Make a statement, bond a team, and raise money for a good cause – it’s not surprising that charitable activities and screen printed T-shirts so often go hand-in-hand. Grandma’s cupcakes might taste magnificent and sell … well … like hotcakes … but T-shirts are bigger and they stay fresh longer.
Inedible or not, there are still quite a few ways you can put T-shirts to work for fundraising:
- Team-themed shirts can foster team identity, unity and spirit both during and after a fundraising event
- Participant tees can advertise and generate enthusiasm for an event while it runs and become wearable memorabilia (to wildly varying degrees of raggedy-ness)
- Profits from the sales of beautifully designed T-shirts – branded or not – can provide much-needed funds for charity
- Themed T-shirt design competitions can promote community awareness of a charitable cause (recent examples: http://www.basingstokegazette.co.uk/news/8448256.Rosie_s_T_shirt_boosts_charity/ and http://www.wickedlocal.com/plymouth/news/schools/x710522855/Sheriff-sponsors-South-High-T-shirt-design-contest-to-increase-awareness-of-domestic-violence)
- Charity fundraisers can wear branded T-shirts while seeking donations, to draw donors to them and publicise the charity’s identity and purpose
- T-shirts specially designed or signed by celebrity sports stars, musicians or artists can become coveted raffle prizes (check these out! http://www.yellowbirdproject.com/)
Bold messages on clothing can be a marvellous way of making a statement – people really notice them, and a favourite T-shirt might well be worn time and time again, until the poor thing is falling apart and haunting the dreams of half the wearer’s local community. I do declare … and declare … and declare …
Of course, designing one of these threadbare treasured tees isn’t always easy. While many of us love to wear a funny slogan and make others laugh, or help wake others up to a social problem which annoys us, or simply proclaim our support for a cause we believe in, we might not all be quite so keen to wear a colour that makes us look anaemic, or to feel like we’re walking billboards for corporate sponsors of an event. (This last possibility obviously needs to be carefully weighed against the advantages of offering advertising on T-shirts in return for corporate sponsorship, which may well be worth more than profits from sales and continued publicity after the event. It all depends on what you want to achieve!)
There’s no hard and fast rule to achieving ongoing broadcast-by-tee once the shirt has been sold and/or the fundraising event is over and done with, but there IS a simple question which should help steer you in the right direction during design: Will this tee be worn with pride, for its own sake? If the answer is a resounding yes, spare a moment to pity the rag piles. They’ll probably be lonely.