Chances are your nonprofit juggles many responsibilities. The last thing you want is to become overwhelmed and lose sight of your priorities. What if we told you that there’s a way to combine donor appreciation, fundraising, and effective marketing into one campaign?

Product fundraisers are a triple-threat approach to fundraising that will ease your worries. Not only are they a great way to raise money, but you can also spread awareness about your cause while giving your donors something tangible in return for their support.

However, before you jump into your product fundraiser, you have an important decision to make: What products will we sell?

There are so many options to offer, from branded merchandise to discount cards. So, you should take a strategic approach when selecting your products to best cater to your donors and increase your efficiency. Here are our tips:

  1. Consult your data
  2. Ask your donors directly
  3. Seek out products that match your organization’s niche

Without further ado, let’s explore how to find the products that get you closer to achieving your fundraising goals.

Why product fundraising?

If you’re new to product fundraising, you might be curious about its benefits. To begin, here are just a few of the reasons product fundraising can elevate your overall fundraising strategy.

  • Your products will market themselves. If you’re offering branded merchandise, you can convert your donors into marketers for your campaign! By selling branded items, your donors can spread the word about your campaign simply by wearing or using their new items. Furthermore, you can ramp up your marketing by introducing a social media element to the campaign. Have your supporters post photos of themselves wearing the merchandise or using the item. Encourage them to include your campaign hashtag for the chance to win a prize, such as a feature on your blog or another item.
  • It can be integrated into other campaigns. If your fundraising docket is already full, don’t worry! You can strengthen your existing campaigns by including a product fundraising element. For example, you can use your products as items in your next auction. Or, you can make your product fundraiser a peer-to-peer event in which your supporters operate their own merchandise sales on your behalf. A peer-to-peer angle may be especially effective because, according to Double the Donation, prospects are likely to engage in a campaign if their friend or family member is already doing so. Plus, you’ll broaden your potential customer base to those in your supporters’ network who aren’t familiar with your cause yet.
  • You can give back to your donors. A product fundraiser allows your donors to simultaneously support a great cause and get something in return! While many donors give just to make a difference, offering them a tangible token of their support will certainly strike a chord with them and help them remember your organization.

Product campaigns are a great fundraising idea for any organization looking to raise money. Let’s get into our tips for successfully choosing the right product for your fundraiser.

1. Consult your data.

Your data is an invaluable source of information that you should use to inform your fundraising strategy. If you’re representing a seasoned nonprofit, you probably have a database where you store donor information. Here are some of the data points that you should pay particular attention to:

  • Age
  • Employer
  • Family status
  • Time engaged with your organization
  • Hobbies
  • Average gift amount
  • Relationship to your organization
  • Donation frequency

These data points can reveal notable factors that will shape the product selection process. For instance, you might decide against selling school supplies if your donor base is mostly adults without children. If your information is outdated, consider appending your data to get the most accurate information possible.

If you aren’t fundraising for a nonprofit and are instead representing a club, team, or school, you can still use data to guide your fundraising. Most importantly, you should consider your audience. Think about who your stakeholders are and segment them according to commonalities, such as interests or age. This will help you determine which products make the most sense for the majority of your supporters.

2. Ask your donors directly.

There’s no better way to pick your donors’ brains than by asking them about their preferences! Skip the guesswork and directly ask your supporters which types of products they’d be interested in purchasing. The best way to do this is by sending out a survey to your email list or by taking a poll on your social media. Note any ideas that are requested frequently or any new options you think have potential.

3. Seek out products that match your organization’s niche.

With modern customization technology, the sky’s the limit for creating specialized fundraising products! Don’t let your group or nonprofit’s niche limit you from offering products related to your interests.

For instance, if you represent a baking club, ABC Fundraising’s cookie dough fundraiser is a good idea because it fits into your niche. Or, if you’re an alumni group, try branded merchandise from your alma mater. Even if your group or nonprofit doesn’t have a particular focus, you can use general items. Branded clothing items, such as t-shirts and hats, or items like water bottles are always crowd pleasers!

How to acquire your items

Now that you know which products you want to sell, it’s time to put your plan into action. The next step is to source your items, which might be a challenge.

That’s where product fundraising partners come into play. Your product fundraising partner plays a crucial role in your campaign: supplying your products. Once you fundraise, they’ll get a cut of your proceeds.

Starting with a product fundraising partner is simple and has a high return on investment. First, get in contact with a dedicated product fundraising company such as ABC Fundraising, who will inform you of their available products.

Then, choose which items you want and how you’ll collect orders (either online through a fundraising web store or a paper form). Finally, decide how your products will be delivered – either your organization will be in charge of distributing the products or the partner will ship them directly to donors for a fee.

No matter what items you seek out, your partner should have the following:

  • A wide variety of products
  • A great reputation for customer service
  • Easy-to-use fundraising tools (such as online ordering or customizable fundraising flyers)

In other words, your partner should act as an asset to your fundraising efforts. After all, anyone offering less won’t be a true partner!


Done right, a product fundraiser has a plethora of benefits for your nonprofit. This type of fundraiser offers flexibility and adaptability that makes it a great option for any group trying to raise money. To get started, get in touch with a product fundraising partner. Soon enough, your supporters will be representing your organization in style!

Debbie Salat

Debbie Salat

Debbie Salat is the director of fundraising activities and product development at ABC Fundraising - Debbie joined ABC Fundraising in 2010 and is responsible for launching over 6500 fundraising campaigns for schools, churches, youth sports teams and non-profit organizations all across the USA. With over 20 years of fundraising experience, Debbie knows the path to success for fundraisers which she shares with groups on a daily basis so they can achieve their fundraising goals.