Cause for Alarm?
She described one instance where a Major League Soccer team wanted a giveaway for fans on breast-cancer awareness night. The team chose a pink soccer knit scarf, which fans could wear at the game and reuse after it. "This was especially effective because the soccer scarves are often collected by fans, and this was a one-time promotion and that particular scarf would never be available again," Piper said.
If your client is set on using bracelets, there are alternatives to silicone. Pinnovative offers a poly-cord bracelet that can be pantone-matched to any cause color and customized for a jewelry-like look. "The stock one that we offer is a circular one and you customize it with a message, but we also do custom charms," Rosenblatt explained. "Because of the price point not being so far out of reach out of the silicones, they're doing great."
More important than what you're selling, though, is how you're selling. Rosenblatt noted that nonprofits aren't the only companies that buy awareness products—many for-profit organizations can use them, too. "In a company, a for-profit organization, they would have a cause-marketing director," she said. "If you can find who that cause-marketing director is of that company, it could be a gold mine," she continued. "Usually it falls under a separate budget than just straight marketing. And they are looking for products that they can use in conjunction with their sponsorship with their nonprofit."
Meanwhile, Piper advised educating yourself on different causes before starting in awareness product sales. "It is important to learn about a specific awareness topic (texting and driving awareness, for example, or breast cancer awareness) and become an expert, then offer products that you are certain will be effective based on the target audience, types of events, etc.," she said. "In short, become an expert on an awareness topic, and then select products. Not vice versa."