Nonprofits are always looking for new ways to garner support for their causes and show their thanks to generous donors.

Especially when your supporters are already giving so much by donating to your organization, it’s important to offer engagement opportunities that are convenient for them. Product fundraisers present an easy, fun, and effective way to connect with your supporters.

In this guide, we’ll explore how your nonprofit can plan and successfully host a product fundraising campaign by covering the following topics: 

  • What Is a Product Fundraiser?
  • 5 Great Product Fundraising Ideas
  • How to Succeed With a Product Fundraiser

Before you can strategize and plan a successful product fundraiser, you must understand the basics of this initiative and how it can benefit your nonprofit. Let’s begin with some product fundraiser basics.

What Is a Product Fundraiser? 

Simply put, a product fundraiser is an impactful way for nonprofits to boost funds and supporter engagement by providing a product in exchange for donations. 

In your path to enacting social change, this type of fundraiser has three major benefits in addition to raising money for your cause. Product fundraising:

  • Converts new supporters. A product fundraiser can introduce your cause to people previously unaware of your organization. For these potential supporters, take product sales as an opportunity to share your mission, the impact of their donation, and other opportunities for them to get involved.
  • Engages existing supporters. Let your volunteers take the reins and fundraise on behalf of your organization. Enlist your key stakeholders, beneficiaries, and volunteers to sell your fundraising product. As a result, they’ll feel more connected to your mission and impact. In addition, this redistributes your work and allows your staff to focus on planning more extensive, long-term fundraising campaigns.
  • Shows supporters your appreciation. When supporters receive a tangible item in exchange for their donation, they’ll feel their contribution was appreciated by your organization. Product fundraisers can also give these donors a reason to increase their regular donations or donate multiple times throughout the year.

Moreover, product fundraising is easily adaptable for different organizations, situations, and causes. If you decide to host a product fundraiser, determine who will lead the initiative, the timeline for the campaign, and exactly what product or products you’ll offer.

5 Great Product Fundraising Ideas 

Product fundraising isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. Just as your donors have a range of interests and needs, there are a variety of product fundraisers to match. And with product fundraisers, the sky’s the limit. 

Double the Donation’s list of product fundraising ideas recommends the following products: 

  • Popcorn: Your supporters will be particularly interested in trying unique, out-of-the-ordinary flavors such as cinnamon toast, strawberry shortcake, and dill pickle. 
  • Candles: Candles make great gifts for friends and family. Every time a supporter lights a candle from a product fundraiser, they’ll think of your cause. 
  • Holiday decorations. Schedule this product fundraiser around relevant holidays for the greatest impact. Consider pairing this with an in-person or virtual event—such as “design your own ornament”—to add value.
  • Branded merchandise. Products branded to your organization, such as t-shirts, mugs, or hats, allow donors to rep their support and offer your organization free, continued publicity. Look for manufacturers who allow you to design and sell your customized merchandise without any upfront payment.

When deciding on the product for your fundraiser, get input from your target audience. Ask a sample group of trusted supporters which products interest them. You might provide a list of potential products or ask for their product suggestions.

For example, a coffee fundraiser—even with the best coffee in the world—would likely fall flat if your supporters only drink tea. But if you know your supporters love a good deal, discount cards might be a crowdpleaser. Ultimately, the most successful product fundraisers will give supporters a product they’ll love, use, and enjoy.

How to Succeed With a Product Fundraiser 

Once you’ve decided which product you’ll offer, you should take several additional steps to support the success of your fundraiser and reach as many people as possible:

  1. Set a goal. Plan the amount of money you want to raise, the number of donors you hope to reach, and the number of products you’ll aim to sell. Part of setting your goal should also include determining how the raised funds will be used and the impact they’ll have on specific programs or initiatives. 
  2. Determine your timeline. The length of your fundraiser will depend on the type of product you choose. For example, ABC Fundraising suggests having a cookie dough fundraiser for a period of two to three weeks. If you’re hosting a seasonally-specific product fundraiser, make sure to time it to allow enough time for products to ship and arrive by the appropriate time.
  3. Reach out to supporters. Market your fundraising campaign across a variety of channels, including your website, social media, and direct mail. Keep supporters updated on how close you are to reaching your fundraising goal and how they can continue to get involved.
  4. Take it online. Selling your products online is an easy way to engage donors who are not in your geographic area and those unable to make in-person purchases. Optimize your website and product fundraiser web store to make it easy for supporters to buy your products and share your fundraiser.

Don’t overthink it! A product fundraising campaign should be easy and fun to manage and require little investment of time or resources from your organization. If you follow these steps and choose a product that your supporters want, your fundraiser will be a hit!