Quick Guide to Starting a High School T-Shirt Fundraiser

Running a student-sponsored fundraiser is tough work, especially when your project team consists of just a small group of people. The good news is that ordering and selling t-shirts is one of the easier ways to raise funds for your sport, club, field trip, or charity.

The design process is a great chance to flex your creativity and the sales process will boost your marketing expertise – it’s a great project for any group. You already have the tools, you don’t need any upfront investment (if you collect the orders first), and this guide will help you strike up the motivation and inspiration you need to get started.

Boys in classroom_1093Considering Context and Target Audience

You would think that choosing a t-shirt design would be simple just plug in the school logo and pick a color and go, right? The process can be simple if you want but we suggest borrowing a few techniques from the marketing club to make sure your t-shirt sales hit record highs.

The key is to study context. Capitalize on an upcoming event, like an upcoming holiday or event like homecoming, and let the interest generated from the event do your t-shirt marketing for you. T-shirts are great for end-of-the-year fundraisers, while hooded sweatshirts would be a huge hit just before a big fall-season home game.

Analyzing the target audience is a little trickier. High school students are often fashion-conscious and you can sell a lot of t-shirts just by offering something that looks good, that everybody can wear, and that is understood to be “limited edition”. Go beyond the basic white tees and piggyback on the current trends whether your schoolmates are current into tie-dye, stripes, graphic tees, etc.

Here is the most important part: make sure that you market your shirts. Even if you are taking orders first (a smart way to avoid ordering too many), you should still order at least two or three of the shirts that you want. This is the only way to see if your design came out right. You can display these prototype t-shirts to generate buzz and double or even triple your orders.

Covering All Your Bases

Your school administrators can provide a wealth of information that can help you estimate the number of t-shirts to order, and the sizes to order them in. The problem is that your fundraiser is going to be different from the typical t-shirt giveaway scenario that the school staff would ordinarily undertake coordinate with a teacher or administrator who has managed the fundraisers in the past, even if you are working on behalf of a small extracurricular club.

To increase sales, consider offering custom shirts for the ladies, longer tees for taller people, and order a few extras in larger sizes to accommodate for brands that run a little small and students who may have chosen the wrong size. A wider variety equals more potential customers and better results. Tall students, for example, often avoid these types of fundraisers altogether but you can capture that audience with the addition of “tall tees” to the order form.

Get excited! You don’t need to sign a contract with a fundraising organization just to raise money for your club or cause. With online print shops and the ability to promote the fundraiser via email and social networks, half of the work is already finished for you. With a little effort, fashion sense, and basic business skills, you’ll be able to create a shirt that students love and can’t wait to buy.

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