Why charity tees?

Matthew McConaughey wearing his merchandise (Credit: @McConaughey)

The printed T shirt has its many uses out in the promotional world and raising awareness of charitable causes is just one of them. So why should you get involved in this burgeoning market sector?

The charity T shirt not only works as a souvenir, but also as a product that will continue to spread the message long after the main event is done.

Take for example Live Aid in 1985. Approximately 1.9 billion spectators tuned in to watch the event live and from that moment onwards relationships between charities and pop culture have continued to grow.

And now more than 30 years later, celebrities both in the music industry and outside of it are designing merchandise with the sole aim of raising funds for charitable causes. Most recently, bands Royal Blood, Wolf Alice, EverythingEverything and Oh see have designed a range of exclusive band T shirts to raise money for Trekstock, a young adult cancer support charity.

Retailing at £22, 100% of the proceeds will go directly to Trekstock and its Yellow Bird Project. The collection includes four exclusive shirts with original designs, ranging from hand-drawn illustrations by the artists to never before seen artwork.

Everything Everything said: “We’re very happy and proud to have been involved in the Yellow Bird Project for Trekstock – a fantastic charity doing incredibly important work all over the UK.”

Even Hollywood actors are not averse to designing T shirts to raise some money for charity.

Famed for his phrase ‘Alright, alright, alright’ in his first major role Dazed and Confused back in 1993 is Matthew McConaughey. He has long been inspired by these words and as such has taken them to his charity, the Just Keep Livin’ Foundation.

The Trekstock tees

The charity that he and his wife, Camila Alves McConaughey, run ,is dedicated to empowering high school students by providing them with the tools to lead active lives and make healthy choices for a better future. By providing after-school programmes the foundation hopes to give under-privileged and inner-city teenagers more options and opportunity.

To raise money for the foundation, Mr McConaughey has just released some limited addition ‘Alright, alright, alright’ T shirts, vests and hats.

Harald Meyer-Delius of Wolverhampton-based Printsome provides some top tips for those looking to get involved with the charity sector.

The benefits of a charity tee

  • Can be a good giveaway: T shirts can be a nice way to give something back to a charity’s contributors.
  • They create awareness: T shirts can be a great marketing tool. Any person wearing a charity’s tee automatically becomes a spokesperson for the cause.
  • They unify: By designing uniforms a charity can create a stronger image of a team. A more cohesive company will generate a stronger impact. Generally speaking, when we see a group of people dressed the same way we assume it’s something big.
  • They’re inexpensive: T shirts are a relatively inexpensive ways for charities to gather money and in some cases, they may not even require any type of investment.

How to design a T shirt for a charity

  • Think of your storytelling. If you want people to support your cause, they better understand what the charity is about right away. The message should be well-designed and clear. What do you want to say? Reflect on it and try to come up with a graphic way to communicate it.
  • Think of your potential supporters. Who’s likely to contribute to your cause? Is it going to be young adults, or is it an older crowd? Are they more likely to be men or women? Are they fitness fans? If the T shirts are going to be handed out during a marathon then it might be a good idea to choose garments with fabrics that can transpire and withstand physical exercise.
  • Think of continuity. Are the T shirts going to be handed out as a onetime thing or is this a once a year event? A tee that’s designed for a specific event will be more valuable as it will create a sense of urgency and can profit from a fleeting design. On the other hand, a T shirt that’s meant to be used over time may have less of an impact, but can feature a timeless design and in the long run create a statement.

A few design ideas

  • Pay a tribute. What’s the reason for this fundraising? Are you trying to help someone in particular or is it a group of people? A T shirt can be a good way to pay homage to them.
  • Say it loud and bold. A picture is worth a thousand words, but sometimes all you need is a clear written message. If your campaign has a powerful slogan then why not print it in a cool-looking font?
  • A nice illustration. Unicef is known for using cute illustrations to sell products and collect donations. The work of a good artist will raise the value of the product and can even create a collection if different illustrations are painted on different pieces.

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