T-Shirt Fundraisers by Mallory Scott A New Kind of Fundraiser Are you looking for a new kind of fundraiser for your team, group, or club? The strategy I’m going to describe here puts the FUN back in FUNdraiser. Kids today have to raise money for a variety of activities. It seems that they’re always selling a box of chocolates or showing a catalog of candles to their grandparents. I’ll never forget the year that my brother’s little league team was supposed to sell cheap ice scrapers as their fundraiser. The ice scrapers were not useful on car windows and the kids had difficulty making any sales. This fundraiser is a little different than that. This is the t-shirt fundraiser and it is as unique as the members of your club. In the t-shirt fundraiser, every member of your group designs one tshirt, usually along some kind of theme. The t-shirts are featured on a webpage (that you don’t have to design) and the students compete with each other as to which design will “win” the competition. You can make around $6 for every shirt sold. Parents, grandparents, and other kids in the age group will actually like purchasing the t-shirts because they are the creative work of the child. So, without further ado, let’s get started. What is CafePress? CaféPress is a different kind of t-shirt company. Anyone can set up a shop and sell t-shirts of their own design. You can do this as an individual or you can do it as a group. You prepare your own artwork and upload it to the site. Then you pick the product or products you want it displayed on. When someone else makes an order, CafePress prints that t-shirt (or mug, hat, etc.) and ships it to them. You don’t handle any inventory. You can print your artwork on more than 70 different products including t-shirts, polo shirts, baby onesies, stickers, magnets, buttons, clocks, mugs, calendars, and tote bags. This fundraiser works best when you limit your selection to t-shirts. The t-shirts logos are printed direct to fabric so there’s no transfer line. The images don’t crack after washing. There is a base price for each product. You then add a mark up which becomes your profit. For instance, the value t-shirt has a base price of $8.99. If you were to add $6 to that, the shirt would cost your customers $14.99 which is a good price for a custom t-shirt. There are a couple of costs for this fundraiser, but they’re not outrageous. First of all, you’re going to have to sign up for a premium account. I recommend that you sign up for 3 months which is $18.45 for the package. Then, you are going to need to print out an instruction sheet so your participants will know how to make the t-shirt designs (I’ve included a sample as Appendix A. Finally, I recommend that you print up business cards so the kids can advertise their website. VistaPrint will print 250 business cards free if the kids sign up themselves, or you can do 1 large order of 2500 cards for $35. If you are running this fundraiser as a competition, you may wish to set aside some of the money for prizes. However, prizes in this competition are less important than in other fundraisers because the kids will see value in seeing their own handiwork sold. The Process 1. Sign up for a free account at http://www.CafePress.com. The sign up page looks like this: You see that you will have to put in your email address as your user identification, create a password, have a password reminder question and answer and enter your birthdate. That will take you to this page: If your team or group has a website, you should enter that information in question one. Note that this website should be for your team or group, not for a national organization. A local soccer team should not enter the AYSO organization website for instance. You do not need to have a website to use the CafePress fundraising tool, and it’s okay to leave this blank – just click no. Under target customer, you have four options. Some people set up stores to buy their own creations. Other people choose friends and family. You want to pick the third one – group, organization, or company. Note that some people actually set up their sites to sell to the public at large. Question 4 is when do you plan to launch your company? You’ll probably want about 2 weeks to get the fundraiser in place, so 2 weeks is your best option, though saying you want to start immediately is not harmful. Then, you rate your ability to use the internet. This is for Café Press’ internal data collection. Under current artwork, you should indicate that you’re getting it ready. And you want to sell merchandise (as opposed to books or cd’s). For question 8, you should say “nonprofit/charity.” Then click on the “open your shop” button. The next screen looks like this: You will have to give your shop a name. For instance, if your group is the Central High School Cheerleading Squad, you could choose CHSCheer. If that name was available, your website would be http://www.CafePress.com/CHSCheer. The shop ID must be between 3 and 15 characters. The name you give your store can be longer than 15 characters. You can write out the full name of your organization. Leave the Return Page after Shopping box blank. Then you get