Game-changing charity tees

Running a charity fundraising campaign can be a lot of pressure, especially when there are so many worthy causes competing for people’s money and support. While there are a number of elements that go into running a robust and successful campaign, one of the first and most important steps is just getting people’s attention. 

Branded charity t-shirts can be incredibly effective ways to do this, whether as fundraising tools in themselves, a way to raise brand awareness, or simply for supporters and volunteers to wear while campaigning. (For further reading, check our guide for tips on how to pick the perfect font for your t-shirt; or for a relevant case study, check our guide to the best t-shirts for London Pride.)

What makes a t-shirt campaign a success is a special kind of alchemy, but there are a few approaches that seem to help achieve the best results. Whether it’s collaborating with a well-known designer or celebrity, or going down the humour route, there are a lot of ways to get your message out there. Here are some examples of memorable charity t-shirt campaigns to give you some inspiration.

Stonewall Housing

Stonewall Housing fight to create safer spaces and to end homelessness within the LGBT+ community, and they, like most charities, host regular fundraisers to support their work. Recently they were donated a run of tees by ICON to sell at these events (pictured on the left, below), and they have proven a really successful way to generate revenue. People are even more excited to give money when they get something in return, so selling these simple but stylish tees has been a great way to get people to open up their wallets, while also highlighting their new House of Stonewall initiative for ambassadors for the charity.

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A massive THANKYOU to our friends at @idealflatmate for sponsoring our pride T-shirt’s this year! • • • Who’s as excited as we are??? 🏳️‍🌈 🏳️‍🌈 • • • #londonpride #blackpride #countdown #gay #lgbt #lgbtq #loveislove #lesbian #love #bisexual #instagay #gaypride #queer #projects #home4all #transgender #houseofstonewall #trans #asexual #bi #like #follow #gaylove #nonbinary #gayman #lovewins #lgbtpride #londonpride #london

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Breast cancer awareness charity CoppaFeel are focused on educating women about self-examining their breasts, helping give them the best possible chance of surviving breast cancer. As with their name, their marketing and campaigns are a great example of how humour can help break down people’s reservations around intimate issues. Successful t-shirt sales have been driven by collaborating with stars such as Gabrielle Aplin for the below t-shirt, printed by ICON, all featuring each woman’s cartoonish doodles of a pair of breasts. 

Help Refugees

The ‘Choose Love’ campaign by Help Refugees is a collaboration with iconic punk artist and designer Katherine Hamnett, most famous for her 80’s ‘CHOOSE LIFE’ tees. The ‘CHOOSE LOVE’ tee is instantly recognisable as one of her designs, and is a perfect example of a charity tee that will be bought many times over by people simply because of its stylish design. Collaborating with Hamnett was also a smart choice given her fame, and the charity have seen increased support thanks to celebrities wearing the tees in paparazzi photographs and on instagram.

Surfers Against Sewage

Surfers Against Sewage marry their love for the ocean with their drive to keep it clean. Fighting against pollution on a local and national level, Surfers Against Sewage have seen their straightforward message bolstered by sales of apparel. The charity have created a huge range of merchandise in line with their ethos, such as this local campaign in East Dulwich, on ICON-printed eco-friendly organic tees. (If you’re worried about clothes waste, check our guide to the charities offering clothes recycling solutions.)

Shrill Society

Sometimes a great t-shirt design comes before it finds its cause. Amanda Brinkman was a self-taught designer looking for an outlet for her rage with trump when she designed her ‘Nasty Woman’ tee. Before putting it on sale she realised another way to stick it to the orange man would be for proceeds to go to Planned Parenthood, and thought she might raise a little money – the tee sold 10,000 units overnight, and Amanda was floored. Fast forward, and she now runs Shrill Society, a fundraising effort dedicated to women’s issues selling a variety of her designs.

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Impeachment vibe 🍑 (pic by @kellyhandro)

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Red Nose Day

One of Britain’s most iconic charities, Red Nose Day has always run immensely successful fundraising campaigns through sales of their red noses, but few people would actually wear them out and about. Working with designers from Stella McCartney to Victoria Beckham on yearly designs has helped Red Nose Day get grown-ups in tees that promote their efforts, and not just for one day of the year.

Amnesty International

T-shirt fundraising doesn’t have to be campaign specific, and can be a long term revenue stream for any charity. Keep it simple, and people will be happy to pay for a classic design they know is also doing good work. The Amnesty International logo is a symbol known the world over, and their understated black crewneck is an equally famous piece of design. Here at ICON, we’re proud to say we’ve worked with Amnesty on a number of occasions to produce t-shirts and tote bags featuring the classic logo. 

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The right to protest discrimination and the right to freedom of expression must not be curtailed. Not now, not ever. #TakeTheKnee #TakeTheKneeNFL #TakeAKnee

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Everpress Supports Grenfell

When the Grenfell Tower disaster happened a number of businesses mobilised to support the community impacted by the tragedy. For its 2019 50/50 campaign (where 50 artists design 50 tees for charity), Everpress partnered with community organisers Justice4Grenfell (J4G) to sell designs from a wide range of artists and creators, giving 50% of profits to the artists and 50% to J4G. The campaign focused on the idea of visibility, and galvanized further support for victims two years on from the tragedy.

Looking to create custom merch for your charity campaign or community project? At ICON Printing we can deliver fast turnaround custom printed t-shirts, tote bags, and we can discuss discount options for charities. Get a quote in 2 minutes online.