For many nonprofits, money is tight. Some rely entirely on donations, which can make establishing annual budgets tricky. One way to get more donations is to get your name out there. Promoting with nonprofit giveaways can help you keep your organization top of mind.
Take the Heckrodt Wetland Reserve, a 76-acre urban nature reserve in northeastern Wisconsin, not too far from the Canadian border. Donations fund its ADA-accessible wetland board walk, three miles of
nature trails and a unique nature center with ‘living water’ displays. More than 50,000 people visit each year and organizers say branding is crucial for their ongoing success. Use their experience to find inspiration of your own with these easy ways to help keep your nonprofit top of mind.
Stay visible—on and off site
A logo always triggers curiosity, comments and questions, says Chris Langenfeld, who is Heckrodt’s director of fund development. Staff wear polo shirt uniforms and jackets with the reserve’s embroidered logo. This helps visitors know who staff are and encourages them to ask questions and offer feedback on Heckrodt—even when staffers are away from the site. “We get that good, direct feedback. Everybody looks at a logo…It identifies you as part of something bigger,” Langefeld said. “Our logo represents that bigger thing that we’re about.”
Help visitors remember special times
There are no admission fees at Heckrodt, but visitors are encouraged to donate if they can. While visitors will likely always remember theabundant wildlife and uniqueness of Heckrodt—it features a zipline that simulates a hawk diving for its prey—the preserve also provides stickers as an inexpensive nonprofit giveaway to help visitors remember their visit. They are budget friendly and can be applied to so many things—like water bottles, vehicles and clothing—that will be seen again and again, drawing attention to the organization.
Calendars for year-round advertising
Heckrodtcame up with a clever fundraising tool using their own location as inspiration. They hold a contest where people submit photos they took at the center or out on the trails. The winning photos and their photographers’ names are used in a calendar. You can do the same using photos from annual events or ones taken by volunteers. Give everyone who’s photo is featured in the calendar one free as a thank-you.
Branded gifts for volunteers and donors
Logoed gifts are a great way to thank donors and volunteers for their hard work and generosity. T-shirts are probably the most popular gift for volunteers, but polos, jackets, tote bags, padfolios and computer bags all work well for donors, depending on budget and your donor preferences. Vacuum-insulated travel mugs, engraved pens and umbrellas also make practical thank-you gifts for donors and volunteers. You can even make specific gifts available for specific donation amounts.
Like so many other not-for-profit organizations, Heckrodt Wetland Reserve depends on donations to keep its operations running smoothly. Their nonprofit giveaway ideas can help other charitable groups share their message, raise funds or thank supporters.