4imprint, LLC

12 min read

  1. Build a plan and include a timeline
  2. Make donating simple
  3. Sell fundraising promotional items
  4. Partner with another business
  5. Show gratitude
  6. Increase donations with tiered fundraising gifts


First, the good news: Charitable giving was up 8.9% in 2021 vs. 2020. Next, the better news: You can increase donations to your charitable group with help from these six nonprofit fundraising tips.

1. Build a plan and include a timeline

Nonprofits are always fundraising, whether to pay for annual expenses, keep essential programs running or help their community in an emergency. But because there are so many potential reasons to fundraise, generating the excitement needed to get those funds can be a challenge. Building a target makes it easier to hit that target.

By developing a goal, plan and timeline you can create excitement. Here’s how:

  • The goal: Knowing that you’re trying to raise X amount can encourage people to give a little more to help hit the target.
  • The plan: Sharing where that funding will go makes it easier to craft a story tailored to the audience you’d like to approach. Performing an annual fundraiser to pay basic expenses? Include the costs in a list and send it to people who have donated to your annual fund in the past. Creating a new program? Tell a story that explains how these funds will help a particular group and find ways to engage new audiences.
  • The timeline: A date creates a ticking clock that can help convince donors to donate now, donate more and share your fundraiser with others via email, social media or another method.

2. Make donating simple

Sometimes the challenge of getting more donations isn’t finding people who want to donate but finding people willing to take the time to donate. For instance, if you send a letter with a self-addressed stamped envelope, potential donors are tasked with writing a check and sending a donation back via snail mail. Even if you approach someone in person, only 16% of consumers always carry cash. Yet, 85% of people have smartphones. And 90% access the internet with a mobile device.

Finger touching a donate button on a smartphone.


What does this mean for fundraising? One of the best ways to get people to donate is to take your ask mobile.

Make your website responsive

If your website is a few years old, there’s a strong likelihood that it doesn’t function as optimally as possible. A visitor who can’t read your site, see the pictures or, most importantly, figure out where to donate may close their browser and not return.

Before your next fundraiser, make sure your site works on any device manufactured in the last three years.

Make your donation page easy to locate

When people arrive at your site, chances are they’re looking to support your cause. Make the process simple by putting a “Donate Now” button in the header and footer of your site so visitors can easily find it.

Add a recurring option

What’s better than a donation? A donation that happens on a recurring basis. When people fill out donation information on your site, add an option to send a monthly, quarterly or yearly gift to help make fundraising more consistent.

Use QR codes

When it comes to getting people to your donation page, sometimes the barrier can be as small as the time it takes to put your website name into a browser. Make getting to your donation page easy by adding a QR code to any form of communication, including:

Share your donation page widely—and make it easy for others to do the same

Once your site is ready for visitors, take advantage of every opportunity to get people to visit. You can:

  • Share the link on social media—and ask others to share.
  • Link your donation page at the end of every email.
  • Include a link or QR code in your newsletter.
  • Pass out a pen or another item that includes your donation page as a link.

3. Sell fundraising promotional items

When it comes to fundraising, “merchandise” probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. Most people think of donations or grants. But selling merchandise is a very common way to make money. Consider one of the most famous examples—Girl Scout cookies. The Girl Scouts raise more than $800 million per year selling cookies.

Combining merchandise sales with promotional items can help boost your fundraising efforts. Studies show that 8 in 10 consumers (PDF) like getting promotional products. And fundraising promotional products are a great way to spread awareness of your organization. For example, a single promotional T-shirt generates more than 3,400 impressions (PDF).

Woman walking a dog by other people through a park wearing a T-shirt with a logo.


No matter what you choose to sell, or where you sell it, fundraising promotional items can help you raise brand awareness—and funds!

Hand out fun event swag

Research shows that 98% of nonprofits hold fundraising events annually, from golf tournaments to competitive races to galas. Selling merchandise can help extend an event’s reach from a single day to a month, a year or more.

For example, if you’re hosting a golf outing, sell the beverage wrench tee holder. People can use it at your event and on many golf outings to come. Each time, they’ll remember your organization. Some fundraising promotional products can be used as both thank-you gifts and sellable merchandise. Give T-shirts to all the volunteers at an event, making them easier to spot. Then, sell identical shirts to attendees to raise additional funds.

Create an online store

People enjoy representing a brand they support. An online store can allow your supporters to show off their love for your organization. Offer a variety of promotional products for nonprofits, from a classic tote to a high-quality polo shirt, to give the people who believe in your work more opportunities to share it.

Set up a pop-up stand at community events

Taking part in a community event is a great way to get your brand seen by a broader audience. Setting up a pop-up stand can make people aware of your cause and the kind of work you do. If the event is outdoors, sell a flying disk to promote both family fun and your brand. Or get those thousands of brand impressions by selling a tote they can use anywhere they go. Giving a gift with each purchase can get more people to buy. A mood bracelet is ideal because it is budget-conscious, highly visible and fun—exactly what you need to get people talking about your organization.

4. Partner with another business

There are roughly 32.5 million businesses in the United States, and creating a partnership with one of them is the definition of a win-win relationship.

Of course, you get a long-term partner and an opportunity to fund your community work. But the partnering business benefits too by:

  • Increasing employee engagement: Employees want to find purpose in their work, which nonprofit partnerships can help provide.
  • Acquiring new customers: Sponsoring events or simply showing support for a worthy cause attracts new people to your brand.
  • Building trust in their brand: Consumers are more likely to trust a business that positively impacts the community.

