Thoughtful Gift Ideas for Any Occasion

In a digital landscape pockmarked with stores and gift options, it can be overwhelming to find the perfect gift.  Studies show that many people struggle with choosing the right gift, and two-thirds of gift givers rely on gift cards when they can’t find the right gift. Narrowing in on an optimal purchase can be increasingly difficult depending on the holiday. Birthdays, anniversaries, reunions and other celebrations each present a unique challenge. How personal should the gift be? Do you really know the recipient well enough to purchase something related to a hobby?

Before you get more overwhelmed, take a breath! It doesn’t have to be that difficult. Consider a custom gift. Personalized or custom gifts have become increasingly popular, as people seek ways to connect with others beyond a material purchase. Custom or personalized gifts offer an opportunity to create something unique. Everyone likes to feel special! Thankfully, the days of relying on a custom gift kiosk in the mall are over. Online stores make it convenient to design a personalized gift for any occasion.

Looking for inspiration? Here are some gifts to consider for each occasion in your life!

Birthdays: Give them something cozy that will remind them of you every day!

  •         Blankets
  •         Scarves
  •         Mugs

Reunions: Whether it’s a class reunion or family reunion, custom apparel is always a hit!

  •         T-shirts
  •         Hoodies
  •         Beanies

Business or Corporate Gifts: Show your appreciation for their hard work with a gift they can use every day!

  •         Blankets
  •         Coolers
  •         Water bottles

What can you customize? Consider adding the recipient’s name, school, business, or hobby. Write a personal message or maybe even a joke only the two of you share. The possibilities are as limitless as your imagination!

No matter the occasion or celebration, one thing remains constant: thoughtfulness is the best gift of all.

Holiday Fundraising: 8 Tips for Success

Did you know that over one-third of all online donations received throughout the year are made within the month of December? When people are in the holiday spirit, they become more generous and willing to donate to fundraisers. If you’re planning a fundraiser this holiday season, keep reading to learn more about our proven fundraising tactics during the holidays. 

1. Recruit Fundraiser Volunteers

Before you can begin fundraising, you’ll need to decide who’s on your team. Invite those who are organized, professional, and have a track record of going above and beyond. Once you decide on the roles and tasks of each volunteer, you can begin creating goals for your fundraiser.

2. Set and Explain Goals

Setting and explaining goals is crucial for any successful fundraiser. Create very specific goals and share them with your team. What are the weekly, monthly, and overall goals? Explain these goals with everyone, including how the money will be spent.

christmas-dinner-for-fundraising

3. Holiday-Inspired Events

Organizing holiday-inspired events is a fun, festive way to raise money and get the community involved with your fundraiser. Let people know about your events through e-mail and social media. Consider asking local chefs to cater your holiday event, local businesses to auction their products, or create an online fundraising store to sell your own holiday-inspired products.

4. Create a Facebook Page

Facebook is a social media platform that allows you to potentially connect with thousands of people. Invite friends, family, local businesses, schools, and churches to your page to share updates, events, and donations with your followers. Social media is one of the best ways to educate others about your fundraiser and request donations.

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5. Add a Sense of Urgency

Setting a strict start and end date will spark a sense of urgency and encourage people to act fast. Communication is most important as the fundraiser end date gets closer and closer. Let people know through e-mail and social media how much money has been raised and how much more is needed to meet the goal. Consider adding a countdown to your website, newsletters, and social media page during the last week of the fundraiser.

6. Find a Social Influencer

It’s not necessary to find a social influencer with hundreds of thousands of followers. There’s a good chance there’s a local influencer located right in your city. It could be a mayor, local business, or blogger. One of the best ways to gain momentum is to ask a local influencer to promote your fundraiser and events.

7. Ask for Recurring Donations

When you ask your donors for recurring donations, they are more willing to donate more over a longer period of time. Requesting recurring donations is a challenge, but you may be surprised by the turnout! Let people know about this option over e-mail and social media. 

 

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8. Award Your Donors

Last but not least, make sure to award your donors! There are several ways to show your appreciation for your donors. Some ideas include sending flowers and cards, highlighting them on social media, sending ‘thank you’ e-mails, or simply thanking them in person. When people feel appreciated for their donations, they are more likely to support your fundraiser again in the future.  

What Happens When You Ask 1,000 Colleges for a Free T-Shirt?

In 2018, Youtuber Caleb Kim was a senior in high school. One afternoon, he began researching different colleges when he came across a blog that inspired him to ask over 1,000 colleges for a free t-shirt. He gathered the email addresses for every single college in America and created a template in Microsoft Excel. The next day, over 1,000 emails were sent to college admissions across the country. 

