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How Nonprofit Organisations can use Shopify to acquire new supporters and increase online revenue

Turning cause loyalty into revenue 

You’ve worked hard to establish your nonprofit’s brand and build a community of supporters aligned to your cause. If you think of this support like ‘brand loyalty’, it makes a lot of sense to think about how branded gifts and gift cards can drive revenue for your organisation. Yet few nonprofits are following consumer demand and marketing gift options especially during gifting seasons like Christmas and Easter. 

From the point of view of the nonprofit, these gifts purchased online through an e-commerce platform such as Shopify, on behalf of the recipient can secure an instant connection with them in a way that cold outreach from your organisation cannot.

The recipient of the gift may not be aware of the cause you stand for and the charitable services you provide. This gift creates an opportunity to connect to your new leads. This connection can then be nurtured through a well thought out supporter journey to encourage them to respond to your cause.

Selling branded merchandise

Not only can setting up an online branded store using Shopify as the e-commerce platform,  provide a growing revenue stream for your organisation, it can also turn your supporters into advocates. They can become a walking endorsement for your cause through thoughtfully branded merchandise. 

Also, depending on the ‘gift’ purchased, one of the benefits of operating your charity’s online store on the Shopify platform is ease to update/change inventory based on seasonality and customers’ demands.

These are some of our favourite examples of charity branded merchandise.

  • Charity:water, which has a wide range of online merchandise including Thirst, a New York Times Bestseller written by founder Scott Harrison, and goods like leather wallets and everyday hoodies.
  • Amnesty International’s Charity Shop has a range of books, shirts, stickers, badges and totes that give people a way to show their support of human rights while contributing to Amnesty’s work.   
  •  WWF’s gift store is also a great example of this. From WWF branded mugs to beach tote bags, there’s a myriad of merchandise that supports WWF’s work and shows support for the environment.
  • Social enterprise Thankyou, which relies solely on selling branded merchandise to end global poverty. It’s a different model than a non-profit online store, but one that gives plenty of inspiration for selling ‘gifts for good’. The co-founder, Danial Flynn has also written a bestseller book called Chapter One which can be purchased online and physical bookstores via donation. 

Selling gift cards online

Selling gift cards is an effective way to connect with people who support your charity and want to share their passion for it.  When they purchase a gift card for someone they can either reaffirm the recipient’s passion for your organisation, or introduce them to a new cause (and hopefully encourage them to become a supporter).  

An example of this in action in the not for profit sector is UNICEF’s ‘Inspired Gift’ range. The charity uses a hybrid strategy of physical and digital gift cards to raise revenue for their programs. By assigning priority labels to different cards, UNICEF is able to encourage and funnel donations to specific causes which require funding or that people may want to specifically support, such as child hunger.

Oxfam Unwrapped is another example. 

Even better, e-gift cards that the recipient prints out saves charities from having to manage and distribute inventory.

We helped WaterAid Australia and Starlight Children’s Foundation improve their Shopify powered e-gift store in time for specific campaigns. They can now use the functionality to create  e-gifts to suit a range of seasonal events and campaigns.


If you want help setting up a simple, easy to manage Shopify store, or have specific questions on how it could work for your nonprofit, email or call our digital team today. We’re happy to help.