It’s a Whole Vibe

Most people start each day picking up their phone, scanning multiple sources of info for news, social updates and maybe their to-do list. If you are like us, you are also always looking for signs of ‘normal’ along with ways to inspire and share happiness.

Topping the list for most screenshotted and shared right now are brands stepping out of the norm to connect with their audience and we are here for all of it!

Look no further than pimento cheese t-shirts and custom garden gnomes in the Master’s legendary golf merch tent for examples. These highly sought-after items are a study in creating demand and attention for things we didn’t even know we wanted, but now totally need.

As you think through your next promotional campaign, we encourage you to remember much of branding is perception (internal and external) and it can be a huge positive boost to your marketing efforts. Here are five quick examples of scroll-stopping ideas to build loyalty:

  • What’s old is new again…embrace sentimentality and joy for years of the past with retro concert tees, tie dye bags and denim accessories
  • Regional vibes are a yes…from a hat that shouts Ya’ll to a custom tumbler whispering that thing everyone says, promoting what is unique about your city, state or region is always a win.
  • Make ‘em laugh…not one day passes where our team misses sharing a funny TikTok link or hilarious photo. When you embrace humor within your promotions, you are giving your supporters permission to have fun while connecting with you and that equals their attention for the long-term, not just for today.
  • Limited releases create demand… quickly gain traction and drive action from your already-established customer base while attracting new networks with on-trend ideas, like a collectible shirt series, bright socks or quirky puzzle.
  • Positive newsmakers are important…we can’t stress enough that people like to hear how they are making a difference for others, and when you reinforce this message by highlighting positivity, you are steps ahead. Consider bagging your t-shirt with an insert card featuring a personal story or ask your supporters to share their love of your organization by tagging you on social media for a chance to win a unique prize. Pairing emotional connections elevates your giveaways to much more.

And now, we remind you, If you feel overwhelmed by the thought of how to put a plan in place, you don’t need to go it alone. We are here to help…after all, we really like you.

All Aboard for Donor Engagement!


Everyone loves to make a good first (and second, and third) impression, and that is especially important when it involves donor engagement! The donation process shouldn’t just be about filling out paperwork and the medical process. It can also be a memorable experience for donors to realize the amazing, lifesaving difference they are making,

There are several easy ways you can take your thank you gift to the next level while connecting donors to your mission and encouraging more frequent donations. Consider kits!

Simple kits add value by including a variety of information pieces, practical items, and some fun things, too. Many centers provide new donors a small onboarding kit, while others focus kits on specific types or procedures (like apheresis donors.) Or, consider rewarding gallon levels or frequent donor milestones with a special gift box or bag. Lapsed donors could be invited to come back in with a simple “advance” thank you gift. Below are some steps to get started on maximizing your marketing and recruitment efforts with kits!

Step 1: Pinpoint Your Budget

You may be surprised to learn how combining a few low cost items with a powerful insert card featuring a blood recipient’s story can positively impact a donor’s experience. Reflect on what your ultimate goal is for the kits, who your intended audience is, and how you’re planning to use them. When you are calculating your budget, don’t forget to leave room for costs associated with assembly, packaging, and if applicable, shipping. Logoed gift sets are all about creative presentation. These don’t have to break the bank!

Step 2: Choose Your Items

This is our favorite part, and we are here to help you with popular choices!  We can recommend items that have real staying power, while promoting your important message. These can be multiple smaller products or just a few higher-end ones. For an even more cohesive kit, go with products that all fit a theme– for example, a picnic-themed kit could feature a tumbler, blanket, reusable cutlery set, sunscreen, etc.  – and focus on how donors give other families another chance to enjoy the summer. The possibilities are endless here!

Step 3: Decide on Presentation

When it comes to a branded kit, packaging is as key as the contents! The presentation of your giveaway is going to set the first impression for your brand (yes, even blood centers need a strong brand identity!), so it is important to not skip over this step. Here are a few ideas for unique, eye-catching packaging:

Custom-printed mailer box

Polybagged folded t-shirts and insert card promoting upcoming events and a thank you message

Branded tote bag

Logoed paper or plastic bags

Mailing tubes

Organizations big and small want to show appreciation and foster loyalty by recognizing the valuable contributions of their donors, volunteers and staff. The key to a great brand kit is curating several quality promotional products and then packaging them in a way that adds value and brings the whole set together cohesively.

If you can give your donor base a genuine feeling of belonging and connection with your mission, you will have a lifelong life saver AND brand ambassador.

Fresh Ideas–Squeezin’ for a Reason!

We are not sure you know this about us, but we are obsessive about some things. Mostly really good things, like helping our customers surpass their goals, a stable blood supply, attention to detail, pizza, cute dogs…the list goes on. The thing that really makes our whole team excited is new ideas. We live for them and we live for sharing them with you!

Having been around the block a couple of times, we often hear requests for similar phrasing and concepts from centers across the nation. Sometimes, though, a fresh phrase pops up. For example, we recently worked on a concept with the cool people over at the Community Blood Bank of NWPA and WNY and asked if we could pass on the fun to you, blog followers, to illustrate the path from idea to complete campaign.

