Selling fundraising merchandise from your website.

Fundraising merchandise has become a big part of internet fundraising for community organizations. Merchandising falls into two basic categories. The first is your own branded merchandise. These are items that are recognizable as being associated with your organization (for a profit, of course). The items typically have your organizations logo and may be in your colors. The other type of fundraising merchandise is basically the unbranded items that you sell only for profit. These non-branded type typically doesn't have any additional benefits for your community organization, over and above the obvious financial benefits.

This page focuses community organization branded merchandise. Branded merchandise is the type that community organizations can sell directly from their website. You usually sell the other more general fundraising merchandise door-to-door. If you're more interested in that then have a look at the fundraising ideas page.

There are tons of suppliers of branded fundraising merchandise on the internet. They offer a wide variety of items, such as jackets, t-shirts, key-rings, bumper stickers, cups or whatever else takes your fancy.

Almost any organization can benefit from merchandising so long as you use your imagination. A lady from a women's refuge group once asked me, "How on earth merchandising could help them?" I must admit I was a little stumped to begin with but when I thought about it, I eventually came up with the idea of creating a t-shirt with their title and logo in small font and a slogan in large font. The slogan read, "Putting women back on top". They sold lots of that t-shirt at markets and other places around the community. Bumper stickers are another good way to raise money for smaller organizations. The monetary benefits of branded fundraising merchandise are obvious but there is another often-overlooked benefit to this type of merchandising. Branded merchandising is also a great tool for helping you to build relationships with the local community. Often, just because a person is wearing a t-shirt with your logo on it they feel an affinity with your organization.

Surprisingly, this is often true of people who are not even that involved with your organization. I've seen it happen with people who have been bought a t-shirt for Christmas. They wear it (sometimes out of a sense of duty) and then someone comment on it. Next thing you know they've developed an interest in the organization!

The biggest amateur sporting organization in Ireland is the Gaelic Athletic Association. It promotes tradional Irish sports and culture. It was no coincidence that its popularity sky-rocketed around the time when the replica playing kits became fashionable (because of better designs and corporate sponsorship logos).

Branded merchandising is huge with many large organizations and it can be huge with smaller community organizations as well. Not just for fundraising, but for creating a strong affinity with the local community. Time to get your advertising hat on!

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