Looking for ways to raise funds for your non-profit?
Here’s a list of 16 fundraising merchandise ideas to help you launch a successful fundraiser.
Some of the ideas you’ll find in this list are:
- Collectible items
- Bobblehead figurines
- Lapel pins
Plus, plenty more.
Let’s get into the list.
16 Fundraising Merchandise Ideas for Non-profits [& Pricing]
Idea #14: Reusable Water Bottle
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Fundraising Merchandise Idea #1: Branded Caps
We’re kicking off our list of fundraising ideas for non-profit organizations with the branded cap.
Exactly like this cool Movember branded cap:
Caps of any kind make great promotional products that are very easy to customize.
In fact, we’ve published a guide on custom hats you can read and get inspired!
Let’s have a look at a fabulous example you may know of already.
Example: Elon Musk’s The Boring Company
A few years ago, world-renowned entrepreneur Elon Musk decided to launch a new project aimed at reducing traffic on the streets of Los Angeles.
To do so, he decided to build tunnels, the construction of which obviously requires a lot of money.
Musk used the power of merch to raise money for his project.
How did he do that exactly?
He created and sold 50,000 branded The Boring Company hats through an online store.
Have a look:
Selling promotional hats to early adopters of Musk’s project was able to help raise money to the tune of around $700,000.
Talk about effective fundraising, right?
Price range: Starting at $10 per item
Fundraising Merchandise Idea #2: T-shirts
The second fundraising merchandise idea you definitely need to keep in mind when building your raising money campaign is the t-shirt.
In general, custom apparel, and particularly custom t-shirts, are probably the most popular fundraising products.
A t-shirt fundraiser has high chances of helping you achieve your fundraising goals given the variety of shirt designs you can offer to backers and the ease of creating your own custom t-shirt designs.
Here’s an example.
Example: COOLEST COOLER: 21st Century Cooler that’s Actually Cooler
Our example here comes from a Kickstarter campaign about a pretty cool, modern cooler that raised over 13 million dollars.
As you can see, the creative team of the Coolest Cooler created a number of promotional products, including a tee and a reusable party cup.
These were given to people that supported the campaign through the Kickstarter crowdfunding platform.
Price range: Starting at $15 per item
Fundraising Merchandise Idea #3: Stickers
If you’re looking for fundraising gifts for your supporters, you can also consider stickers.
Whether you’re a sports team, a non-profit, or a creative project like the example we’ll see a little further down, creating stickers for your physical or online fundraising can be a hassle-free process.
Author’s Tip: Our advice would be that stickers shouldn’t be your main promotional product. On the contrary, you could combine them with other merch items you’re offering, or other rewards, like coupons, custom shirts, keychains, and so on and so forth.
Example: The Veronica Mars Movie Project
If you’re familiar with virtual fundraising ideas and popular fundraisers, you may have heard of the Veronica Mars movie fundraiser.
With over 90,000 backers and over $5,000,000 raised, the Veronica Mars Movie Project is one of the most successful fundraising campaigns out there.
Part of their success can be explained by the cool swag they were rewarding supporters with.
As you can see, their merchandise sales included a selection of cool stickers that can totally make any Veronica Mars fan out there smile.
Price range: N/A
Fundraising Merchandise Idea #4: Collectible Items
Collectible items are a great way to elevate your fundraising strategy and give backers a little fundraising incentive to support you.
As you can imagine, it can be a bit hard to specifically define what a collectible item might be; this’ll depend on the nature of your campaign, your goals, and the products or projects you might want to pull off.
Our advice would be to communicate your needs to your swag supplier and create something special for your rewards-based crowdfunding campaign.
Here’s a beautiful example.
Example: Healing Waves Tarot Deck
The Indiegogo fundraiser project we’re featuring here is an art project by a professional illustrator.
The project gave potential supporters a number of items they could get as a reward for their pledge, including the velvet mermaid pouch you can see above, that ended up sold out.
Price range: N/A
Fundraising Merchandise Idea #5: Socks
If you’re interested in running an accessories and apparel fundraising effort, then branded socks should definitely be in your mind.
