August is almost here, which means it is almost ‘Go Time!’ School starts a new year, fall sports begin, travel ball teams are revving up, as well as local clubs, boosters, and non-profits. Do you know what all these groups have in common? They all support youth activities and need money to do so.
Whether for a kid’s sports team, environmental awareness groups, a local charity, or a school club, t-shirt fundraising campaigns are among the best ways to draw awareness to your cause. Merch fundraising is a great way to raise extra money for your organization, promote your group, and pump up your community’s morale and support.
Keep reading for FIVE great ways to maximize your t-shirt fundraising campaign:
1. Choose A Design That Sells
Starting a fundraiser from scratch can be mentally taxing. It’s essential to set a clear purpose for your campaign before you start. Is your primary goal to spread awareness or boost morale? Or is it to raise money for your organization? Sometimes it’s both. People are more likely to donate and support a group if they understand what the goal of the campaign is.
The goal also helps to fine-tune your design, what merch you will sell, and at what price point. If you mainly want to boost exposure for your group, you might not care as much about making a profit and can focus on being more creative with your artwork. Remember that more colors added to the design and the more location print added will increase the retail cost of the item. Then increasing the price of the item to raise funds for your group could have the potential to scare away potential supporters who are more price sensitive.
When you’re looking to make the most money on your t-shirt fundraiser, you’re going to focus on creating a great design on economical products, which will still allow you to increase the price of your products to raise funds without exceeding the acceptable price point for your customers.
Lastly, when it comes to picking a design, think outside the box. Do people want a basic t-shirt with your organization’s logo on it? Or would they prefer something they have never seen before that sparks their interest and speaks to the cause they are supporting? Don’t use the same design year after year because your supporters already have that t-shirt and want something new and exciting this year.
2. Partner With the Right Printer
There are a ton of printers out there, but not all printers are created equal. We suggest shopping locally before contacting any of those online big-brand sites. Big companies are great and offer very inexpensive options. But most of the time, they are not as flexible as smaller, local shops. Need to pay with a Purchase Order? That’s not always an option you will find with online shops. Need help creating a custom design? It depends on the company you go to, whether they offer that or if you will have to stick to uploading your own or using clipart they have on hand.
Additionally, local printers often work more intimately with their customers. If there are issues with any of the products, they are more likely to offer to fix the issue or exchange the item instead of just offering a refund without the product.
Something to consider when going local, even if you are paying a little more, is that your sales tax dollars stay local and go to support local activities and schools in your area. Another benefit is that local business is more likely to offer discounts and donations to groups within their local community.
3. Create an Online Merch Campaign
We might like to party like it is 1999, but we’re in the digital age now. People expect to be able to purchase their goods online using electronic payments. There are a ton of vendors out there who offer the ability to create sales sites, including Esty, Shopify, and even Facebook. Offering the ability to purchase merch online also broadens your sales area. Meaning people outside your immediate geographical area can now support your cause, including extended family members, school alumni, and others who may have similar interests in your awareness campaign.
The best option is to find a t-shirt printer that offers online campaign options. Doing it this way can eliminate any need to keep an inventory yourself. The printer will set up a website for you, with your design on the merch. When a sale is made, they will take the money from the t-shirt sell, pay the sales tax, and fulfill the order for you, eliminating all the work. At the end of your fundraising campaign, the printer will then give you a check for profits made in excess of the retail cost of the merch.
Need help finding a printer that offers these fundraising services? Check out our sister companies that offer awesome online fundraising services:
In 2020, amid the shutdown, we rallied for a way for schools in our area to be able to run fundraisers and for kids to order spiritwear when they couldn’t participate in an at-school setting. To find a way to connect our community was really important to us, and so SpiritCo. was born. We worked to bring a more tech-based approach to our business and upgraded our processes to allow us to fill on-demand orders.
Of course, the shutdown is now over (with teenagers and a toddler at home all day - every day, we are soooo glad it’s over!). But we took what we learned, expanded it, and improved it. Now we offer fundraising sites, merch bundles, and our regular
bulk apparel orders to schools, groups, organizations, non-profits, and businesses all over the United States. www.spiritco.net
After creating SpiritCo, our next project was to create a space where people could create t-shirt fundraising for any cause, including raising money for family medical costs, personal causes, etc. We wanted a site where people could build their own communities around their t-shirt fundraising campaign to bring better awareness about social causes and local non-profits that wasn't solely based around youth activities, but was broader. We spend days creating artwork that was specific to many known social causes and we're still working on our artwork database to make creating a design easy. We also offer free artwork/design review to help those who need a little extra help to get to a design that is just right for their cause. www.printedcause.com
4. Find Your Community
Get off on the right track by determining who your community is up front. Are you a school group? Your community can be students, parents, teachers, alumni or even local businesses or supporters. Are you a local animal shelter? Your community can be past supporters or contributors, other animal advocate groups you work with, pet focused businesses, or anyone who loves animals.
Of course, you should always start you campaign by advertising to your immediate friends and family. Once you start getting support ask your inner circle to spread the word and reach farther into your community. Making small fliers that you can pass out gives potential supporters something tangible to remind people to support your cause by making a purchase. Include a QR code to your sales site to make it easy for people to access your URL.
Another way to get the word out there for your cause and t-shirt fundraiser is by taking it to your workplace. Think girl scout cookies. Often your work colleagues are your biggest supporters and love getting involved. Regardless of where you do it, remember that while an online sales site helps to alleviate a lot of the stress that comes with a fundraiser, you still need to put in the work of advertising your campaign in order to make it a success.
5. Utilize Social Media…Influencers
Social media is the best way to get the word out to the larger group of potential supporters (AKA t-shirt purchasers). Ask your community members to share your post to help spread the word. Post on group, club, and local community pages, but do not forget the very important hast-tag when you do it.
Want to up your game? Contact a couple of people or businesses in your community with large followings on different platforms, like TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, to see if they will help promote your fundraiser on their social media profiles. Make sure to express what a great cause it is and how much their support would help your organization. Followers will often listen to community influencers and take action. Want to sweeten the deal? Offer them a free T-shirt!
Offering a t-shirt fundraiser to raise money and awareness for your organization doesn’t have to be stressful and can be huge success if done right. You can bring people together in your community with a great t-shirt design, connect with parents, teammates, supports and others in your community while receiving funds that help to support the group or cause your promoting.