by Georgia Hadley.
If you don’t already make awareness jewelry as part of your business, you may do well to consider it. It’s very popular, and promotes a good cause. It’s also a terrific generator of goodwill toward your business!
Some Benefits of Selling Awareness Jewelry
- Giving to a worthy cause and helping your community.
- Generating great public relations and goodwill for your business.
- Donations to non-profit organizations are tax-deductible.
- It makes you feel good!
My awareness jewelry line is very simply designed with sterling silver and Austrian crystals. I chose this style so that I could easily use different colors of crystal, which are available in a rainbow of hues, to represent virtually any cause that has adopted an official awareness color.
As the awareness color chart shows, some causes are associated with more than one color, in which case the customer may choose.
Other artists choose to make jewelry designed for a specific cause, commonly breast cancer. This method is also very popular. I choose to make my line versatile so that it will appeal to a wider range of customers and organizations.
Sterling silver awareness ribbon charms are available from a variety of suppliers. Autism awareness is unique in that it uses a puzzle piece charm instead of the traditional ribbon.
However you choose to design your awareness jewelry, keep this in mind:
Although you are giving to a good cause, you are also in business. Be sure to factor in your cost of goods and labor when pricing your awareness jewelry. After your donation, there should still be enough left to at least cover your expenses and labor. Limited promotions are fine to donate 100%, but if you do this all the time you’ll quickly lose money!
Marketing Your Awareness Jewelry
We all have doctors, and they employ nurses. Medical professionals have a vested interest in promoting awareness of medical conditions. Wear an awareness bracelet to your next doctor’s appointment and see who notices it!
Hold a trunk sale to benefit a local charity. Local shops may allow you to hold your show in their space because it will bring traffic to their stores and bring them goodwill as well.
Remember to contact the organization first and get their permission! Non-profit organizations work hard to gain support from the community, and they have to choose carefully which businesses they want to be associated with.
An added benefit of getting the organization’s blessing: They have an interest in helping to promote your event. Be sure to offer their representative a space at the show to greet and educate the public about the cause you are promoting.
Is there a non-profit medical center in your area? Try running a fundraiser where the staff are responsible for getting orders. Pit each department against each other to see who gets the most orders.
Give yourself a reasonable delivery window from the close of sales – say two weeks. Make sure that you have vendors that can provide supplies reliably for this kind of project.
Each member of the winning department gets a special gift (gift certificate), and the medical center gets whatever percentage you determine of the total purchases. This can add up quickly in dollars for the medical center and in terrific exposure for you!
This will require some organization on your part to present a proposal and follow up, but it’s well worth it. Another bonus: Your jewelry will be noticed by lots of doctors and wives of doctors, some of whom will no doubt become regular customers with spending power!
Even if the medical center is for-profit, they can choose a cause to donate proceeds to. As I’ve mentioned before, medical professionals have an interest in promoting awareness.
School Fund Raisers
Admit it, we all dread the day when our little one comes home from school with the fundraiser catalog. Instead of asking already financially strapped families to buy over-priced products from a catalog, why not make a fundraiser proposal to your school principal? Education Awareness Jewelry would be a great theme for a school fundraiser, and would be much more meaningful than $12 gift-wrap!
Remember to consider the economy in your area. You will want to design a line that would be affordable for local families. Include bookmarks and key rings for the men!
Coordinating events like the ones above will require quite a bit of effort and organization on your part, but will be worth it. After the first year’s effort of establishing the contacts and setting them up, they can easily become annual events for you.
Remember, never miss an opportunity to spread the word about your business and the good you’re doing. This helps bring more interest to the event, more funds for the non-profit and more exposure for you.
Some Ways to Promote
Awareness of Your Good Works
Before the event, consider submitting press releases and photos to local print and radio media, as well as TV news channels. Include samples of your awareness jewelry – it may get on TV!
You never know when the local channel will have a slow day. Some days any news is big news, and it may as well be your special fundraiser. Again, I emphasize, get the organization’s blessing before using their name.
After the event is done and sales tallied, send a nice card to your contacts at the organization, thanking them for working with you, and notifying them of the amount that you have raised together. Include your donation check with the card.
Ask your contacts at the organization to consider a joint press release announcing the amount of funds raised and thanking the community. People like to see the results of something they contributed to. It makes them much more likely to do so again.
Always thank anyone who helped you make the event successful, including top sellers. If it’s a school, how about letting the top five sellers choose a special present for mommy? Simple earrings are great for this!
A Note About
Before deciding to work with any organization, be sure to check its credibility. If you have never heard of the organization before, or are not clear on its mission, do your homework and check it out.
Just as it is a risk for a serious, reputable organization to be associated with an unscrupulous business, the same is true for businesses being associated with dishonest organizations. Save yourself a lot of stress and make sure first.
Creating and selling awareness jewelry has been a very rewarding experience for me on many levels. It’s a wonderful way to make a contribution while promoting yourself and your business. Why not make some for a cause that is special to you, and see where it goes from there?
Author Georgia Hadley of My Handmade Life has been a jewelry, handbag and accessories designer. Currently her business focuses on her Fiberphile handmade yarns and fiber arts. Georgia’s work has been published in BeadStyle magazine, and her jewelry designs have appeared in a prominent Chicago-based fashion e-zine.