to your preferences. You can opt to have affiliates sell your t-shirts or not. If you allow affiliates to sell your t-shirts, you won’t get the full amount of the mark up on that sale. For instance, if a third party affiliate sold a t-shirt from your shop, you would make $5.10 rather than $6 if $6 were your price point. However, if your design catches on in the larger public, you could stand to make a lot of money completely apart from the group’s sales. If you want to make sure that your shop is not listed in Google, check the privacy box. I recommend you leave this blank. If you want to receive information from Café Press, leave the Shopkeeper’s newsletter box ticked. Enter your birth date, agree to the Shopkeeper Agreement, and click submit. Congratulations, you are now the proud owner of a t-shirt company! Unless you are ready to upload artwork and begin selling, you will want to open a basic shop at this point. The basic shop is limited to one kind of design per product. So, if you put graphic “A” on a value t-shirt, you can’t put graphic “B” on a different value t-shirt, but you could put it on a polo shirt. When you upgrade to a premium account, you can have multiple value t-shirts. Now, you go to your group and you ask them to design t-shirts for the site. There are more than 70 products you can design for. I suggest you only choose 1 product. If the people who are going to buy the product are buying it out of a sense of love and obligation, choose the value t-shirt. If you think that the people who buy the shirt will want to wear the shirt often, you may choose to place the graphics on the White T-Shirt. You determine the mark up. If you want $6 per shirt for your organization, the value shirt will cost your customers $14.99 and the white t-shirt will cost them $19.99. You have to determine which amount will produce the most sales for your group. Older teens may want you to let them design for a black t-shirt. You have to decide whether this makes sense for your group. Black t-shirts are much more difficult to design for and they cost more money. The base price for the black t-shirt is $18.99, so with your $6 markup, you’re looking at a $24.99 product. However, if your group makes the convincing argument that they can sell more black t-shirts, you may want to let them do it. Please note here that the $6 figure is the price point I think is best for fundraisers. You can set your group’s take at anywhere between $0.01 and $14.99. If you set the profit margin at above $15, café press charges an additional 5%. Create the Products At this point, you’re ready to turn your students loose on the design process. Each member should submit one design. You may want to have a theme or you may want to let them do their own thing. If your students are too young to use a computer graphics program (and don’t underestimate them), you can have them draw and color pictures and then scan them into the computer and save the scanned drawings as a .png file. If the members of your organization are going to use a graphics program to design the t-shirts, have them save them as .png files and send them to you by email. There are numerous ways to save a computer graphics file including .jpg and .bmp. However, the t-shirts will come out much more professionally if they use a .png file. Ask them to save the file with at least 200 dpi (dots per inch) resolution. The total .png file cannot be larger than 4 mb. The students have a 10 inch by 10 inch area to work with. Any white on the design will be plain shirt (café press doesn’t print white ink). Other colors will be printed directly onto the shirt. The students should print their design out and tape it onto a white tshirt before submitting it. That is what the end result will look like. If the print out is blurry, the t-shirt will be blurry too. If the type is too small to read, the type on the t-shirt will be too small to read. If your group does decide to design for black, you should direct them to http://www.cafepress.com/cp/learn/blackshirts for information on how to create black t-shirts. Give the students a firm deadline for when they need to have the files to you. The next step is for you to upload the designs and create the shop. Upload the Designs and Create the Shop At this point, you’re ready to create a premium shop. Log into your account and scroll down to Shop Management: Click on the manage tab. Then you’ll want to Upgrade to a Premium Shop: Upgrading allows you to sell multiple designs on the same kind of tshirt. You get 15 days of a premium shop for free. After that, it’s $6.95 for one month or $18.45 for three months. If you know you’re going to run a very tight, short sale, you can opt for one month, but most people would be well served to spend the extra money and get three months worth of sales. When you accept the Terms of Service, you’ll go to a screen that lists your shops (you probably only have one at this point, but if you’re running multiple fundraisers, you can have multiple shops.) Click on the name of your shop. That will bring up this screen: You’ll want to go to “Manage Sections and Products.” Click on “Add 1 or More Products:” Under