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Top 10 T-Shirt Fundraiser Ideas

Imri Merritt

March 23, 2023

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Fundraising is all about uniting people in support of a great cause, and there's no better way to do that than with custom t-shirts. As an incredibly popular form of self-expression, t-shirts are ideal for fundraising campaigns, capturing people's attention and creating lasting mementos of your event or project.

Here are 10 real-life fundraising ideas centered around custom t-shirts, along with practical tips for running a successful fundraiser. Discover how custom t-shirts for fundraising events can elevate your campaign, leaving a lasting impression and ensuring success.

1. Charity fun run/walk fundraiser

Combine fitness and fundraising with a fun run or walk event where participants buy custom t-shirts as part of their registration. These events can be themed or tailored to the interests of your group or organization. Not only do they promote a healthy lifestyle, but they also bring people together for a good cause.

Charity fun run/walk fundraiser example t-shirts

Examples: A pet rescue group hosting a "Doggy Dash," a nature conservation society organizing a "Trail Trek," or a local school planning a "Color Run."

2. Commemorative event shirts

Capture the essence of special events like festivals, conferences, or gatherings by designing and selling custom t-shirts as fashionable souvenirs. These t-shirts can be sold on-site or online, providing a stylish memento that also supports the event or a chosen charity.

Commemorative event fundraiser shirt example

Examples: A food truck festival tee featuring illustrations of the participating trucks, a sci-fi convention shirt showcasing popular characters, or a film festival t-shirt highlighting iconic movie quotes.

3. Corporate sponsorship tees

Encourage local businesses or corporations to sponsor custom t-shirts featuring their logos, which can then be sold to raise funds for a specific cause. This partnership provides a valuable marketing opportunity for the sponsoring company while supporting a good cause.

Corporate sponsoship tees example

Examples: A regional bank sponsoring t-shirts for a community clean-up event, a local bakery supporting a "Donut Dash" charity race, or a tech company backing a coding competition.

4. Social media challenge t-shirts

Empower influencers and social media users to support a cause by designing custom t-shirts for a specific social media challenge. These challenges can raise awareness, engage followers, and generate funds through t-shirt sales.

Social media challenge shirts example

Examples: A travel blogger creating a t-shirt for a "7 Wonders in 7 Days" photo challenge, a fitness influencer promoting a 30-day workout challenge, or a cooking enthusiast hosting a "Recipe Remix" contest.

5. Band merch fundraiser

Local bands and musicians can amplify their support for a chosen cause or charity by designing and selling t-shirts featuring their name or logo. These limited edition shirts can be sold at concerts or online, making them a unique memento for fans while raising funds.

Band merch fundraiser example

Examples: A jazz band creating t-shirts featuring their logo and a catchy tune title, a rock band selling shirts with their mascot or emblem, or a choir offering t-shirts displaying a musical quote.

6. Artist collaboration t-shirts

Invite local artists and art organizations to merge their creative skills with fundraising efforts by producing limited-edition t-shirt designs. These shirts can be sold at exhibitions, special events, or online, promoting local talent while raising funds for participating artists or art-related causes.

Artist collaboration t-shirt fundraiser example

Examples: A group of street artists joining forces to create t-shirt designs showcasing their graffiti talents, a local art school featuring student artwork on shirts, or an art collective collaborating on a series of t-shirt designs reflecting their unique styles.

7. Holiday-themed fundraiser

Embrace the holiday spirit by creating custom t-shirts with festive themes to sell during the holiday season. Collaborate with a t-shirt company to design seasonal shirts that can be sold at holiday events, markets, or online. This approach allows groups, nonprofits, or schools to capitalize on the spirit of giving while raising funds for their cause.

Holiday-themed t-shirt fundraiser example

Examples: A school selling t-shirts with a whimsical snowman design, a charity offering shirts featuring a heartwarming holiday quote, or a community group creating shirts with a festive scene from their town.

8. Cultural heritage t-shirts

Encourage cultural organizations or community groups to display their heritage by hosting fundraisers during cultural events or festivities and selling custom t-shirts that showcase their pride. These shirts can be designed in collaboration with a t-shirt company and sold at events or online to support cultural preservation, education, or community projects.

