Creating a campaign centered around the sale of holiday ornaments is a win-win for your organization and your constituents that can help you generate additional revenue and exposure for your cause.
The United States Capitol Historical Society, an organization dedicated to promoting the history of our nation’s Capitol and Congress, has designed an annual Capitol-themed holiday tree ornament — which it sells in its gift shop and online — since the 1980s. The society offers discounts on its ornaments to corporate and association sustaining members of 15 percent to 25 percent, depending on their level of membership, says Diana E. Wailes, vice president of merchandising for the Washington, D.C.-based organization. It also offers custom provenance carding — which validates the ornament’s authenticity — for orders of 100 pieces or more.
In addition, the organization allows schools an opportunity to raise funds through the sale of ornaments. For every ornament sold, the schools receive $5. The schools make the sales, collect the money and pay the organization its share of the income; the organization then sends the schools the number of sold ornaments to distribute.
One tip Wailes shared on making the ornaments work is to theme them annually. At her organization, for example, the theme is historic events. This year is the 200th anniversary of the Fulton Steam Engine. In honor of this milestone, this year’s ornaments — one in porcelain and one in gold — feature images of steam engines taken from murals in the Cox corridors of the Capitol building. Past ornaments have been made of the marble removed from the original marble that made up the Capitol building’s east front steps. The marble is pulverized and added to resin and used to create intricately detailed ornament pieces.
Wailes says these ornaments are very popular and valuable to customers because they represent a little piece of history.