Working in the digital field, we’re well versed in graphics, gifs, ribbons, Snapchat filters, the list
goes on. But what about tangible objects like stickers, t-shirts, and the classic yard sign? Are
they things of the past? What, if anything, do they have to do with digital?
If used wisely, stickers and other campaign swag can actually can be a nice enhancement to
your digital efforts. Here’s why:
Double the information
When a supporter requests a sticker or other campaign merchandise, they need to tell you
where to send it. So in addition to the usual ask of an email address, you also end up getting
their mailing address, which you can use to connect with them in the future through direct mail,
GOTV reminders, etc.
Campaign swag can be a creative way to refresh your upsell efforts. Throw in a line like “Hey,
thanks for signing up to receive a bumper sticker, will you chip in $5 to cover the cost of
shipping?” and your supporter will be hard-pressed to say no. Some people will feel generous
and chip in more, but even if they only chip in $5, you have a BRAND NEW DONOR! And
research tells us that folks who donate once are more likely to donate again.
Engage new audiences
My first “political contribution” was to buy a t-shirt from EMILY’s List. A friend of mine told me his
first-ever contribution was for a Bernie Sanders “Birdie” sticker. And Hillary Clinton raised over
$2 million with her “woman cards.” Young people typically aren’t thought of as campaign donors,
but the art of campaign swag as a fundraising tactic — first popularized by the Obama
presidential campaign — is changing that.
Walk into a coffee shop and I guarantee you will see a plethora of 20-somethings on their
laptops (free WiFi!). And what will you see on those laptops? STICKERS. Congratulations: Your
campaign just scored a personal endorsement and a mini-billboard, all for the price of shipping
So if you’re looking for a way to switch up your fundraising tactics and bring in new donors, or
you just happen to have thousands of bumper stickers laying around — you might want to try
using some of that swag for your next digital ask.