How to promote your cause on a budget

Money always seems tight if you run a nonprofit. After all, you didn't get into this sector to make big bucks, but to help people and advance your cause. However, how do you actually get more members of the public to notice your organization and check out your website and actually click donate?

Many times, using free forms of marketing such as social media isn't enough to get strangers to contribute to your nonprofit via your online fundraising tools. In other words, sometimes you have to spend some money to make some money. With that said, how can an organization responsibly and inexpensively promote itself without breaking the bank? You might find the answer in promotional items. 

Boosting impressions
Sometimes nonprofits must think like for-profits. With 1.5 million nonprofits in the U.S. today, according to The Advertising Specialty Institute, organizations need an effective way to get noticed. If you want to boost your profile but not go overboard on expenditures, items such as branded T-shirts or tote bags can get your nonprofit's name and message out to the public. 

Studies show promotional mugs and apparel have a better return on investment than radio or television commercials or other forms of advertising. People on the streets are bound to see someone donning a T-shirt or carrying a bag or umbrella with your nonprofit's name on it. 

A variety of uses
Promotional items also have a variety of uses. As a nonprofit you can give away branded T-shirts, bags and pens as gifts to get the word out about your organization. After you've established yourself, however, you can then limit the number of products you give away. Apparel and drinkware , like coffee mugs and pint glasses featuring your nonprofit's logo and name, also make for great thank-you gifts to donors who tend to pledge money at higher levels. 

These rewards to your donor base also help your nonprofit in a variety of ways. Not only are these products a thank you to your supporters, they'll also continue to gain impressions whenever the donor wears the apparel or takes a sip out of his or her  mug. 

Promotional items have a one-two punch by letting your donors know how much you appreciate their support and by extending the reach of your nonprofit's brand. 

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