There are more than 1.5 million nonprofit organizations in the United States, ranging in size from large public charities to your local food bank or place of worship. (1) These groups work tirelessly to do good in the world, and promo products are a vital tool they can leverage to spread the word about their exceptional work. Here are four ways nonprofits can make promos work for them.

Build Awareness

Promotional items bearing the name, logo, or message of an organization can build recognition and a sense of community. When volunteers and supporters use imprinted tote bags, pens, or drinkware, they are showing support for an organization’s mission.

Small nonprofits may not think in terms of brand recognition, but potential donors or volunteers are more likely to attend an event or become involved with groups they recognize. Promotional products provide great visibility for a nonprofit’s message and can be distributed at fundraisers, community fairs, and other public events to start a conversation and spread the word. [1]

Building awareness by the numbers: A promotional writing instrument generates 3,000 impressions throughout its lifetime. (2)

Product Spotlight:

Affordable giveaways that will get used on a daily basis are great choices for nonprofits looking for good ROI.

Corporate Connection

Businesses across all industry sectors participate in charitable giving and events to give back to nonprofit groups that matter to their workforce. Philanthropic businesses can benefit from tax deductions, increased marketing exposure, and improved employee morale – all while giving back to their community. Plus, doing good can also benefit their bottom line. Millennials, for example, report that they will spend more with brands who support causes they care about. (3)

Case Study

An outfitter who offers guided hikes wanted to reach out to the LGBTQ+ community. At their local Pride Month festival, the company handed out the Koozie® britePix® Can Kooler with a coupon for 25% off a hike in the next year.

The promotion was a huge success! Not only did the outfitter book almost 75 individuals for their programs but a LGBTQ+ youth support group also reached out to them and booked a series of group hikes as well.

Nonprofits should seek out business partners for event sponsorships and awareness campaigns. These opportunities not only benefit the nonprofit but are also a win for the business.

Corporate donations by the numbers: Corporate giving in 2020 was almost $17 billion. (4)


Whether a race, silent auction, direct mail campaign, or gala, promo should have a seat at the table at the events that fund these important groups. The right item and imprint can make a dramatic impact by spreading an organization’s message long after the event is over.

Taking it a step further, selling swag can be another revenue stream for nonprofits. Whether offering branded merchandise at an in-person event or through an online store, this type of fundraising has several advantages. It gives donors another opportunity to give, and it also creates partners. When a donor gets asked about their cool wine tumbler or silicone wristband, it provides them a chance to talk up a cause they are passionate about, spreading the nonprofit’s message organically. (5)

Fundraising by the numbers: Individual donations were the largest source of charitable giving in 2020, reaching nearly $325 billion. (6)

Product Spotlight:

This versatile fanny pack has enough cool factor to get noticed.

Say Thanks

Volunteers are the lifeblood of many nonprofits. They provide vital services and can be an organization’s best ambassadors. Thanking volunteers has been shown to improve retention rates, and there are lots of simple ways to give them the recognition they deserve: featuring volunteer stories on an organization’s blog or sending handwritten notes of gratitude from the executive director, for example. (7)

When it comes to gifts, groups should choose meaningful items that reinforce the organization’s purpose for the most impact. (8) Whether recognition is given spontaneously or is centered around an event like National Volunteer Week, volunteer appreciation should be an important part of any nonprofit’s strategy.

Volunteering by the numbers: Before the pandemic, approximately 63 million Americans volunteered their time to a cause close to their hearts, spending an average of 52 hours per year making a difference. (9)

Product Spotlight:

This calendar can be customized to highlight an organization’s outstanding volunteers.

There are so many ways that nonprofit organizations can use promotional products to support their important causes. Head on over to for more inspiration.  

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