shirts, make a selection. For instance, you could choose “Value T Shirt” or “White T Shirt.” A new screen will pop up with your options: Notice that you can change the value of each shirt from 0-9. I recommend that If you have 6 students, you choose 6 t shirts and if you have 14 students, you upload 9 and then 5. You’ll then have a list of products to be added: Select all of the products (in this case White T-Shirt) and click the orange “Add these Products” button. You will then see the products that you have selected. Now you will be able to upload the design. You will have blank t-shirts in your storefront. Click on the “edit button below the first t-shirt: At this point, you will be asked to select an image. But you have no images uploaded yet. So, you go to the select image button and hit the orange “upload new image” button. You can upload five images at a time. Go to the browse option below and select the images from your hard drive. Hit the upload button. A new screen will come up: You’ll name the design – I suggest you use the first name of the designer – and put in a couple of keywords. You can select a category under the drop down menu as well, but that is not necessary for our purposes. You’ll then get a screen where you can select an image that you have uploaded to put on your t-shirt. Your next screen will show you the t-shirt with the image on it: Hit the next button. This will allow you to choose an image for the back of the t-shirt if you wish. There is no additional cost for images on the back, so if your student designers wish to use this space, they should go ahead and do it. If you have an image, you select it. If not, click the next button. You then have the opportunity to name the t-shirt (again, I suggest giving it the student’s name) and writing a description of up to 200 characters. You will also put in your markup amount, and it will compute the final price. Hit the “save and finish” button. You will then see the t-shirt appear as it will for sale. Promotion Now you’ve got to promote the t-shirts. This is where the competition begins. Let your students know that whoever brings in the most sales with their design will win a small prize or award. Then, give your students the tools to make the sales. I suggest having a bunch of business cards printed up. They could look something like this: Central High School Cheer Team Show Your Spirit – Buy a Cheerleader’s t-shirt design. ______________________’s design can be found at: http://www.CafePress.com/chscheer keyword _________________________________ This way, you can make one business card and let the students fill in their own details. I suggest you have a prize because “winning” motivates students. However, this does not have to be an expensive prize. Because the students are showcasing their own work, they will be motivated to sell the shirts. Conclusion So, there you have it, a step by step guide to a new kind of FUN FUNdraiser. Your expenses are: 1.) 2.) 3.) $18.45 for a 3 month t-shirt account $35.00 for 2500 business cards $20-$30 for a small prize for the student who makes the most sales. Here are three scenarios where you can use this. 2nd Grade Soccer Team: Roger was the coach of the Scorpions, an AYSO team made up of 7 year olds. He had each boy design a “#1 Scorpions Fan” t-shirt on paper and then scanned them into the computer. He told the boys that the one who sold the most t-shirts would get a family pack of tickets to the next Harry Potter film. The boys were able to sell the shirts to their parents, grandparents, older brothers and sisters, neighbors, etc. The people who were approached appreciated that the t-shirts were something they could actually use and were designed by the boys. The 16 member team sold 49 t-shirts making a profit of $294. They would have had to sell over 1100 candy bars to make that kind of money. Rebecca Mays is the cheerleading coach at Bloomingfield High School. Her cheerleaders are some of the more fashion conscious students at the school and their graphic designs were popular among the cheerleader’s classmates. Rebecca suggested that the girls design shirts around the school mascot “Mustangs” but the girls shot that idea down. Instead, they each created a design around the theme of “spirit” which was enthusiastically received by the students at the school. The 24 members of the squad sold 409 t-shirts for a total of $2454. Jim Gradziolla was a youth pastor at Living Waters Fellowship. He wanted to have a fundraiser to support activities for the teens and ran across this idea to design t-shirts. He proposed that the members of his youth group design Christian t-shirts and then have a sales contest. He promised a collection of Christian music (which he had received as a gift at a recent conference) to the winner. 16 students in the group submitted designs and promoted them. One t-shirt was featured on the Café Press home page for a couple of days and sold like wild cakes. Because of this lucky break, the group sold 128 t-shirts making $768 for activities. Your next fundraiser could be a success when you have your students design t-shirts and sell them through the Café Press fundraiser system.