Charitable organizations and non-profits often approach marketing and business in general differently than other businesses. When it comes to sustainable swag and what items to give away, there’s a difference too. But should there be? Why should non-profits and other charitable organizations have promotional items? What should that look like?
To answer that question, we need to dive a little deeper.
One of the best-kept secrets to marketing, but an essential part of any successful marketing plan, is promotional items. Things that you give away have a greater impact on your organization and your bottom line than you might think.
They remind people of who you are and what you do.
They keep you foremost in the minds of potential donors, volunteers, sponsors, and more.
They raise awareness when promotional items are used or shared.
Many non-profits lack good marketing because of the mindset they approach their business with, but you don’t have to be one of them. The more your non-profit takes in, the greater the things you can accomplish. If anything, this means you should be marketing at least as much as a for-profit company.
And like any other organization, awareness and action when it comes to sustainable practices should be at the top of your list. Not only should marketing be good for you, but it should be good for the environment as well.
One of the simplest ways to do this is by offering sustainable swag. In many cases, you can sell personalized items that will both generate revenue, market your cause, and that don’t create more waste at the same time. It’s a win-win. But how do you do that? Here are some ideas and products that will help.
Another important thing for non-profits to understand is that you actually have a diverse audience you are targeting. Generally speaking, there are four groups you might be targeting with various promotional items you offer:
Customers: People who will purchase the personalized swag you offer.
Constituents: These individuals are part of your organization, and who you represent. This goes beyond political organizations to other representative non-profits like the AARP.
Volunteers: Many non-profits are run and sustained by volunteers, and customizable gifts are a good way to acknowledge this
Donors: People who donate money regularly often keep non-profits operating, and thanking them with imprinted items related to their level of support shows appreciation.
There are several ways you can use customized swag to encourage these different groups. For example, while you might sell some items, more expensive and exclusive items can be reserved as exclusives for donors at varying levels of financial support. You can reserve others and offer them only to volunteers.
This activates the concept of scarcity, incentivizing your various audiences to join in for “limited” items. A sense of pride often accompanies exclusivity, boosting the popularity and profitability of your company and benefitting your cause.
No matter what your cause or who your audience is, those individuals who support non-profits often are concerned with sustainability and raising awareness regarding climate change and other issues including the use of recyclable products. A socially aware person is typically involved in more than one cause, and environmental concerns are high on that list.
This means that you, too, as an organization, should reflect that even in the swag and promotional products you offer. Non-profits tend to be scrutinized more closely than many for-profits, from financial practices to sustainability, and the more proactive you are in this area, the greater support you’ll earn from your base.
Are there products out there you can offer your volunteers, customers, constituents, and donors that meet these requirements? The answer is a resounding yes! There are a variety of promotional items that are also environmentally friendly. Here are some great examples offered by PromoLeaf:
Biodegradable stress balls not only mitigate stress but are environmentally friendly too.
Water bottles encourage hydration, are eye catching, and can be reused over and over reducing waste.
Biodegradable tote bags can replace wasteful shopping bags, are great for the beach or picnics, and show your commitment to the planet.
Backpacks made out of recycled materials can be a great upsell promotional item to offer high-level donors and they enhance your commitment to sustainability.
Personalized recycled notebooks make great journals, gifts to your board members and other volunteers.
Imprinted eco-friendly t-shirts offer great branding opportunities, and set your staff and volunteers apart from the crowd.
Showing a commitment to sustainable swag, the good of the environment, and a desire to influence the future in a positive way is an extremely valuable way to engage with all of your various audiences as a charitable organization or non-profit. From volunteers to donors, you’ll be adding value to everyone who engages with your organization.
If you’re ready to “go green” with your promotional products, check out all the eco-friendly options we offer. Have questions or want to learn more? Contact us today! We’re here to help.