Case Study: How a non-profit drove fundraising merchandise sales and donations with FormPay

Updated: May 27, 2024

Published: May 27, 2024

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Yarrow Intergenerational Society for Justice is a non-profit organization from Vancouver in Chinatown and Downtown Eastside, dedicated to helping low-income, Chinese speaking immigrant seniors. Yarrow offers them free access to culturally appropriate food, casework, arts, technology, and exercise—all activities which depend on community donations to fund. We talked to Beverly Ho, Operations Manager of Yarrow to learn about how they used FormPay to sell merchandise for their fundraiser.

The fundraising initiative

Since Yarrow doesn't charge membership fees, we rely on annual grassroots fundraising to fund our work. In the past, we’ve sold tote bags and publications made by Chinese youth and seniors, but this is the first time we’ve tried to start a merchandise line, including t-shirts and sweatshirts, to increase our fundraising efforts from product sales.

Person with Yarrow merch

Online sales issues before finding FormPay

In the past, we tried a lot of bigger, more popular online sales alternatives like Wix and Shopify, but we encountered issues with them. 

Despite how much they cost and how complex they were, we couldn’t get some simple tasks done like scheduling order pickups. We would have had to install plugins, which cost more money, just to have a scheduling feature. 

As a small non-profit, we weren’t equipped to manage and maintain all these details just to figure out our transactions. In fact, we had to use a workaround with Calendly for scheduling pickups, which was another complex and confusing service that our staff had to figure out just for a simple transaction process.

Discovering FormPay

Then we discovered FormPay, which solved all our problems for us. Its interface is easy to use and the only fees are a small percent from purchases, and all the features we needed were all part of the service out-of-the-box. 

We especially loved the feature where customers could add an additional donation to their purchase, and the easy-to-use ordering process where they could select a pickup time before placing the order. 

FormPay’s interface is smooth and convenient to navigate, and we get automated emails when orders are placed so we can keep track of new orders without even having to log in every time to check. 

None of our supporters had a single issue with using the site or making payments.

FormPay’s interface is smooth and convenient to navigate.”

Yarrow FormPay Shop

“We also increased our sales by 100% compared to our last attempt, and additional donations amounting to around 5% of our sales that wouldn’t be possible without FormPay’s features.” 

Exceeding fundraising goals 

In the end, we reached our fundraising goals, and we even sold out of small sizes for both sweatshirts and hoodies. We also increased our sales by over 100% compared to our last fundraising attempt, and collected additional donations amounting to over 5% of our sales that wouldn’t be possible without FormPay’s flexible features. On top of all of that, we actually didn’t have to spend as much effort as before, too – we saved at least 3-5 hours of admin time per week thanks to FormPay’s convenience.

“[W]e saved at least 3-5 hours of admin time per week thanks to FormPay’s convenience.”

Yarrow merch

Using FormPay to fundraise with merch and drive donations

From our first-time experience fundraising as a non-profit, the most important thing is to have a strong design and screenprinter, and to follow a social media posting schedule. We were lucky as first time merch vendors to work with Formpay and OctopusInk2.0!

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