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How to Create a Charity Gift Catalog

For nonprofits looking to diversify their fundraising efforts and give their year-end campaigns a significant revenue boost, adding a charity gift catalog is a game changer.

Most of us think of massive international relief nonprofits when we think of gift catalogs, but creating a symbolic giving program works for organizations of all sizes and types. Small, local nonprofits benefit from charity gift catalogs just as much—if not more—than large organizations. Gift catalogs also work great year round—don’t limit yourself to holiday season fundraising!

One great example of this: American Leprosy Missions offers two versions of their charity gift catalog. In addition to carefully selected gift items ranging from shoes to surgeries to training, the holiday print catalog includes stories about their groundbreaking work in places like Nepal, Ghana, and Myanmar. A separate digital gift catalog is also available on their website all year round.


What are the benefits of charity gift catalogs? 

Creating opportunities for donors to become more personally involved with your nonprofit is one of the best ways to inspire increased donations, both in frequency and amount. Charity gift catalogs not only foster that personal connection, but also give nonprofits a fantastic opportunity to showcase their work and educate both new and current supporters about their mission, vision, and goals.

How do gift catalogs inspire higher levels of giving? By giving donors a chance to make meaningful decisions with an organization they trust. And the more involved a supporter feels, the more satisfaction they feel, and the more likely they are to give at higher levels.

Think of it this way: Donating $100 and not being sure how it’s going to be used feels much different than choosing to donate $100 to repair a broken water pump.


What are the steps to create a charity gift catalog?

There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to creating a charity gift catalog. In fact, the more unique to your organization, the better! But there are general guidelines to follow, such as selecting a wide variety of gift items, offering multiple ways to donate, and emphasizing the stories that motivate your specific donor base. 

Here are 5 steps to take you from ideating to raising funds:

  1. Define your audience: The traits of your target donor segment will influence the catalog’s theme, how to offer the catalog (digital versus print), what items to include, and the price range.
  2. Select your gift items: Select a variety of items that relate to your nonprofit’s mission and programs, and then price and categorize them. Include a range that would fit with multiple donor segments (e.g., $15 shoes to $1,500 shelter).
  3. Be descriptive: Write compelling descriptions for each gift item and include stories about certain items—how they’re used, why they’re needed, their impact. Go a step further and include inspiring words from volunteers or those who benefit from your mission.
  4. Design a captivating catalog: Design your catalog using high-quality images and graphics as well as fonts and colors that match your branding and catalog theme. Keep the donor experience in mind at all times by making it easy to navigate and easy to make a purchase.
  5. Share and promote: Use multichannel marketing to promote your charity gift catalog to your audience. Tap into social media, send email newsletters, and text your supporters  to help get the word out about your catalog.

Even if you intend to offer it all year long, adding a charity gift catalog into your year-end fundraising campaign is an excellent way to lean into the holiday spirit of giving. Besides giving directly to your organization, supporters can also be inspired to make gifts on behalf of family, friends, or coworkers or even make gifts from their business or community. However you position the catalog, your nonprofit will reap the benefits of adding an evergreen method of inspiring donations.


Looking to give your year-end fundraising campaign a boost?

For more year-end fundraising ideas and to download our comprehensive year-end fundraising toolbox, check out our 8 Weeks of Year-End Fundraising Resources.

Questions?We’d love to help.

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