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My Personal List of Recommended Products Not Often Thought Of To Spur Donor Giving

Innovative Branded Merchandise for Donors
Collegiate donors love branded merch. Donors have emotional connections to the brand and branded products allow them to show their pride. Thus branded merch serves as a  powerful fundraising incentive while showing appreciation.  

The opportunity here is to offer fresh ideas that create excitement around giving campaigns. I have identified a short list of under-the-radar branded merch that I think giving campaigns should consider. While these are a bit more niche than socks and umbrellas, I know that they would not only be appreciated, but valued, used and shown off by donors. Let’s go!    

Innovative Branded Merchandise for DonorsBelts – Belts to me are similar to where socks used to be. Socks were pretty boring and then all of a sudden people of all ages felt confident wearing fun designs. Belts have not yet moved to that level and are still dominated by the standard colors (black and brown). To me this is a great opportunity to let donors show their pride through creative apparel. Plus, belts don’t need to be washed and can be used daily! As a sailor, logoed belts have a long history in the sailing community and I think the collegiate community is ready to embrace a similar tradition. The belt I recommend is a fabric belt that can be printed in full color and the recipient cuts the product to their needed length (therefore sizing is not an issue). Also, the minimum order is only 36 pieces, so it is a low quantity commitment. Since this product mostly leans toward males, these should be integrated into a giving campaign where donors have a choice in their chosen merch. 

Trivets – Kitchen products are one of the most popular places where branded merch is used. Kitchens often have branded bag clips, pizza cutters, spatulas, cutting boards and more. One product that has not (yet) picked up steam is the trivet (also called a hot pad). In our kitchen, we have several different trivets and use them almost nightly. If we had a Marquette University trivet (I am class ‘97), this would be the one I would pull nightly. My favorite is the stone trivet that is printed in full color.    

Throw Pillows – Decorating our living spaces allows us to show our personality and what we care about. An item that has begun to sprout but we have not yet seen it for donor gifts are custom throw pillows. I have always thought this product falls in this category of an item not likely to be purchased on your own, but once you have it, you appreciate it and it will find a home. From the bedroom to the living room couch or rec room, I think donors will be excited to show off their college affiliations through throw pillows. There are a number of new options that have been introduced over the past few years in varying qualities, price ranges and decoration options. Here is one example of a newer option. Being a higher-priced item with a  low minimum order, this could be a great product used in a capital campaign or for a higher donation level for a giving day campaign.    

Innovative Branded Merchandise for DonorsWine Charms – Another useful, usable and unique item that donors would appreciate having are wine charms. These are always handy for parties and a fun way to differentiate wine glasses and show off collegiate love. The charms can come in sets of four, varying in color scheme and/or design on each. For a nice gifting experience, they can come in a presentation and storage box.

I hope this list has inspired you to think outside the box and consider these ideas when planning your next giving campaign!Innovative Branded Merchandise for Donors

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Postage Permits

We are happy to mail using a client’s USPS non-profit number. Here are a few best practices for this to go smoothly. Let our team know up front on the project so we can make sure to get the information we need right away. 

While our mail house does prefer to use their permit number for the mailing, we can use the client’s permit, If using their permit number, ensure there is enough postage to cover the mailing.

The information we need to in order to use a client’s nonprofit number includes the following:

Formatting the Mailing List

Our account team will advise on specific requirements for your project’s mailing list.  We generally recommend these best practices to format the mailing list: