The Proof is in the Products
ORE ASSOCIATIONS AND organizations are starting to realize the power of promotional products. In the past, some [nonprofit] organizations would be skeptical about spending money on a pin because they felt every penny should go to research. We’ve now seen that nonprofits are realizing that they can increase their donations by offering a small item.”
These sentiments expressed by Kelly Grant, vice president of business development at Sonoma Promotional Solutions, Sonoma, Calif., should give distributors interested in the nonprofit/cause-related market reason to rejoice. It is precisely this kind of thinking that has been instrumental in the growth of the promotional awareness product category, with many suppliers now offering entire product lines dedicated to awareness. Here, two suppliers pinpoint many of the causes that are beginning to take center stage and the kinds of products that would suit awareness efforts well.
Most would agree breast cancer awareness has been by far the most recognizable cause-related initiative in recent memory. One reason for this is organizations dedicated to raising breast cancer awareness have successfully created an arsenal of reminders—the use of the color pink, traditional forms of advertising, outdoor events and of course, promotional products.
However, there are other equally important causes that require the same amount of publicity breast cancer awareness enjoys. Grant advised distributors to tap into organizations that raise awareness for the following: autism, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, amyloidosis, Lupus, skin cancer, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, AIDS and organ donation.
“Most grocery chains are focusing on breast cancer awareness, but Alzheimer’s leads diabetes as the sixth leading cause of death,” Grant said. “Maybe if different companies diversified their causes, we could raise awareness and funds for multiple diseases.”
Along those lines, Shelley Sake, director of sales and marketing at Evans Manufacturing, Garden Grove, Calif., suggested support for U.S. military troops as another option for distributors looking to diversify donations. “Behind pink breast cancer ribbons, supporting our troops with yellow awareness ribbons comes to mind immediately,” she said. And ribbons are exactly the products Sake said are ideal for organizations looking to promote any case. “Anything in the shape of a ribbon symbolizes awareness and support,” she explained. In fact, Sake noted 80 percent of Evans Manufacturing’s awareness line comes in 29 colors, so “we’re very capable of producing items in the awareness color of choice,” she said.