Roughly a week later, the rejection e-mails and spam mail started pouring in. Caleb began to get discouraged, thinking that his idea didn’t work. The next week, however, the packages started rolling in. Post office crates were filled with t-shirts and left on his doorstep from universities and colleges like Columbia College, University of Rhode Island, Weber State, and Mercy Hurst University. 

The increase in packages piqued the curiosity of the mailman, Caleb says, “I have to wonder sometimes if my mailman thinks I’m some kind of celebrity or something because we get loads of packages every single day.” To his surprise, some packages contained more than he expected. He also received mints, hand sanitizer, a fidget spinner, and a collection of lanyards.

Social media has made it easier than ever to explore creativity and reach thousands of people in unique ways. Caleb proved that everyone is within reach when you engage the right channel! Do you want to show off your high school, college, or university? Have you considered creating your own online store to raise awareness for a cause, or show your team spirit? Customize your own t-shirts, raise money for a fundraiser, or give as a gift to family or friends. Find your school or create your own store today!

Throwback: Graduates of 1982

Graduates of 1982 Infographic

Ahh, the time is 1982. Do you remember what you were doing? We graduated in a time where pop culture was at its peak and witnessed the birth of the most influential piece of technology – the computer. Some remember the ‘80s for the eclectic fashion trends like legwarmers, headbands, and, you guessed it – mullets. You didn’t think we forgot, did you? 

If you were a 1982 graduate, you might also remember the struggle of landing your first job out of high school due to the severe economic recession that affected most of the world. By the end of 1982, the national unemployment rose to 10.8%, the highest it’s been since the Great Depression. 

Despite the hardships, the ‘80s were a time to celebrate and played a pivotal role in society as we know it today. Here are some highlights from the year 1982:

  • The CD player sells for the first time in Japan
  • Michael Jackson releases the iconic album “Thriller”
  • Disney opens the futuristic EPCOT Center in Florida
  • Emoticons or “smileys” were invented 🙂

What’s your favorite memory from 1982? 

Thousands of students have joined our partner, AlumniClass to find their school and old classmates. If you’re planning a class reunion, consider creating a free online store with Apparel Now to raise money for your next event. You’ll receive 12% cashback on each sale! That means more money for things like decorations, food, drinks, and prizes. Create your free store today!

 

Fundraising for a Loved One with Breast Cancer

Most people will meet someone in their lifetime diagnosed with breast cancer. Whether it’s a family member, a friend, a next-door neighbor, or a co-worker. One in eight women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. Most of those diagnosed with breast cancer are unable to work, making it difficult to afford treatments, medical care, or surgery. Even with insurance, the co-pays and deductibles can add up to thousands of dollars. There are several options to help loved ones with the financial burden of a breast cancer diagnosis. 

Crowdsourcing

Crowdsourcing is an effective way to raise money for any fundraiser. There are several crowdfunding websites that accept donations for medical costs, some more popular than others. This can be a successful way to raise money as friends and family can share the fundraiser through social media. The more people who see the fundraiser, the more donations will be received.

  • GoFundMe
    The largest crowdfunding website has raised more than $5 billion from its campaigns since launching in 2008. With medical expenses rising, more people are beginning to use crowdsourcing to raise money. More than 30% of all campaigns created on GoFundMe are intended to help with medical costs.
  • Mightycause
    Has helped individuals and families with medical fundraising for over 12 years. They have raised over $600 million in donations from medical campaigns. Creating a fundraiser is quick, easy and free. There are no setup costs involved when fundraising with Mightycause.
  • FundRazr
    With more than $140 million raised and 150,000 campaigns completed, FundRazr is one of the top crowdsourcing platforms. In previous campaigns, money has been donated to help with medical costs, such as doctor visits, prescriptions, chemotherapy, travel costs, and medical expenses that aren’t covered under insurance. FundRazr is trusted by over 4,000 non-profits and corporations.

Online Fundraising Stores

Creating an online fundraising store is easier than ever. Apparel Now offers fully-customizable online fundraising stores. Simply register your store, upload a logo or design, and share your store link on your website or through social media. An online store is a simple and effective fundraising method that boasts many benefits.

