Custom Decals are a fantastic tool for any organization- but particularly for non-profit organizations. This post is intended to be a brief overview of their breadth of applications in the non-profit world.
To frame the rest of the post, let’s quickly consider what makes a non-profit a non-profit.
- Non-revenue generating: First, a non-profit may (and often does) generate revenues (even a lot of revenue in some cases). The key distinction between this and other types of for-profit organizations is that it all must go to (1) the cause, (2) the organization, (3) payroll, (4) other related destinations- just not to anyone’s pocket.
- Cause driven: Second, non-profits tend to be organizations built around a particular “higher purpose” – a meaningful movement, cause, or initiative. The intended cause may appeal to a broad base (i.e. support breast cancer research), or more of a cult market (i.e. a campaign to stop a state congressional bill to decrease funding to a particular children’s museum).
- Volunteer Run: Third, while non-profits often have a core staff that is salaried- most of the roles that would be otherwise be paid in a for-profit setting are filled by dedicated volunteers.
Custom Decals = Donations
In the case that a non-profit is generating a lot of revenues- then donations may play only a supplemental role in program funding. In all other cases- supporter donations make up the bulk of incoming funding.
In the latter setting, these incoming funds will likely come from 3 main sources: (1) previous supporters, (2) new supporters, (3) large groups (i.e. corporations, government grants, etc).
The third group is not relevant for our purposes- but let’s talk about (1) & (2).
- Previous Supporters: Custom decals with the organization’s logo, slogan, recent campaign insignia, etc make cheap/ yet meaningful thank yous to send to mail to previous donors- either as a pure thank you (which will tend to encourage future donations) or a loaded thank you (a thank you/ request for additional donation later on).
- New Supporters: Custom decals of the same type make a great skiff to send out with a request for support to a “warm” target market deemed likely to support the cause (i.e. a university sending out a decal/ request to alumni requesting donations for a new building).
Perhaps the biggest thing that non-profits tend to have going for them is the traditionally idealistic nature of their causes. Ideals are what move people. Ideals are what people want to share with others. Their own ideals are what people want to identify themselves with.
Vinyl decals are a perfect product for this. They are essentially small, mobile, billboards that enable people to show the whole world what they care about. Look around at the decals and stickers scattered among the nearest vehicle rear windows. People regularly pay to do this- even when the decal they purchase is from a for-profit business and not an altruistic cause.
The great thing about this is that the purchaser becomes even more committed to the cause- and whatever they stick it to becomes a free advertising piece out in the public, and they your free advertising agent.
Determined volunteers are often called the greatest assets non-profits have. I think it is safe to say that volunteers are most engaged/ helpful when they feel like they are having a meaningful impact, that their efforts are appreciated, and that they are part of a broader community of folks that care about the same thing.
Decals make great gifts to volunteers. They will serve as a constant reminder of the cause they are working for, they will feel appreciated, and it is one more way to help them feel part of a broader community (especially when volunteering means being out on your own- i.e. perhaps going door to door).
The free advertising benefit is still in play here- these volunteers will likely stick their decals on something that they take into public. Every time they take it in public- they continue associating themselves with the cause and generating general awareness.