Swag - new, existing, etc

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.


What I would love to see is if CfA would publish some templates for the swag they have made that they care less about controlling… so maybe not for the track jackets, but for example, the “no one is coming…” t-shirt that was presented to Jen P. on stage at the summit. I realize that was a one-off, but there must be a template or image or something of that slogan/sticker/whatever saved on somebody’s computer somewhere. If CfA is not going to try to control that particular apparel then having a copy of what already exists for it would be great… because I can fake it, but getting the right color of blue, the right fonts, spacing size etc. etc. it would be nice if folks that decided to … like… make a home-made printer transfer t-shirt with the slogan, could have the same fonts, spacing, size, color as someone else buying a shirt like that from cafe press for themselves two states away. So - it provides consistency in the swag that does get home made when it is only sorta homemade… not rogue swag exactly, but hand-crafted official swag?


Concerning swag, I only have one burning need:

  • A store where I can buy cool branded/designed things to reward/acknowledge our members, leaders and supporters

I’m not personally concerned about the cost because we usually would only make a handful of purchases per year. I’m not particularly interested in profits or where the money goes. The internet is filthy with companies that make this easy.

I’d love it if CfA would set up a storefront with graphics we could stick on anything and then buy 1 or 10 of them. I googled “custom logo products no minimum” and the first result is a place that offers things like:

I’d love to be able to buy our brigade captains beer steins emblazoned with the “Work on things that MATTER” logo. And it seems very achievable…

I just spotted this service: https://www.printful.com

No-minimum print+dropship on a variety of things with a variety of ecom integrations and a full api

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So what if… this was a way to raise money for the NAC and used the proceeds to help fund brigade travel and other activities? There are a bunch of online stores that are pretty easy to spinup and seems like there’s clear demand. It could even be an annual activity where there’s a design contest that culminates in brigade congress or something.

Also what about jumpsuits?

Image result for nasa sally ride

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I, for one, would absolutely wear a brigade jumpsuit

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OpenSavannah could make a minor killing off stickers.

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So one plan of attack to make this actionable:

  1. Spint up a printful (or better print on demand) store
  2. Generate some embed code
  3. Have a bunch of little stores on local brigade websites, https://brigade.codeforamerica.org/ etc.
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I’ve got The No One is Coming in vector. Will tag you when i upload after dinner.

See: WIKI: CfA Brigade Network Assets/Styles

As some of you may have seen, Code for BTV member @Micah has started a “Zazzle” store to demonstrate a way to create the swag we want. The goal is not to make money… we just want an avenue to obtain one-off swag items that we give as thank-yous to our volunteers for special recognition. Other brigades may want to take a different route and try to sell t-shirts to make money. We think the margin would be pretty low and not worth the effort, but you do you. For now @Micah evaluated a number of online store-front options and chose Zazzle based on a combination of ease of use, diversity of items that could be branded, and low barrier to entry.

Our suggestion right now is one of two things:

  1. Each brigade can spin-up their own store, and we can share designs amongst brigades so you can sell the same shirt from your own store… but you manage your store and the money associated.

  2. CfA establishes a single store, and lets people contribute designs to that store. CfA keeps the money.