One of the best gifts I’ve ever received wasn’t diamonds, a puppy, or even a teenage mutant ninja turtle playset. It was a humble tote bag. This one’s real special though. It’s huge, I mean, really big. And it was designed especially for me.
It has a distillation of my cliched brand essence emblazoned across it. The things I love. Hackney. Politics. Progress. And cats. (And it’s all in Helvetica. Swoon)
I wear my heart on my shoulder, and carry it with pride. And it starts conversations, with like-minded folks, and with those more sceptical wherever I go.
Full disclaimer: my love of a good tote goes beyond this one present. To me, they could be the fundraising future – or at least an exciting experiment. They occupy a unique place smack bang in the centre of a virtuous Venn diagram that we in fundraising should really be paying attention to.
- They help save the world (because carrying plastic means you hate, well everyone).
- They’re cheap enough to come by – even eco, organic, ethically made ones.
- In a world where ‘personal branding’ is actually a thing, they’re a hands-free protest placard.
In fact if a brand or organisation gives me one for free – and it connects with who I am, and who I want to be – they’ve got a walking bill-board for at least six months.
So what happens if you do this? Distill your charity’s essence, its core rallying cry into a message on a tote. And you offer it as a gift for people to carry around.
The people who take you up on your offer – they’re the ones who are ready to wave your placard high. So you start a conversation with them. And chances are, if they like you enough to shoulder your message, they’re going to care enough to get closer to you (maybe even cough up some cash).
In the months ahead, looking at GDPR and listening to supporters, we’re going to be talking a lot more about creating content that people *really* want to read, to watch, to share.
But before then – how about we start with creating something that people really want to wear, and take it from there?
(And in case my impassioned reasoning hasn’t inspired you to get in touch, we’re building an exciting case study to back it all up. In fact, the results we’ve seen so far are *totes* amazing…)