Like other products on our list, socks can be easily customized which makes them a perfect gift for giveaways and fundraisers of any kind.
We’ve found a Kickstarter campaign for a card game that’s called SWAG and, as you can probably imagine, it includes socks in its list of promotional rewards to backers of the campaign.
Example: SWAG – a fast paced and simple card game for ages 8+
SWAG is a beautiful card game for three to seven players.
Its creators built a list of items to offer their supporters, promotional products included.
To be more specific, the team came up with a limited edition promotional tee and their so-called crime scene socks.
We think that including apparel and traditionally mundane items in your fundraiser is absolutely fine, as long as you’re imaginative and you’re trying to make these objects special with your design, quotes, or other creative concept you might be planning to feature on them.
Price range: Starting at $4 per pair
Fundraising Merchandise Idea #6: Coffee Mug
When it comes to fundraising merch ideas, creating a variety of promotional products supporters can choose from is important.
One of the objects you can also consider creating for your fundraising campaign is the coffee mug.
The variety of coffee mugs you can customize gives you the opportunity to actually create something unique that reflects your project and vision.
Our example will convince you that coffee mugs can indeed capture the attention of your supporters and reflect the ideas behind your project.
Example: The Star Trek Voyager Documentary
Here’s a replica of the vessel Captain Janeway used:
This super cool coffee mug was developed by the Star Trek Voyager documentary fundraising project team.
Don’t tell me that all Star Trek fans out there wouldn’t want to get their hands on this!
Price range: Starting at $8 per item
Fundraising Merchandise Idea #7: Bobblehead Figurines
The seventh fundraising merchandise idea is one that we don’t usually include in our lists of promotional items.
However, we think that bobblehead figurines are totally worth a try here, given the special nature of fundraisers and the fact that your supporters might want something from you as a souvenir from your project, even if it’s a purely decorative item.
Let’s get into a great example:
Example: Our Nixon Documentary
The Our Nixon documentary Kickstarter campaign gave backers the opportunity to get the limited edition H.R. Bobblehead Haldeman collectible doll you can see above.
More specifically, this reward was given to supporters that pledged over $75.
Price range: N/A
Fundraising Merchandise Idea #8: Hoodies
If you’ve already been reading our blog, then you probably know that apparel is one of the most popular categories of branded merchandise for your employees, clients, and audience.
You can add pretty much any design you want on to a hoodie, allowing your backers to show their love for your cause wherever they go.
Clothing like a hoodie, or the tee we covered a little further up, also has a chance of getting social media shares with people wearing them, increasing awareness of what you’re trying to achieve and driving more donations.
Example: hart-Humane Animal Rescue Team Fundraiser
Hart is an organization that works to rehome stray and abandoned dogs, educate dog owners, and provide spaying and neutering services.
At the storefront in the town they operate out of, supporters can grab this cool hoodie and show their dedication to the cause, even getting a chance to hang out with this cute doggo!
Price range: Starting at $38 per item
Fundraising Merchandise Idea #9: Lapel Pins
The next fundraising idea we have for your non-profit to boost your awareness as well as your coffers, is lapel pins.
A lapel pin is an understated way for supporters to demonstrate that they back the cause you’re working to promote.
It’s the type of merchandise that works in corporate environments and they’re a good choice for larger non-profits to have available for when they promote to big businesses.
Let’s see how fans of Star Trek harnessed the power of lapel pins.
Example: The Star Trek Voyager Documentary
As part of the effort to get a documentary made about Star Trek Voyager, an Indiegogo campaign was set up (Yes!the one we saw a little further up).
Backers of the film can pledge different amounts and receive cool rewards, like this full set of Voyager character lapel pins, when they give $100.
What Trekkie wouldn’t want to add this to a collection and be part of something so special?
Price range: Starting at $3 per item
Fundraising Merchandise Idea #10: Goodies
Next up on our list of ideas to help your non-profit fundraising efforts is the ever popular bag of goodies.
