Promotional Products are a tangible, long-lasting AND cost effective marketing tool for organizations of all types. According to Promotional Products Association International (PPAI), the education and nonprofit sectors are two of the top three promotional-products buyers—and for good reason. Promotional products create community, generate awareness through education and advocacy, activate volunteers and raise millions in funding.

Is your nonprofit benefiting from the use of promotional products? Companies, small businesses, and non-profit organizations shelled out over 18 billion dollars utilizing one of marketing’s most effective strategies. Here’s why.  

Insane (But True) Facts About Promotional Products

  • Eight in 10 consumers own between one and 10 promotional products.
  • Fifty-three percent of these people use a promotional product at least once a week.
  • Six in 10 of them keep promotional products for up to two years.
  • Only one in five people will trash an unwanted promotional product.
  • Fifty-three percent of the time, promotional products create a more favorable impression of the advertiser.

Also known as “giveaways,” “swag,” “premiums,” or “incentives”, promotional products like t-shirts, mugs, pens, tote bags, phone cases, etc are given away or sold by an organizations to increase brand awareness, and generate traffic. This industry, which consists of thousands of possible product options, is one of the most important and respected parts of the integrated marketing communications mix. Most often, they prominently feature an organization’s branding.

Do Promotional Products Work?

If you wont take our word for it, than maybe you will trust the results of a fact sheet chock-full of statistics and survey results courtesy of PPAI, a trade organization for the promotional products industry.

To access the complete 10-page study: The Effectiveness of Promotional Products As An Advertising Medium, visit, or contact a promotional consultant for more information on how your non-profit can benefit from promotional products.  

You don’t just have to give your promotional gear away for free.

Plenty of nonprofit organizations have sold branded items to help raise funds for their cause; in fact promotional products can have a bigger impact than you think. Here are the 3 reasons why non-profits can benefit from promotional products.  

  • Promotional products are proven to positively increase an organizations overall image. This is good for you because people tend to support non-profits they like.
  • Success is measured in Impressions, and promotional products rack up impressions by the thousands. In the US, bags continue to generate the most impressions (5,772) of any item measured in this global study. This is because bags are used often in public places where they can be seen by many people. Other items that deliver a large number of impressions are writing instruments, hats, outerwear and shirts.
  • Small businesses, startups, and non-profits alike need to be extra savvy in order to make the most of their marketing dollars. Promotional products have a lower cost per impression in the United States than prime-time television advertising, national magazine advertising and newspaper ads. Plus, while all of these other forms of advertising are often passive, advertising specialties like promotional products allow for much more active interaction.

If your nonprofit isn’t benefiting from the use of promotional products, get in touch with an experienced consultant who can help you come up with a promotional strategy unique to your organizations audience.  

Chances are, you’re already familiar with these items. According to Promotional Products Association International (PPAI), the education and nonprofit sectors as two of the top three promotional-products buyers—and for good reason. “Tangible, long-lasting and cost effective, promotional products create community, generate awareness through education and advocacy, activate volunteers and raise millions in funding,” said Paul Bellantone, CAE, PPAI president and CEO. “Cause-marketing experts, in partnership with promotional products professionals, have developed some of the world’s most renowned and high-performing campaigns, including Livestrong, Susan G. Komen and American Heart Association’s ‘Go Red For Women,’ to name a few. These beneficial branding and awareness programs create community, fund critical research and help save lives.”

The stats bear this out, especially for awareness. A recent study by Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI) found that 85 percent of promotional-product recipients remember the name of the advertiser that provided the item, and that consumers prefer promotional products over all other forms of advertising—including Internet, mobile and television ads. It also found that 52 percent of recipients had a more-favorable opinion of the advertiser after receiving an item.


Then there’s cost. DRTV is a powerful marketing medium for nonprofits, but it’s not always an option for smaller organizations. According to the same ASI study above, the cost per impression of a prime-time television ad is 2.5 cents per dollar. The cost per impression for promotional products is 0.7 cents per dollar—less than a third of the cost for DRTV and less expensive than all other advertising mediums.


They’re also versatile. Peer-to-peer programs often recognize race participants with T-shirts—which, if done correctly, has long-lasting and powerful implications. Many charities include promotional items in mailings, adding heft to mail-pieces and boosting response rates.