  • Creating a store is 100% free – No risk involved!
  • Receive 12% profit from each sale
  • No minimum or maximum order requirements 
  • Each store is customized for specific needs 
  • Don’t worry about inventory, processing, or shipping

Apparel Now is trusted by more than 3,000 public and private schools, teams, companies, non-profits, and churches. View some of the custom online stores Apparel Now has created in the past and get some inspiration for your fundraiser by visiting their store. Some items you can customize include t-shirts, backpacks, blankets, and hats.

Plan ahead. Breast Cancer Awareness month starts in October. Prepare for your next fundraising event by creating an online store today

Non-Profit Organizations

Non-profit organizations are helpful for obtaining financial assistance, finding treatment, and finding local support groups. Here are a few non-profit organizations that help with these resources:

The Pink Fund
A non-profit that provides 90-day non-medical cost-of-living expenses to breast cancer patients in active treatment.

Cancer Care
Offers limited financial assistance for cancer-related costs and co-pays, plus resources for family members.

Cancer.org
Resources for finding treatments, financial assistance, and finding local support groups.

Susan G. Komen Foundation
Provides financial assistance programs, including those for prescription drugs, medication, transportation, and childcare. 

You can learn more about these non-profit organizations by clicking on the links above. Each organization offers different resources to help breast cancer patients and their families. 

Prepare for a successful fundraiser by utilizing the tools listed above. There are many fantastic ideas to incorporate into a breast cancer fundraiser. Find more ideas and inspiration for your fundraising event today!

 

Top Names For Your Sports League

Are you looking for a creative, unique, or funny name for your company softball team, youth sports team, or any other athletic endeavor that you and your weekend warrior pals are participating in? 

Choosing a name that’s memorable and captures the attitude of your team is important. After all, your team name will be printed onto t-shirts, so it has to stand out! 

We’ve searched high and low to compile the top names for your sports team. Find the perfect name for your team by checking out the list below:

Youth Team Names

Buckaroos
Green Machines
Roadrunners
Thundercats
Little Spartans
Little Giants
Wizards
Boomers
Nuggets
Scrappers

Funny Team Names

Chili Peppers
Boom Shaka Laka
Rescheduled
Block it Like it’s Hot
Interceptions
Goldrushers
Benchwarmers
D-Feeters
Vulcans
Wet Skins

Cool Team Names

Rebels
Fire Starters
Daredevils
Sabotagers
Kamikazes
Captains
Slayers
Wolf Pack
The Force
Terminators

Female Team Names

She Devils
Golden Girls
Venus
Celtic Ladies
Lionessess
Mighty Mermaids
Ladybugs
Hurricanes
Viper Vixens
Slick Chicks 

With the school year almost underway, lots of club teams and other sports organizations in your community will be gearing up for the start of a new season. Will your team be fundraising for within the community to support your local sports teams? If so, you can start an online store where fans of your team can show their support by donning your team colors loud and proud!

Apparel Now can build your personalized store and handle all of the processing and shipping, all you have to do is sit back and reap 12% of all sales to help support your sports program. You don’t have to worry about any inventory or shipping costs. We take care of that for you. All you have to do is set up your store and get ready for the next big game! 

These 5 Cities Love Their Sports

People in the United States are passionate about sports. Whether it’s football, basketball, baseball, or hockey, most of us have our favorite teams we root for. Americans like sports so much that three-quarters of all adults claim to be sports fans. Let’s take a look at the city’s sports fanatics love the most. Is your city one of them?

Los Angeles, California
Home to a handful of sports teams like the Lakers, the Dodgers, and the Rams. Sports are a big deal in Los Angeles – they even have eleven professional major league teams! The Los Angeles Lakers are the most popular and professional team in the United States, winning several Basketball Association of America (BAA) and National Basketball Association (NBA) titles. Students love their school sports team almost as much, if not more, than their big league counterparts. The University of Southern California is represented by the Trojans and it’s the only university in the world that has had a gold medal-winning athlete in every summer Olympics since 1912!.

New York, New York
The “Big Apple” boasts nine professional sports teams, the most famous being the Knicks and the Yankees. Even though football is the most followed and basketball is the most played, baseball is still the most popular sport in New York. You can’t visit without noticing how devoted New Yorkers are to their sports teams. A recent study shows Syracuse University has the most school spirit and love for their sports team than any other university in the United States. If you’re a baseball fan, there’s nothing quite like eating a good hotdog and catching a game at Yankee Stadium. 

Chicago, Illinois
Chicago has been voted one of the best sports cities in the United States several times and when you visit, you’ll quickly see why. There are eight professional teams that play out of Chicago, including the White Sox, the Cubs, and the Blackhawks. The Blackhawks are one of the “Original Six” NHL teams who have won six Stanley Cups since 1926. Those who have attended a sports event in Chicago say the atmosphere and energy is unlike any other. Be sure to check out the Chicago Sports Museum – a must-see for any sports fan!