If you find a business that wants to create a partnership, these simple fundraising ideas will help get you started.

Collect change for change

Almost everyone has a change collection collecting dust in a dish or jar at home. Putting all that change to good use is a fast, easy way to raise money for a worthy cause:

  • Place collection banks in their lobby for contributions from customers and staff.
  • Divide staff into teams and offer a prize to the group that collects the most change.
  • Pick a collection day and ask staff members to bring in whatever change they can spare.

Raise even more money by offering to match whatever funds staff raises. Or, better yet, double it. Studies show that one out of three people are more likely to donate if they know their funds will be matched and doubled.

Coins dropping in a box with a bow. The box is held in the palm of a hand.


The simple Box Bank is an ideal fundraising promotional product to place in your business partner’s reception area, lunchroom, offices and waiting rooms. Does the fundraiser have a theme? Pick a box design to match—for example, a Paw Bank is the purr-fect choice for an animal shelter.

Promote your fundraiser with wristbands

Wristbands are a quick and easy fundraising giveaway. In fact, a single wristband can bring in donations and increase brand awareness. Organizations can donate the bands to your nonprofit. That way, all the money raised goes directly to your cause.

Companies can sell the wristbands to staff members, customers or anyone interested in supporting your cause. They can even distribute them at fundraising events to help raise additional money. And supporters who wear the wristbands in public will be promoting awareness of your brand everywhere they go. The Custom Silicone Bracelet is available in a wide array of colors to complement your organization’s brand.

Sponsor cause-related marketing

One of the simplest ways for a company to support a charitable cause is donating to it each time someone makes a purchase. This can not only help the nonprofit, but it could also end up boosting the company’s bottom line. Moreover, 40% of consumers would pay more for a product that aligns with their values.

Three stacked boxes labeled “Support trees,” “Support bees” and “Support education.”


Work in conjunction with your company of choice to make sure people know their purchase will be helping a worthy cause. Imprint a fundraising promotional product, like a tote bag, with your logo and the company’s logo to further promote your cause-related marketing initiative.

5. Show gratitude

Acknowledging donations is an important part of fundraising. A heartfelt thank you shows donors you received their gift, you appreciate it and, more importantly, you value them. Most nonprofits have limited time, money and staff, so thanking donors can be a challenge. And coming up with fresh ideas can be challenging.

We’ve got several nonprofit fundraising tips on how to best show gratitude, as well as thank-you gift bag ideas for those important people who support your cause.

Donor gift ideas

The best fundraising promotional products have a few things in common:

They’re personal

Donor gifts mean more when you put some thought into them. Any gift bag can easily be personalized just by including a handwritten note. If you want to do more than the traditional thank-you card, have each employee sign the gift bag. Include a personal note on a notepad or journal that you can tuck inside a gift basket. Or jot a personal message on a chalkboard tumbler with straw. Include a packet of hot chocolate or a gift card to a local coffee shop for a special touch. If possible, deliver your gift in person. If that’s not an option, make a thank-you phone call (and mention that a gift will soon be arriving).

They are detailed

The best gifts show donors how their support contributes to your organization’s success. Put a flower pot pen and flower seed packets imprinted with your organization’s progress, the number of people helped or a list of ongoing initiatives in a gift bag. Really build on the theme by wrapping it all in floral tissue paper. Or encourage them to stick with your organization with a sticky notebook.

They give recognition

Acknowledge donors by name on your website, newsletters and social media. Then go a step further by providing something that can be proudly worn or carried, such as a lapel pin or knit beanie. Imprint gifts with your organization’s logo and the words “loyal supporter” and tuck them inside a reusable shopping tote for a memorable presentation. 

6. Increase donations with tiered fundraising gifts

Consider taking this strategy to the next level by developing donation tiers. Create an incentive for donors to continue their support of your cause and increase their giving level.

Benefits of tiered-level gifts

Assigning donors to tiered levels can provide the extra motivation and recognition some may need to support your organization at the next level. Here’s how:

Share the love

Gifting in return for a donation helps show your supporters the love. It tells your donors you appreciate them. And although the majority of people are charitable—81 percent of people say they donate to charity—they are also consumers by nature. Offering something of value in exchange for a donation appeals to both sensibilities.

Increase your donation size

Research shows that providing donation levels can increase the size of an average online donation. The premise behind this is people give more when they choose from predetermined amounts versus selecting a donation amount on their own. Incentivize this behavior by adding a gift to accompany each level, such as a bumper sticker with a $25 donation, a T-shirt at $50 and an iPad® sleeve for donations of $100 or more.

Drive awareness

Your supporters are your brand ambassadors; they are often happy to showcase their support visibly. Provide golf umbrellas, fleece jackets and messenger bags as a means for them to further identify with your cause while increasing awareness among their friends and family.

Pull at the heartstrings

A branded thank you provides one more opportunity to incorporate a visual, emotion-evoking element into your campaign. A coffee mug imprinted with a photo of a rescued shelter dog or an antimicrobial mouse pad with a picture of a saved lighthouse inspires supporters’ passion and connectedness.

More funds = more done

A good fundraiser will allow you to serve more people and take better care of your community. With these nonprofit fundraising tips, you’ll be well on your way to a successful fundraising campaign.



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Sara Mckone

Sara Mckone

Sara is 4imprint’s Senior Category Manager for apparel, and she has been with 4imprint for 22 years. Sara’s keen sense of style keeps her tuned in to the most-popular apparel brands and trends. She writes about the hottest promotional apparel on the market.

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