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Oct 21, 2021 12:57:27 PM by InitLive

Everything You Need to Know About Volunteer T-Shirts

Volunteer Management, Volunteer/Staff Recruitment

Everything You Need to Know About Volunteer T-Shirts

Everybody has a favorite t-shirt in their closet. That t-shirt is probably the perfect level of worn-in, soft, and comfortable at the same time. It might have a photo on it of your favorite band or your favorite baseball team’s logo. Whatever its theme, this shirt holds a special place in your heart and your closet!

As a volunteer manager, you may be interested in creating t-shirts for your dedicated supporters. T-shirts can be a great way to build camaraderie, reward volunteers for their hard work, and promote your volunteer program to a wider audience. 

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In this guide, we’ll review everything you need to know about volunteer t-shirts, including: 

Whether you use t-shirts as a volunteer recruitment incentive, token of appreciation, or simply as a way to identify your team, they can be a highly effective engagement tool. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of using volunteer t-shirts!

 Let’s explore the benefits of creating volunteer t-shirts.

Benefits of Volunteer T-shirts

Volunteer t-shirts are a great way to help each volunteer feel like they are an important part of your team. They make a great welcome gift and can be customized with their name and role on it along with your organization’s logo. However, t-shirts aren’t just a great opportunity to get creative and flex your design skills—they offer tangible benefits to your organization. Volunteer t-shirts can:

Here are the four benefits of creating volunteer shirts.

  • Help you identify volunteers during events and opportunities - As a simple identification tool, volunteer and staff t-shirts are highly effective. When everyone’s wearing the same thing, you can easily point out your team in case you need to gather everyone or ask someone to do a specific task. 

  • Build team spirit - Volunteers will feel a sense of belonging and camaraderie when they’re all dressed alike during the volunteer activity. 

  • Reward volunteers for their efforts - You can use volunteer t-shirts as an incentive and distribute them after volunteers have completed their tasks. You can design special shirts that are different from the rest for those who went above and beyond to show your gratitude.

  • Advertise your volunteer program to a wider audience - When your volunteers wear your organization’s t-shirts while out and about, they become walking billboards for your cause. Also, volunteer t-shirts add legitimacy to your volunteer program. They help enhance your brand recognition so that anyone who sees your shirts automatically associates them with your program. Plus, volunteers will be impressed by the professionalism and unity that your shirts represent. 

Designing your volunteer’s t-shirts will go a long way in benefiting your organization in several ways. Your volunteers will feel encouraged and excited to volunteer as they will feel like integral members of your team.

You have a few options when it comes to determining when to distribute your volunteer t-shirts.

When to Create Volunteer T-shirts

You may want to design volunteer t-shirts and distribute them for multiple occasions. For instance, they can be distributed directly before any volunteer opportunities begin. This is a great option if you want volunteers to wear their shirts throughout the volunteer opportunity. 

They can also be distributed after volunteers complete their activities as a reward. You can wait to distribute your shirts until your opportunity has concluded, using them as a token of appreciation. Or, perhaps you want to stir excitement early and distribute your volunteer t-shirts a few weeks before your opportunity or event. You can mail the shirts if you don’t want individuals going through the trouble of finding your office or headquarters in person to collect them.

Think carefully about the type of volunteer experience you’re hosting to determine when and how to distribute your t-shirts. For example, if you’re hosting a virtual experience, you may want to send your shirts through the mail, so volunteers don’t have to meet in person. Or, if you’re hosting a 5K event, you might want to distribute your shirts ahead of the event so you can identify volunteers and they can identify each other on race day. 

Remember to offer a wide range of sizes both in men’s and women’s styles. You can collect this information during their sign-up process and store it in your volunteer database. Consider choosing different t-shirt colors for different roles to make it easier to organize your volunteers on the day of your event.

Here are five best practices and ideas to help you create and distribute your volunteer t-shirts.

5 Volunteer T-shirt Ideas and Best Practices

Designing your volunteer shirts is quite exciting and you may have many ideas in mind to ensure your volunteers will love them. Here are some general ideas and best practices for creating and distributing volunteer t-shirts:

1. Optimize your T-shirt branding.

Think carefully about how you want to design your t-shirts depending on the occasion, time of the year, and location where your volunteering activities are taking place. Here are the design elements to keep in mind:

  • Colors - You can use your organization’s colors or the colors for your event. Think about the conditions volunteers will be working in to choose the right shade. For example, if volunteers will be working in the hot sun all day, you probably want to avoid dark colors like black, dark gray, and dark blue. If volunteers will be working outside, doing a hands-on activity like gardening or trash removal, you might want to avoid light colors like white or yellow that would easily show stains. You can also offer different colors for different roles, such as light blue for those working check-in and green for those helping with parking. 

  • Logo - Will your shirt feature your volunteer program’s logo, your event’s logo, or another type of imagery altogether? Having a logo on your volunteer t-shirts helps your community start to recognize your organization. For example, if you’re hosting a marathon run, volunteers can wear their t-shirts ahead of race day to spread awareness of your event.

  • Style - These days, t-shirts come in many styles, including short sleeves, long sleeves, baseball t-shirts, crewnecks, and v-necks. Think about the time of year and the nature of your volunteer opportunity when determining what type of shirt to get. Wintertime will be great for warm, cozy long-sleeve shirts and sweatshirts, while summer is good for short sleeve shirts.

Here is an example of a volunteer shirt.Here is an example of a volunteer shirt.

2. Reach out to the community for ideas.

If you can’t decide how you want to design your shirts, turn to your community for help! Ask volunteers and other audience members to send in their best t-shirt design ideas for your upcoming event or opportunity. Then, send out a poll on social media asking followers to vote for their favorite shirt. This is a fun and engaging way for everyone to have a chance to design volunteer shirts and get involved.

3. Ask volunteers about their T-shirt sizes when they register.

You can easily collect volunteer t-shirt size information by including the question in your registration process. Store each individual’s t-shirt size in your volunteer management system for easy reference in the future if you decide to order a different type of shirt. This saves you from having to reach out to all your volunteers again and again to ask for their sizes.

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4. Include any corporate and donor sponsor logos.

If you’re hosting a sponsored event, like a 5K race or festival, you can use your event t-shirts to promote your individual donors and corporate sponsors as a gesture of thanks. Be sure to ask sponsors to send in their logos well ahead of time and remember to specify the logo requirements, including color, size, and file type.

5. Reach out to multiple companies for quotes. 

Ask around for quotes from multiple t-shirt providers before making your final decision. T-shirt prices tend to vary, and it’s essential to find a balance between quality and price. This ensures you stay within your budget while offering volunteers something valuable that will last for a while. 

Plus, some t-shirt merchandising companies like Bonfire offer an easy way to turn your t-shirt sales into a fundraising opportunity. Once you design your shirt, you can promote it indefinitely using your online store, and you’ll gain access to 100% of the profits from your campaign. 

Consider ordering extra shirts in case your volunteers forget their shirts or may have ordered a size that does not fit right. Then, decide on how you will distribute your volunteer shirts, whether you want to mail them or have volunteers come to your headquarters to pick them up. You can also hand them out on the day of the event so your volunteers won’t forget to bring them.

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Wrapping Up

There you have it! Now that you’ve learned some of the benefits of offering volunteer t-shirts to your team, it’s time to start designing accordingly. Remember to use a suitable style according to the conditions your volunteers will be placed in and allow volunteers to participate in the designing process if you need ideas. Your t-shirts will be a powerful engagement tool and will excite your volunteers. 

If you’re interested in learning more about volunteer management and engagement best practices, check out these additional resources:

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