Getting started with t-shirt fundraiser for your nonprofit

Churches and Nonprofit organizations rely heavily on donations and events to stay afloat. But, unless you’re a large organization with a lot of donors, your organization is probably struggling to pay bills. If this sounds like you, then you need a t-shirt fundraiser

When it comes to getting started with a t-shirt fundraiser, all I can say is, “ the times they are a changing.”

Getting started with t-shirt fundraiser for your nonprofit

A few years ago, my singing group organized a benefit concert to fundraise for a small Christian Elementary School in Southern California. As the leader of the group, I was in charge of making sure that we kept our expenses to the minimum and also that we sold a lot of tickets to cover our expenses and raise enough money for the school.

About 4 weeks before the concert, we discovered that we had not sold enough tickets. Actually, we had only sold about 20% of what we needed in order to break even. We did not have a budget for advertising and so we had to come up with a plan. The plan was to sell t-shirts before and during the concert.

The t-shirt printing process was very frustrating. We wanted to save money so we had to buy our own plain t-shirts at wholesale price and took them to the printers for printing. The fastest turn around we could get was 2 weeks. We had no other choice but to go ahead with the printing.

Well, two weeks came and the t-shirts were not ready. I did a few trips to the printers to try and speed up the process. We finally got the t-shirts about a week before the concert. We had a hard time selling them because people are busy during the week and so I had to force every member to buy 2 t-shirts each and gave them 10 each to sale.

On the day of the concert, we had about 120 t-shirts that we had for sale if we were to raise any money for the school. Well to cut the long story short, we managed to sell all 120 t-shirts during the concert and also sold more tickets on the day of the concert than we had sold previously. We were able to raise enough money to cover our expenses and donate to the school.

Thank God that times have changed now. Groups no longer have to physically buy plain t-shirts and drive them to the printers in order to have them printed. Today, you’re able to sell t-shirts without even touching or seeing them. The power of on-demand custom print t-shirts is upon us. In this article, I will show you how easy it is to start and run a profitable t-shirt fundraiser for your nonprofit organization.

From the story above, you can tell that selling t-shirts is a great way to raise money for your nonprofit organization. One proven factor that makes donors keep giving is when you provide something of value and t-shirts are a great value for the donors.

Getting Started with T-Shirt Fundraiser

In order to be successful with your t-shirt fundraiser, you will need the following:

  • Website
  • Graphics
  • Email List or social media
  • Free online printing account


Having a website is very important for a nonprofit organization. This is your online office where people go to learn about your organization and your missions. For the sake of this article am going to assume that you have a website.

I do recommend a WordPress site for this to work. I do understand that most nonprofits go for the free websites but those have limited functionality and may not work. If you need help moving your site to a WordPress platform, shoot me an email and we’ll be glad to help.

If you need affordable fast and reliable Hosting, Check out TMDHosting. They have a 65% Discount on hosting. You also get free SSL and Domain. You can start right away with as low as $2.95 a month.



If people have to spend money on the t-shirts then you have to make sure that you have very good graphics or messages on the t-shirts. Remember you want to create value for your donors, therefore, you cannot compromise on quality. You want people to feel proud and happy to wear your t-shirts. Above all, the people will become your advertisers. They’ll tell others about your product and others will come to your store and buy the t-shirts as well.

Things to Look Out For.

It is very tempting to just put your logo on the t-shirts and sell. This might work depending on your target customer. But, you’re trying to fundraise so having your own logo as the main message on the t-shirt might not work.  You’re not a brand yet so people don’t want walking around with a big logo of some unknown nonprofit on their t-shirts. You want to have very good graphics or some inspiring messages. So people will buy the t-shirts because they love your message or the graphics.

You may be asking how would people know about the organization if I don’t put my logo? Well, below is a very good example of a well-designed t-shirt that utilizes the front and back printing areas.

If you’re designing several designs, make sure that you’re consistent with the design. You’re building a brand, therefore, you must control every aspect of it. This includes the t-shirt quality and colors. It is therefore recommended that you buy samples before kicking off your t-shirt fundraiser. That way you have a feel of your own mechandize.

Email List or Large Social Media Following

Remember that you have an online store and your target customer is the online shopper. It doesn’t help if you advertise to people that have no internet access or those that have a hard time using the internet. Your best audience is the online community. This is where a good email list comes in. If you have one, then this is the time to send out that email that tells your donors about the new product and provide them with a direct link to the store.

Social media is also great for selling your t-shirts. It is however very important to tell the audience your story and why you’re selling the t-shirts. A well-designed landing page will be great for this as its job will simply be to sell the t-shirts.

Free Online Printing Account

If you go to google and search for custom t-shirt printing, you’ll get a lot of results. In this article, I’ll talk about one printer because I’ve had very good results with them. The account is free and easy to start and it integrates with woo commerce and WordPress very well. There’s a direct link to the printer’s website at the end of the article.

I’ve talked about why you should sell t-shirts and that you can start right now for free. I’ve also talked about the things you need in order to start and now I want to conclude by giving you a clear picture of how everything works and why you should get started today.

The first thing to do is to create an account with the printers. The account is free and very easy to set up. Once set up, you will then connect the account to your website. They have very detailed video tutorials on how to do this. I also have a video below to help you get started.

The next thing to do is create your graphics and upload to the printer’s website. You can have someone create your graphics for as low as $5.00 on Fiverr.com. Or if you feel inspired to do it yourself, they’re some free online tools like Canva.com.

If the integration is done right, you should see your website populate with your t-shirt designs.


How do you get paid?

Well, you first have to advertise your t-shirts. People will come to your site and buy the t-shirts. When they buy, they’ll actually be paying the printer and the printer will send you the profit. For example, the printer might be selling a t-shirt for $11.00 and you sell it for $20.00. The difference is $9.00 and that’s the money they send you.

The great thing about custom printing online is that you never have to do any shipping or even store the t-shirts. Everything is done by the printers. When someone buys, the printer does the packaging and shipping. The only thing you have to work about is the advertising.

Get Your T-Shirt Fundraiser Started Today

Now that you’ve seen how easy it is to start selling t-shirts, I want you to take action now. As you’ve seen from my story above, t-shirt printing has changed and that fact that you can start without any money for inventory makes it even more appealing.

Click the button below and it’ll take you right to the printer’s website and sign up for a free account.




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Nelson Musonda

Nelson Musonda

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