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How Inkster Uses Business to Fund Nonprofits — With T-Shirts

May 13, 2015 Category: Method

Douglas Wong and Jonathan Dubrowski created Inkster Inc. as a platform for artists to build their brand and earn money through selling shirts. On its website, artists can upload their t-shirt designs free of charge, and in return, receive $5 for each t-shirts sold.

Inkster Cares is based around the same model as Inkster Inc., but instead of artists getting money for their designs, nonprofit organizations receive $8 for each t-shirt sold. The team has already partnered with several nonprofits, including Athletes C.A.R.E., Bethesda Project, Challah for Hunger, GALAEI, JumpStart, MANNA, Philadelphia Urban Creators, Playing for Change and The Spruce Foundation.

Both Wong and Dubrowski come from service-oriented backgrounds: Wong had worked in the catering business for 18 years and Dubrowski worked as a high school teacher.

After the two established Inkster Inc., the two wondered how they could “maximize their potential for service” and help out local community organizations.

“Inkster Cares was pretty much a natural progression from what we were already doing,” Dubrowski said. “I think it is important for people to contribute to their communities in whatever way they see fit. Some businesses simply cannot afford to donate money to nonprofits, and that’s okay, as long as they’re sincerely making an effort to contribute something to their community.”

MANNA was one of the four nonprofits who began partnering with Inkster Cares when the line began after an Inkster Cares employee (who was a supporter of MANNA) approached them about participating, according to Dan Getman, who oversees development and communications at MANNA.

“It’s always really great for us when we have an outside organization that’s willing to donate back to us, it takes some of the pressure off our fundraising department. It really just makes our jobs a lot easier,” Getman said.

“They’ve been really great at staying in touch with us and following up and keeping us updated to new things that come their way. I know that they’re really interested in  growing their ability to help the community, and we’re happy to be a part of it,” he added.

Getman also mentioned that Inkster Cares has also provided them with shirts to use internally for events and also helped them design a shirt for MANNA’s running club.

From our Partners

“They helped us design, we have an internal running club that goes out every month, and they helped us design the logo and the shirts for the club so they’re sort of a uniformed-look when we go out,” Getman added. “So on top of the fundraising component there’s also a nice marketing bump using the shirts for what we do.”

Dubrowski said Inkster Cares top partner so far, Playing for Change, (based in California) has received $1,800. While Inkster Cares provides a website where individuals can look up the Inkster Care’s partners, Dubrowski said it is up to the nonprofit to decide how they specifically market its product.

Inkster Cares also offers to create videos for free for its partners, providing even more marketing materials for organizations that might have not been able to afford it. Dubrowski has a background in video production and worked as a video teacher for four years. He has created videos for Athletes C.A.R.E. and Bethesda Project, and said he hopes Inkster Cares becomes the business nonprofits can turn to when they need videos made.

“I believe the video making will prove to play a large role in the scope of our social impact,” he said. “I see us becoming the ‘go-to guys’ when a new nonprofit wants to introduce themselves to the world.”

Image via Inkster Cares

Project

Challah for Hunger

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