NWPA Platelet Donor Squeeze1It is a pretty common goal to increase and optimize platelet donations while keeping this unique group of donors engaged in giving often. Community Blood Bank staff were brainstorming and thought of developing a Squeezie Club with custom stress relievers and t-shirts for each high-achieving donor.  What started as a request for “design of a hand squeezing something related to donating….and the words “squeezing for a reason” included with the design somehow” along with a little back and forth about Jimmy Buffet grew into one of our favorite shirt designs of the year so far. Our (incredible) artist worked to keep it colorful, yet affordable and adaptable for future year spin-offs.

The message we want you to hear is, you don’t always have to know what you want in order for us to help you! When you work with us, we can share best practices from customers all over and from our own team backgrounds working in blood centers. You can tell us exactly what you want…or you can tell us what you want to achieve and ask for new ideas. We know not everyone has a giant marketing staff or a creative agency on retainer…and that is exactly why we offer tons of value-added services with orders to everyone without tacking on fees and charges.

Check in to how we can be incredibly enthusiastic about your goals, and we may even tell you about our dogs in the process.

Boot-ya…Quench your donor’s thirst with amazing drinkware!

When I was about 7 years old, our family would go to a certain restaurant on very special occasions. At this restaurant, kids could have their beverage served in a glass boot. A GLASS BOOT! How exciting was that? Very. It was very exciting. I am sure we visited other restaurants when I was a kid, yet, I have a very strong memory of the glass boot at K-Bob’s Steakhouse.This has to be where my (slight) obsession with drinkware began. I wish we could road-trip across America together and randomly survey people about the cups and mugs in their cabinets, in their car cup holders and on their desks. I am convinced that everyone has some favorites that they use often and even carry everywhere.

Americans used about 50 billion plastic water bottles last year. About 83 percent of adults drink some kind of coffee in the U.S. Look around any time of the day and someone is drinking coffee, tea, water, soda….something! So, of course, we are always on the lookout for new ideas in drinkware. We know that one sure way to get your logo in the hands (literally) of scores of supporters of your mission is to brand these cups while giving them a cool and eco-friendly way to drink up. We understand that some people even get emotionally attached to what they use to hold their beverage of choice, as noted in this article from Telegraph.


Currently there is a lot of buzz around stainless steel cups with a lining that keeps ice cold for hours and hours…even days. These also keep drinks piping hot for a very long time…way longer than a commute, football game or campfire. The excellent news is that though there is a name brand of this type of cup that can be more pricey, now there are very affordable and really nice looking alternatives with the same longevity. And if this is not exactly what you are looking for, a simple search on our Promo Store site brings up over 1000 options (including a few glass boots, just saying). Drinkware can be adapted to work with any campaign or project and it is universally useful. Why not give your supporters, employees or volunteers their next favorite cup or mug?


Let’s Get Together More Often…Increasing Your Donor Frequency

Around here, we get really, really excited about fresh ideas and new products. While you focus on the crucial work of recruiting, marketing, collecting, processing and distributing blood, we are relentlessly brainstorming ways to help you meet your goals.
So, we wanted to take a minute to chat about a couple of campaigns that have proven very successful to increase frequency for several blood centers.

Have you ever collected anything? There is a reason that retail stores and other companies have collectible items in a series…because people feel compelled to come back or do whatever is required to have the whole set or win the prize at the end.  From Beanie Babies and baseball cards to Pokémon, the next big thing is just around the corner. Get ahead of the Black Friday ads by making the next big thing saving lives!

Donors tend to gravitate towards campaigns that tie into current events, and we love this very current project:  The Platelet Olympics.

platelet olympics

This center set a specific timeframe for the promotion (that just happens to be in the summer when collections can be a struggle) and asked their platelet donors to set a goal of 6 donations in that time period.  They used very cost-effective car cling stickers for the bronze, silver, and gold awards combined with various gift cards depending on whether the donor achieved 4, 5 or 6 donations in the promotion time period. This is already boosting collections for the summer as this center encourages donors to Go for the Gold!

Chances are you are already thinking about the next tough collection period right this very second. It is no secret that holidays and summer can be a challenge. We worked with another center to focus a series of incentives from Memorial Day to Labor Day and they had a banner year.  The incentives, including a shirt, beach towel and a folding chair, were promoted as Limited Edition (who doesn’t want the limited edition, right?) in the Donor-rita-Ville tropical themed campaign. At the end, the donors who responded were entered to win a cruise. This project increased overall donations, as frequency rates skyrocketed by more than 20% over the previous summer!

When it comes to the holiday season, you can pull back in the donors who responded to a summer campaign like these above with a final piece or you can run a new stand-alone promotion that continues to build their loyalty.  We know that each center or region is different in their specific needs, goals, resources and donor base so, we can adapt to fit very targeted campaigns.

These are just a sampling of the buildable projects we have developed with blood centers – let us know how we can help construct your next goal-busting plan. It is part of our passion to make your life and work easier so you can concentrate on the big picture!