Creative Ideas for Fundraising Freemiums

One of the quickest ways to build your portfolio is to help local nonprofits raise funds for their causes.

Even local nonprofits with large national organizations backing them – organizations with million-dollar fundraising budgets – can use your help. Local agencies are frequently expected to do their own fundraising. This gives you a tremendous opportunity to break in by working for a nonprofit with a “name.”

When you work with small organizations, however, you may be called upon to do more than just write or design a direct-mail package. You may also be asked to come up with ideas for free premiums – freemiums, as they’re called in the industry. And you might be asked to produce them as well.

So, to help you help your clients, here are some ideas for popular freemiums, and places to find them or ways to create them yourself.

According to Target Marketing magazine, most nonprofits try to stay between $.50 and $2.00 per freemium. So you’ll want to discuss the budget with your client before developing one.

Freemiums you can design yourself:

  • Note Cards – Greeting cards and note cards are popular freemiums, especially close to the holidays. The front of the cards often features an image that’s related to the mission of the organization, with the organization’s logo on the back.

The cards can have a greeting inside, but they don’t have to. Fundraising packages I’ve received recently include 6-8 cards with envelopes. Inexpensive sources to research for printing note cards are www.vistaprintcom, www.overnightprints.com and www.giggleprint.com.

These companies can take most file types. You can design the card yourself (within their specs) and upload it to their site. Or you can design the card at the card site. (This usually limits what you can do, however.)

You’ll also want to check local printing companies. You may do as well with a local printer as you can over the ‘Net, depending on how many cards you want to print.

  • Mini-Art – One of my clients partnered with an artist to offer a limited-edition wildlife drawing to donors who gave a $100 or larger donation. The freemium was a mini-copy of one of the drawings on a linen-texture paper (which added to its artistic feel and perceived value). These mini-art pieces were printed in black and white to keep costs down.
  • Booklets – Booklets are common freemiums with religious nonprofits. They can be small enough to fit into a #10 envelope or large enough to require a 9" x 12". They can range from a half-dozen to 20 or 30 pages. The most common booklet size is 8 ½" x 5 ½". (Using standard sizes helps cut costs.)

Booklets can be printed and bound by local printing companies. Also check with www.printingforless.com. They do a good job, and can print booklets in both full-color and black & white. For example, 1,000 full-color 16-page standard size booklets run about $1.57 each; in black & white, $1.06 each.

  • Bookmarks – These give you a great way to reinforce an organization’s mission with a relevant design and short message. They’re inexpensive to produce and easy for people to hang onto. To increase durability, print bookmarks on coated card stock. You can order custom leather bookmarks at www.americanleatherclassics.com, and www.promotiontopia.com.
  • Calendars – Remind donors about an organization all year long with an attractive calendar. These can be business-card-sized calendars with six months on each side, desk calendars, flip calendars, or wall calendars. I’ve received small calendars that can fit in a #10 envelope as freemiums, and flip calendars as premiums for a donation.

Other popular freemiums you can suggest testing:

  • Stickers
  • Labels
  • Seed packets
  • Pens (to fill out the donation card)
  • Key rings with the organization’s logo
  • Rosaries/crucifixes
  • Necklaces

There are a number of companies specializing in creating products your client could use for freemiums. The most important thing is to make sure the freemium ties into the message of your fundraising package.

Here are a few companies you can direct your client to: www.freemiums.com, www.apromotionaloutlet.com, www.imdelivers.com.

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Published: December 13, 2007

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