How to Fundraise for Your School with Custom T-Shirts

How to Fundraise for Your School with Custom T-Shirts

Raise Funds for Your School With Custom T-Shirts

Getting those custom t-shirts made for your school fundraiser seems like an easy way to raise some cash. But doing it right takes some planning. As parents of school-aged kids, we totally get the constant need for fundraisers and donations. It can get old fast, even when it’s for a good cause.

So we wanted to share some tips to make your next custom t-shirt sale a big success. This way you can raise more money and avoid mistakes that waste time or money.

Know Your School’s Rules on Fundraisers

Before you start designing shirts and collecting orders, check if your school or district has rules about fundraisers. Many set limits on how many a school club can do per year. There are also often rules about using the school logo and name.

Getting approval first avoids issues later. The last thing you need is to print all the shirts then find out they broke some protocol.

Pick a Good T-Shirt Fundraising Company

There are so many t-shirt printers out there these days. It can get overwhelming trying to pick one. Here are some things that matter most:

  • Pricing Obviously you want a company that offers wholesale pricing and discounts for big orders. But don’t just look at the shirt costs. Make sure to factor in things like shipping, setup fees, and minimum order sizes too.
  • Quality Most fundraiser shirts are basic cotton tees. But even with those, quality can vary a lot. Getting samples of shirts from printers you’re considering can help. Check things like:
    • Shirt weight and softness
    • Print quality and durability after washing
    • Overall construction and seam strength
  • Order Process Does the company offer an easy way for you to collect orders and payment online? Can customers order directly from the printer? Things like custom storefronts, sizing charts, and other tools can make your job a lot easier.
  • Turnaround Time You’ll likely get more orders if you can deliver the shirts quickly. See if the printer offers faster production and shipping for an extra fee. Things like local printing and drop shipping can help too.

After comparing a few options, we’ve had good experiences with Custom Ink for school fundraisers. Their prices and quality are solid. And they offer great order management tools.

Choose a Shirt Style People Will Love

It’s tempting to just go with the cheapest shirts. But take some time to pick a style people will be excited to wear. Here are some ideas:

  • Soft Styles Premium shirts in super soft fabrics like ringspun cotton, triblend, or poly-cotton blend tend to sell better. They simply feel and look nicer for not much more money.
  • Fashion Fit Consider a stylish fit like a v-neck, scoop neck, tank, or baseball tee. These tend to appeal to students and parents rather than boxy crew neck shirts.
  • Color Variety Sticking to one or two shirt colors can simplify ordering. But offering a rainbow of color choices broadens appeal. Just be sure to reach minimum order quantities.
  • Long Sleeve Option Crew neck long sleeve tees make great fall and winter fundraiser shirts that people can wear for years.

Design an Awesome T-Shirt People Love

Most fundraiser shirts are covered in big logos and text shouting the cause. They can actually deter buyers. Instead, focus on creating a cool design people want to wear over and over.

  • Keep Text Simple A bold school name, mascot, or club name looks sharp. Avoid cramming in lots of text about the fundraiser details no one will read.
  • Incorporate Trendy Graphics Work with student artists to create fun illustrations featuring school themes and personalities. Vintage sporty motifs and abstract geometric shapes are hot now too.
  • Use Photographs Go beyond clipart. Showcase great school photos of sports teams, bands, events, etc. This makes it more meaningful.
  • Make the Back Special While the front grabs attention, use the back to tell the story. List important info like the cause, event details, date, etc.
  • Add Bling Consider enhancements like glitter, foil, and puff ink to make shirts pop. Just don’t go overboard with anything that adds a lot more cost.

Take Preorders to Guarantee Sales

To ensure you order the right shirt quantities, get preorder commitments first. Here are some tips:

  • Create Order Deadlines Share order dates at least a month before you need to place the shirt order. Create some urgency with preorder discounts. Collect payment up front.
  • Advertise Everywhere Take preorders at games, school events, on social channels, etc. Send email blasts and paper flyers. Visit classrooms to get the word out.
  • Offer Fun Incentives Get kids excited to sell shirts to parents, family and friends. Offer prizes for top student sellers like gift cards.
  • Make Ordering Easy Use user-friendly online stores through your t-shirt printer. Make paper order forms available too for those not online.

Price Your Shirts to Make a Profit

With all the details involved, pricing shirts right takes some math. Here’s what to consider:

  • Wholesale Shirt Cost Get quotes for your desired shirt quantity and specs from a few printers. Be sure to include all fees and shipping.
  • Profit Margin Goals Decide how much profit you want to make per shirt. Many schools aim for $5-8 profit but set goals based on your needs.
  • Recommended Retail Price Take your wholesale shirt cost and divide it by your desired profit percentage to see the price you should charge.
  • Round Up Set your price at a rounded-up, even number. For example, $18 rather than $17.63. It’s easier for buyers.
  • Compare to Retail Make sure the price doesn’t exceed what people would pay for a similar retail shirt. Keep profit goals realistic.

Market the Sale Like Crazy

You did all that work to make awesome shirts. Now make sure people know about it!

  • Leverage School Channels Promote the sale in morning announcements, school newspapers, websites, social media pages and more.
  • Email Parents Send out emails with the details plus easy order instructions. Follow up reminder emails help too.
  • Post Flyers Blanket the school and surrounding neighborhood with eye-catching flyers about the shirts a few weeks before sales close.
  • Advertise at Events Set up a booth at school games, plays, concerts and academic events. Bring samples to show off.
  • Reward Social Sharing Encourage teachers, parents and students to share posts about the shirts on their own social pages. Offer small prizes for the most shares.

Plan a Fun Shirt Delivery Day

Make the shirt arrival a fun event everyone looks forward to. Here are some ideas:

  • Build Excitement Keep reminding everyone of the delivery date as it approaches. Consider covering up an on-campus statue or landmark with a giant shirt the day before.
  • Hand Out at School Events Distribute shirts at a game, concert, dance or other well-attended event to draw a crowd.
  • Make Them Work for It For class and club shirts, make students participate in a silly activity first before handing them out. It’s a fun, shareable moment.
  • Capture Smiles Have an official school photographer on hand to take photos of kids being goofy in their new shirts. Great for the yearbook and social media.
  • Party Time Host a pizza party, ice cream social or other tasty celebration after shirts are handed out. Kids can instantly sport their swag.

Keep Up Momentum for Future Sales

Don’t look at custom shirts as a one-time fundraiser. Follow up each sale with things that make the next one even more successful:

  • Gather Feedback Survey students and parents about what they liked and ideas for improving future shirts. This helps with better designs.
  • Announce Totals Communicate to the school community how much profit the fundraiser brought in and what it’s going towards. Shows the impact.
  • Share Photos Collect photos of people around town wearing their shirts. Post these on school social pages and future shirt sale promotions.
  • Offer New Styles Tweak the design each year to create new demand. Consider long sleeve versions and different colors too.