Swag - new, existing, etc

Discussions on CFA Swag. I’d like to see a list of what is available, and a list of desired swag, as well as discussing a swag store.

On the CfA side, you’ve seen most of what’s available. The grey t-shirts and track jackets are our main swag.

If there is a resounding call for other items of swag, we can figure out how to make that happen. I know some brigades were thinking of a swag store as a fundraising opportunity – this would complicate things over simply giving swag out, but perhaps it would be worth it!

Who else is desiring swag stuff?

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It seems that there is interest in the store partially as a way to have multiple official designs, maybe some are limited run, etc. But more so, to take the burden, no matter how small, off of the Network team from having to box and ship jackets/shirts whenever. It seems that maybe brigades should get a quota of X free track jackets, but then if folks want more, or shirts, or whatever, they just buy them and the order/shipping stuff is not something Chris or whoever has to do.

I really like the Brigade shirt that I got for volunteering at the Brigade Lounge. I feel like that should be something brigades can either purchase or work towards. That, and the track jackets of course :stuck_out_tongue:


It would be cool if brigade members could buy some swag from CfA as a way to support CfA + their local brigade, choosing which brigade to support during checkout (and maybe how much to add as just a donation to both/either).

Not that I want brigades to turn into swag slingers, but I think there are a lot of members out there that both want to rock some cool swag promoting ideas they care about AND support their brigade+CfA at the same time, and it might be handy for brigades to not have to individually set up the infrastructure for this.

Seems like it could be a win for everyone, though we’d have to be very careful of the optics that it’s CfA exploiting brigades or commercializing civic tech. Maybe being extremely transparent with the monies could help with that, e.g. showing on the product page a breakdown of how the price divides into hard costs/cfa support/brigade support, showing a breakdown again in aggregate during checkout, showing running totals of funds raised and their allocation

I also wonder if selling swag might be more than swelling swag–I get a sense that there’s a lot of latent desire in our communities to financially support us and we’re lacking concrete paths to action. For someone who already feels like they should support their local org, seeing a cool shirt they like and then getting the option to contribute $10/mo to their brigade during checkout might provide just the kick in the pants they were waiting for.

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We’ve been talking about this locally here in LA. People ask if they can buy our t-shirts, which we only give to core team + volunteers. We’ve been thinking about starting up a merch store with designs specific for selling purposes (to keep the core team/volunteer stuff special and separate) and to act as a fundraiser. How to do this transparently is a question at the top of my mind.

I think there is a need too. I want to show off my civic tech love even in ways other than wearing t-shirts! I don’t get to wear t-shirts at work, unlike some people… :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: Enamel lapel pins are super popular right now. Also, @janmic and I (plus some others) were talking about potential Craftivist-style rogue swag. See: https://craftivist-collective.com/.


While I see the opportunity to raise money, my personal interest is in making it easier to access swag for solidarity and moral. I think @ninakin has a solid point about having the items on the theoretical store be separate from the leadership swag that CfA distributes. This allows the brigade to retain the distinct look amongst leadership while still making it easy for brigades to swap cool hacktivist apparel, fake tattoos, stickers, buttons, pins, etc.

It reminds me of scouts. Love em or hate em. The core uniform is formally defined. But it doesn’t always need to be worn… and when it is not being worn, the scout shop sells lots of other apparel, unofficial patches, pins, etc. that still shows scout pride etc. We are not that formal or militaristic, but it is the same split notion of a uniform (track jacket, jeans, and 1999 Air Jordan’s), vs regular hack hang-out wear (a ‘no one is coming’ t-shirt, rugby shorts, and Vans).


Speaking of scouts… hand embroidered badges maybe? Or cool civic craftivist cross stitching quotes like this:



or this - functional embroidered circuits:


Have any of us ever setup a storefront? Sorry - have any of you all setup a storefront? Cuz… I have not.

Good point… Not in this context as a fundraiser for a group using another group’s non-profit status. I have no idea how this works. :flushed:

oooh YASSSSSS, would LOVE to do these

I have set up many storefronts via cartloom, stripe, wordpress plugins, etc but not for our brigade yet…

Any idea how taxes work? Or does it count as a donation since we fall under non-profit status?

@ninakin My understanding is that only donations where nothing is received in return are tax-deductible. So, we could use the profits from each item of swag to fundraise, but not offer tax-deductible receipts.

Even if theoretically it is possible to separate out the base cost from the profit, CfA’s accounting system is (likely) not equipped to handle that situation.

So you should count on these items not being tax-deductible for purchasers.

@tdooner what about for stuff sold in general? do purchasers have to pay sales tax, and would CfA have to pay taxes like private businesses?

California nonprofits are not exempt from sales tax.

The tax man is coming for us and our swag. I hope nobody makes a difference to buy/pass up a t-shirt because of whether they can deduct it on their taxes.

(especially now that deducting things on your taxes is pretty much impossible)

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Anything optionally paid on top of the purchase as a one-time or recurring donation in an “oh hey while we’re charging your credit card…” form should be easier to separate out though no?

@tdooner cool, sales taxes are fine, i just wasn’t familiar with any potential differences cause i’ve only set up e-commerce for businesses, not non-profits.

@chris +1 on that additional donation idea.

I’ve been a boy scout leader, doing the official popcorn thing, as well as setting up an independent scout troop fund raiser, manufacturing cement garden stones which we sold at great profit. I often use the scout metaphor to describe the relationship between CfA and the Brigade network, and I agree with @nFlourish that it works well to have some basic branding that can be built upon.

I’ve also been a swag slinger in various situations - some to make profit, but mostly to promote an organization/cause and not lose much money. Here’s what I learned from that: there is a lot of labor involved in resale and the margins are small.

The rogue swag/ craftivist stuff that @ninakin, @elb and I have been kicking around is more about providing stuff that makes people curious about what we’re up to. I think traditional and quirky swag are complementary ideas, and there is a need for both.