, such as leaderboards and social recognition. But a well-designed, branded incentive will be something that the recipients are proud of and will use to show their support for your cause.

Building in that kind of social proof for your organization can go a long way in gaining new supporters and spreading awareness of your mission.

Consider Quality

When you’re selecting items to brand, consider the quality of what you purchase. You’re likely better off spending more for higher quality items that people will want to use and being able to purchase fewer of them than buying many low-quality items that will get tossed in a drawer and never used.

This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t buy in bulk, but rather you should be conscientious in your choice of items and their potential value to your donors.

While it’s difficult to truly know the return on investment with this kind of marketing, it’s safe to say that higher quality item that appeals to your donors will have a higher investment than something that your donors don’t appreciate.