Dallas, Texas
Texans are known for their love of football. There are six major teams in Dallas, with the most popular being the Dallas Cowboys who were founded in 1960. The Cowboys are the most valuable team in the United States, with an estimated worth of $5 billion! If you’re a basketball fan, you probably already know of the Mavericks. They have the most loyal fan base of all the NBA. If you want to snag tickets to a Mavs game, you better buy them early – They have sold out of 719 consecutive games, which is the best sellout streak NBA has seen yet. 

Atlanta, GA
With five major sports teams located in Atlanta, including the Braves and the Falcons, it’s no surprise this city loves sports. Home to Frank Sinkwich and Herschel Walker, who both played for the University of Georgia. Every year locals can look forward to Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry, a college football rivalry between the Auburn Tigers and Georgia Bulldogs. These two teams have been playing against each other since the late 1800’s! 

If you live in any of these cities, there’s a good chance that you are a sports fan yourself. Show your support for your favorite school or sports team by creating a free online store today! Your online store comes with merchandise that is ready to be customized with your logo, and the best part is, you don’t have to carry any inventory or worry about shipping! With 12% cashback on every order, an online store is perfect for fundraising for your local school, sports team, summer camp, or club.

The Best Fundraising Ideas to Help Defray The Costs of Youth Sports

Participation in youth sports is valuable in many ways to the growth and development of young people. They help instill the values of sportsmanship, teamwork and collaboration, and striving to achieve a group goal. 

But as any parent knows, they can be expensive. Raising money for the team is often a necessity to cover travel costs, safety equipment and other expenses that vary by sport. 

The good news is that communities are generally very eager to chip in to support their local youth sports teams, especially if they are engaged with the right fundraising campaign!

Here are some of the best:

Food Truck Partnership

Partner with a some of the trendy, local food trucks and bring them on-site during games and pep rallies scheduled to generate community support for the local teams! Here’s how it works: The truck owner gives your sports club a percentage of the sales on a designated day or night of the event for all the customers that your organization brings to their business. Most of the time the truck will limit their availability to specific times of the week; usually one their slow days or nights.

A food truck fundraiser requires virtually no planning and very little investment from your group. If the truck owner requires a flyer or coupon to be presented for your group to receive credit, it is very easy to create these items yourself or in some cases the food truck owner will print those up themselves.

Why does a food truck participate in this type of fundraiser? It makes the truck look good. Giving back to the community enhances their corporate image. It gives them long lines on what otherwise might be a slow night. And it also introduces clientele to the food truck that might not visit otherwise.

Custom Apparel Store

With a partner such as Apparel Now, you have the ability to create your free custom merchandise store with us you get so much more than just an online store. We build your free store, we process and ship every order and in return we give you a portion of the proceeds from every sale! Your store can be customized with your logo and colors to meet your specific needs.

You can create an online store in minutes. And, it’s free. We can add your custom apparel directly to your store so supporters can pick their colors, styles, and sizes as well as shop for our other products or give a cash donation. Learn more about an Online Fundraising store or click the button below.

Local Discount Cards

At its heart, discount card fundraising is a simple process: your local sports team goes out to local stores, restaurants, retailers, etc., and asks them to join your fundraising effort by offering a discount of 10-50% to anyone who presents your discount card to the business.  Your non-profit then goes out and sells the discount card for anywhere from $5-$50 to raise money for your group.

Discount cards are a win-win for all parties involved: local businesses get to help the local youth ball club AND generate extra business without taking out expensive advertising, your supporters get to make a donation to your organization and save money at businesses all over town, and your youth sports organization raises much needed funds in a fun and energizing way.

Silent Auction

As we all know, finding new prospects for your organization is tough.  Then, once you find and engage a new prospect, you have to cultivate them, and then try to get them to buy support local youth sports by becoming a volunteer, serving on a committee, or giving a gift.  The goal, of course, is to create a real connection or relationship between the youth sports programs and the person or company you are pursuing.

Silent auctions shortcut this procedure by making it easy for new prospects to find out about, be engaged by, and get involved with your youth sports team.  There are two main types of new prospects that silent auctions bring into your donor universe, item donors and item bidders. 

Item donors are generally local businesses that can be compelled to donate items to help support your team. Bidders are, naturally, those in the community that attend the silent auction event (often held over the course of several days) and bid on the items with all proceeds going to your sports team. 