Cultural heritage fundraiser example

Examples: A Hispanic heritage group creating t-shirts featuring traditional motifs for a cultural festival, an African heritage organization selling shirts with bold patterns and colors, or an Asian cultural association offering t-shirts with intricate designs inspired by their heritage.

9. Themed race t-shirts

Organize a themed marathon or race to engage participants and raise funds creatively. As part of their entry fee, runners would purchase custom t-shirts designed to match the theme. This approach makes the event more entertaining and memorable while generating funds for a chosen cause.

Themed race t-shirt fundraiser example

Examples: A charity hosting a superhero-themed race, a local theater group organizing a "Costume Caper" run, or a "Pirate Plunder" race, where participants sport t-shirts with a treasure map design.

10. T-shirt design contest

Engage your community creatively by hosting a custom t-shirt design contest. Invite members of the community to submit their original designs, with the winning design being printed and produced in collaboration with a t-shirt company. This initiative allows individuals to express their artistic talents while supporting a specific cause, project, or organization.

T-shirt design contest fundraiser example

Examples: A local library holding a contest for a t-shirt design that represents the importance of reading, a sports team inviting fans to submit designs showcasing team spirit, or a wildlife conservation group encouraging artists to create shirts featuring local fauna.

Tips for successful t-shirt fundraisers

Embarking on a t-shirt fundraiser can be an exciting and rewarding experience, but it's essential to have a solid plan in place to ensure success. By following these proven strategies, you'll be well-equipped to create a memorable and effective t-shirt fundraising campaign that resonates with your target audience and maximizes your fundraising potential.

Define your goals

Clearly outline the purpose of your fundraiser, your target audience, and your financial goals. This will help you stay focused and make informed decisions throughout the planning process.

Create an appealing design

Work with a graphic designer or artist to create a unique, eye-catching t-shirt design that represents your cause or organization. A visually appealing design will encourage people to buy and wear the t-shirts, increasing the visibility of your fundraiser.

Choose quality t-shirts

Select a reputable t-shirt printing company that offers high-quality materials and printing methods. This will ensure your t-shirts are comfortable to wear, durable, and have a professional appearance, making them more appealing to potential buyers.

Set a reasonable price

Price your custom t-shirts competitively to ensure they're accessible to your target audience while still generating sufficient profit for your cause. Consider factors such as production costs, shipping fees, and the target demographic when setting the price.

Offer multiple purchasing options

In today's competitive fundraising landscape, it's essential to explore innovative and engaging ways to sell custom t-shirts and collect funds for your cause. There are numerous avenues to reach your target audience and maximize your fundraising potential.

Utilize social media

Leverage social media platforms to promote your fundraiser, share your custom t-shirt designs, and engage with your audience. Encourage supporters to share pictures of themselves wearing the t-shirts, using a designated hashtag to increase visibility. 

Partner with local businesses

Collaborate with local businesses, schools, or community organizations to promote and sell your custom t-shirts. This can help broaden your reach and tap into new audiences.

Offer incentives

Encourage supporters to buy your custom t-shirts by offering special incentives, such as a discount on future purchases, a raffle entry, or a limited edition item. This can help boost sales and generate excitement around your fundraiser. 

Track your progress

Regularly monitor your sales and progress toward your fundraising goals. This will allow you to make any necessary adjustments to your strategy and keep supporters informed about your success. Examples:

Show gratitude

Always thank your supporters, whether they purchase a t-shirt, share your fundraiser on social media, or help promote your cause in any way. Expressing gratitude can help build lasting relationships and encourage future support for your organization or cause.

Effective fundraising with custom tees

Now you have a range of creative and practical t-shirt fundraising ideas, along with essential tips for running a successful fundraiser. By applying these strategies and drawing inspiration from real-world examples, you can create a memorable and effective t-shirt fundraising campaign that achieves your goals. Jump into our Design Studio and embrace the power of custom t-shirts to make a lasting impact and fundraise for your cause.

Imri Merritt

About the Author

A graduate of the Multimedia program at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Imri Merritt is an industry veteran with over 20 years of graphic design and color separations experience in the screen printing industry.