Having goodies and snacks ready to either sell or offer as a reward for a donation or pledge is a lovely way to thank people for their support.
A goodie bag works well at in-person fundraisers, particularly where kids might be in attendance and parents want to keep them occupied whilst also donating to your cause.
Pack the good bag with healthy, locally-produced snacks that fit with your cause, be it superfoods for heart health, local honey when your cause is nature-based, or artisanal cookies or jams when you work with local artists and producers.
Price range: Starting at $23
Fundraising Merchandise Idea #11: Tech Items
Who doesn’t like a piece of tech in their lives?
Power banks, chargers, and speakers are common tech merch ideas that lots of businesses use.
Being able to offer high quality items like smartwatches, like in the image below, can set your fundraising efforts apart and give people a reason to buy your merch rather than make a traditional donation.
Tech items get used a lot, so using them to promote your non-profit is a good way to get the message out there.
There is inherent value in tech items too – they’re something one would buy whether it was supporting a cause or not – so adding a good cause to already useful items should generate more income.
Price range: Starting at $35 per item
Fundraising Merchandise Idea #12: Swag Bags
Now we’re into the final few ideas to help you raise money for your cause or new idea, we’re moving to the ever popular swag bag concept.
Rather than choosing one or two items to help in raising money, you can bundle a range of great bits of swag into a single package.
Having a theme around your swag bag, such as helpful items for quarantine like the one above, will really engage people in your cause – it’s really visually appealing, too!
Let’s have a look at an example.
Example: hart-Humane Animal Rescue Team
In these swag bags from hart, they kept their merch local, including coffee and chocolate from local suppliers, to raise funds to help their work with dogs in their area.
What’s inside is definitely desirable, and coffee and chocolate lovers will be thinking of the great treat they got for days to come.
Price range: N/A
Fundraising Merchandise Idea #13: Accessories
Using accessories to raise funds and awareness of your non-profit’s cause is an idea with a proven track record – we all remember the popularity of charity wristbands in the early 2000s.
Items that go around the wrist are still a popular idea, and there are lots of opportunities to customise the band, or any other accessory like a necklace.
You might not have seen too many wristbands or accessory-type merch for a while, but everyone loves a vintage item?
There are also many more styles to choose from rather than the standard rubber band nowadays, with great designs that can really represent your non-profit brand.
Let’s take a look at just such an example.
This cute bracelet represents HeartKids – who raise funds for children with heart problems – and is sold in lots of locations.
The colors are bold and the metal charm adds a touch of quality to the item, making it super wearable.
It’s low price point and mass appeal means that it’s accessible to kids and adults alike.
Price range: Starting at $2 per item
Fundraising Merchandise Idea #14: Reusable Water Bottle
The next idea we’re presenting for your non-profit fundraising is a popular choice when looking for eco-friendly swag and merch to offer to your supporters.
Have a look at this Susan G. Komen water bottle:
A reusable water bottle is an in-demand item that’ll be used and appreciated every single day.
Whether your organization works in the environmental field, or something completely unrelated, it’s still a great item that people are going to love and connect with your eco-friendly credentials.
Choosing to use a high-quality metal bottle will be greatly appreciated since it lasts longer and can be used to keep drinks cool or warm since they’re insulated.
Price range: Starting at $11 per item
Fundraising Merchandise Idea #15: Tote Bag
Nearing the end of our list, we couldn’t miss out an absolute classic piece of merch that definitely belongs in your non-profit’s ecommerce store or at a fundraising event.
Tote bags are great because they reduce our reliance on single-use plastic, and you look great at the same time.
There’s a lot of space on a tote bag to set out your message with a stylish design.
Consider using it as the packaging for the swag bag we covered before, or as a cool reward when someone pledges a donation to your fundraiser.
Coming up is a great example of a tote bag used in an effective fundraising.
With bold colors and a simple message, this tote from Actionaid is really effective.
This particular tote bag has been sent out to people who made a donation to the Actionaid Stand With Women campaign.
It’s a message that everyone can get behind and be proud to show to the world.