 

[Infographic] The Dos and Don’ts of Your High School Reunion

Your high school reunion coming up and you are nervous about it.

Here’s a secret, though. Everybody else is nervous, too!

“It’s common for high school reunions to trigger anxiety about appearance and status,” explains psychologist Mary C. Lambia.

As we age, most of us become detached to the self-conscious emotions we exhibited as teenagers, but at class reunions those old insecurities have a tendency to resurface.

Nevertheless, high school reunions provide a wonderful marker of time for your own life and the lives of those you grew up with. And the vast majority of those who attend their high school reunion, however reluctantly, report that the event was important to them, and that the experience wasn’t nearly as daunting as they had imagined.

“At some level you know the judge is in your own head, not in the minds of your former classmates,” adds Lambia

So don’t fret (too much). Go to the reunion. Grab some custom made high school gear, show your school spirit and get ready to mingle and reminisce with the people you were brought up with! And before you go, check out this helpful visualization of the DOs and DONTs of your high school reunion, brought to you buy Apparel Now and our partners at AlumniClass.com.

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The Five People You’ll Run Into At Your High School Reunion

“My how you’ve changed since high school!” is a sentiment we all get sick of hearing, but what hasn’t changed is that when your class gets back together, your high school is just as full of colorful characters as it was when you graduated.

Whether it’s been ten, twenty, or fifty years, whether they were the Prom Queen or class clown, some people never change…but you can always pick out these five people from the crowd. Consider this your handy field guide to former classmates you’ll find at every school reunion.

#1. Voted ‘Most Likely To Succeed’ ….and Didn’t

We all love a good success story, but who doesn’t like a little schadenfreude that comes from seeing the guy voted “most likely to succeed” show up to the class reunion in board shorts and a hoodie despite being well into his 50s and a severe case of ‘failure to launch’ instead?  

In a high school class of hundreds, there are bound to be plenty of wash-ups, or rising stars that never quite reached the heights everyone expected for them, and they’re sure to show up when the class reconvenes for its periodic reunions – some to reconnect with old friends, some to mooch off a night of free food!

#2 The Chatterbox

“Oh my God, my life is so great, hashtag blessed” gets old quick, but there’s always one (or more) at your usual reunion! The person who won’t stop talking about how many life-changing experiences they’ve had, all the things they’ve accomplished and places they’ve been. They’re “living the dream” while you and your other classmates work 9 to 5 to raise a family and make ends meet. Maybe they got rich after school or maybe they just never grew out of the jet-setting lifestyle they were raised in, but one thing is for sure: they sure can talk a lot about it!

#3 From ‘Not’ to Hot (And Vice-Versa)!

Age changes all of us, and high school reunions are a great opportunity to see just how it has impacted your friends and former classmates. New wrinkles and curves pile up every year, so if your high school reunion has an open bar, now’s the time for a drinking game!

At least one of your former classmates will have gone from beauty queen bombshell to trainwreck-in-a-dress, and some of those bespectacled, brace-faced nerds will definitely have grown up into jaw-droppers by the time of your ten or twenty year reunion, so don’t be too shocked if your one-time crush or that prom date you turned down has completely changed for better or worse.

#4 The Real Success Story

Remember that classmate who had ambitions towards becoming president someday? Well now they’re a state senator at the age of 32! That’s right, every class has the success story, that one student who went above and beyond and really crushed that whole “adulting” thing.

Or maybe it’s something less tangible than that – maybe your old classmate was an underachiever who barely graduated, only to completely turn their lives around and are now respectable, clean, and cooler than you’d ever think they could’ve been back when you were in school. It’s these real success stories that show you how much people can really change over the years!

#5 The Star Athlete Who “Could’ve Gone Pro”  

If he hadn’t injured his ACL in senior year, he could’ve been a pro! Talk about team spirit, this guy won’t let it go! The star athlete may have been the most popular man on campus 30 years ago, but everyone else moved on. He still can’t let it go, however, and is trapped reliving the glory days. We’ve all seen this guy lurking by the punch bowl, snagging whoever he can to talk about the big game where he took the school to the championships. It never gets old for him, but it’s old news for everyone else.

Maybe another drink or two will take the edge off, and who knows, you might enjoy hearing those tales of the “glory days” for the 30th time!

There’s one (or a hundred) in every crowd, right? No matter who shows up to the reunion, you’re bound to have a great time seeing where your friends have gone in life. Cheers to another exciting high school reunion!