Now we’re moving on to the last fundraising merchandise idea we’ve got on our list.
Price range: Starting at $7 per item
Fundraising Merchandise Idea #16: Swag Mystery Bag
You’ve made it to our final idea for your fundraising merchandise campaign, and it’s a good one.
The swag mystery bag is exactly what it sounds like – a collection of miscellaneous, usually connected, items that you sell or give away.
This fundraising merch idea could work well around spooky holidays to boost donations or be a useful giveaway item at a large event.
Sending out a mystery selection of goodies to your contributors also adds an air of fun to your fundraising, and even allows you a level of personalization in terms of age or location, for example.
Want to see how this idea might look? Here’s a great example.
Example: Sh!t Men Say to Me Poetry Anthology
This poetry anthology being crowdfunded over on Indiegogo offers the interesting perk of a mystery bag.
Whilst you do get some idea of the contents, the idea of “random prizes” can be very appealing to people who get behind your cause.
You have the opportunity to show your non-profit’s humor, originality, and ethos through the mystery items you pick, reinforcing the work you’re doing.
Let’s take this through to the final stretch.
Now Over to You
There you have it.
You now have a list of solid and tested fundraising merchandise ideas for your next online fundraiser or fundraising event.
With all the things that happened in the world in 2020 — and, that we all hope will finish soon — raising funds for good causes is more important than ever.
As you’ve seen throughout this list, there are many ways to do that.
If you’re interested in learning more about any of the products listed above, don’t hesitate to contact us.
We can point you in the right direction and make the fundraising process easier for you.
Just leave us a message in the following form and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
Thank you for reading!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Whether you’re new to branded merchandising for your non-profit or have been working this approach for years, you’ll likely have some questions.
Here’s what we commonly get asked and our thoughts as professionals in the industry.
Q1. What are the most profitable fundraisers?
Fundraisers come in various forms, like long-term campaigns or one-off events on all different scales. Some easy fundraising ideas that are profitable for an organization include sponsored activities or bake sales.
A lot will depend on the field that you’re in and the demographics of your supporters, just like the choice of merchandise you’ll offer at events and as rewards.
Q2. What are good things to sell for a fundraiser?
Along with homemade and donated goods for a fundraising event, there are lots of items that you can sell to raise money.
Apparel like tees and hoodies, or more decorative items like lapel pins or bobblehead figurines tend to sell well during fundraising events.
Q3. Can non-profits sell merchandise?
Yes, there are no rules against a non-profit selling merchandise to increase their income.
Be sure to stay within the bounds of local laws, such as copyright and age restricted items.
Q4. What is the best fundraising site?
There are a range of sites that will allow you to raise funds for your non-profit or new idea.
For charitable causes, GoFundMe is a popular choice, whereas to get a new product idea off the ground, Kickstarter is the site a lot of inventors use.
Author’s Tip: Be sure to check what other non-profits in your space are using to find the right fundraising platform and software for you.
Q5. What are the most popular fundraising items?
It will all depend on who your target market is as to what fundraising items are going to entice them in.
Some of the most popular fundraising items are the coffee mug, the t-shirt, and the ever popular eco-friendly tote bag.
Q6. What are some tips for fundraising?
Lots of elements go into a successful fundraising campaign. Briefly, here are some points you need to be thinking about:
- Choose your message and audience
- Set clear monetary and financial goals for your campaign
- Engage your base of volunteers and existing supporters
- Use multiple channels to get your message across
- Plan how to say “thank you” to your contributors.
Q7. How do I do a fundraising campaign?
Lots of elements go into a fundraising campaign. The key steps in the process are:
- Plan what your campaign will be about
- Create a sense of urgency as you launch the campaign
- Promote the campaign across the places your target donors engage with
- Show your gratitude to the people who made your campaign a success
Q8. Where can I buy promotional items for a fundraising campaign?
Here at PRG, we’ve been working with non-profits to select and source their promotional items for their fundraising campaign for years.
We can help you find unique and interesting items or get the batches of t-shirts you want to distribute.