Office Location

PO Box 12217 Casa Grande, AZ 85130-0579
Phone: (520) 423-0700
Fax: (520) 423-0717



Employee Recognition

Feature Video

Venture Cap Light

Promo Items Help Raise Funds For Guide Dogs

Most charity runs and walks have a ‘no dogs allowed’ policy. Not so at the Southwestern Guide Dogs walkathons, a series of walking events in Florida that raise money for the organization.

“It’s wonderful to see people bringing their dogs to these events,” says Andy Kramer, the development director of the Palmetto, FL-based nonprofit that has trained hundreds of guide dogs. “You can’t help but see families with their dogs and not smile.”

At each of the nine events held during the summer, Kramer says, the organization’s guide dog trainers are also invited to bring their puppies and current trainee dogs to the event. The puppies, which Kramer calls “Goldadorables,” are a special cross breed of Labradors and Golden Retrievers. “This breed produces wonderful guide dogs that are able to form and nurture partnership with visually impaired individuals, facilitating their life’s journeys with mobility, independence and integrity,” he says.

Promotional items play a major part in the Southeastern Guide Dogs Walkathons, starting with fundraising awards. “For example, if someone raises $100 for an event, they get a monogrammed T-shirt,” Kramer says, “$250 gets you a branded tumbler. In addition, every attending dog gets a logoed bandana and we also bring lots of branded promotional items from our gift shop, including hats, shirts and leashes, for sale at our events.”

This year’s events raised a whopping $835,000 for the charity – a new record.

The Guide Dog Walkathons are expanding to two new locations next year. “We’ve been able to grow new events in markets where we are not as well-known via grass roots fundraising campaigns that net us more friends and sponsors and help us provide more dogs to the visually impaired,” Kramer says. “Recently, Publix and Subaru came on board, which shows that success breeds success.”

Also on tap for the 2016 season: Participants will be invited to design the logoed T-shirts that will be used as event giveaways. “We work really hard to build excitement for these events each year, and the promotional products we incorporate really help do that,” Kramer says.

Picturesque Promos

These picturesque events run through the sacred homeland of the Lakota Sioux, starting at Rochford, South Dakota and ending in the historic town of Deadwood. "Great scenery and an opportunity to tie in the runs with a vacation in the beautiful Black Hills make it a family-friendly venue," says race director Emily Wheeler of Rapid City-based Wheeler Events Management. "We had a fantastic turnout for this year's runs with over 3,400 registrations from 44 states, Canada and as far away as New Zealand."

A wide selection of branded products including hats, hoodies, shirts, badges and jackets helped make the marathons a success. "Our most popular promotional items were quarter-zip jackets emblazoned with the race logos," says Wheeler. "These are something for the racers to take back home with them and wear as a memory of the event. Participating moms and dads also bought jackets and shirts for their children."

According to Wheeler, the Half Marathon garnered the most entries, "because it's obviously shorter and mostly downhill which makes it attractive for folks who want to compete but aren't able to put in as much training time."  Wheeler also sponsors the Run Crazy Horse event in October where runners end their journey at the giant hand of the fabled Crazy Horse Monument.  This event features unique promotional items such as branded horse tank and shooter shirts. 

Gear-Up for Gift-Giving Season

Gifting clients and employees around the holidays isn't just a nice way to spread some cheer – it's a smart business tactic, according to a recent study by the Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI). About three-quarters of U.S. companies give holiday gifts to employees and clients, spending an average of $64 per employee and $38 per client, the study reports.

Why the generosity? Nearly 70% of the respondents said that business gifts are an important tool in developing relationships with clients and prospects. With that in mind, here are five corporate gift-giving tips to help you prep for the upcoming holiday season.

Start Early.
According to the study, 68% of businesspeople give gifts branded with the company's logo on them. But personalization takes time. Experts recommend clients start talking to their promotional products distributors about holiday gifts in August and September, and "place all of their orders by early fall," says promotional expert Marcia Gasca. "That way, there's plenty of time to be creative with personalization and packaging."

Be On-Trend.
Useful items that take up real estate on a recipient's desk or wall (think logoed pen sets and calendars) are always popular, but electronics remain the hot ticket on everyone's list, says Gasca. Think branded power banks, tablet covers and logoed microfiber screen cleaners. One hot item for this year: a portable charger leash, which has an alarm in it that sounds when you remove your device from it (great for globetrotters who are constantly leaving their travel chargers behind in hotel rooms). Other fun ideas include smart watches, apparel that monitors your heart rate and fitness-tracking wristbands. 

Think Beyond the Gift Card. 
While gift cards remain one of the most popular gifts for employees, get creative and present the card with something the recipient will hold onto much longer, suggests Gasca. For instance, put the card inside of a branded tumbler mug or water bottle, or zip it into the pocket of an embroidered fleece jacket. Another idea: Place the card inside a branded picture frame that will sit on the recipient's desk after the card is used.

Wrap It Up.
Forget plain holiday wrap for your gifts. Use packaging as another branding opportunity. As an example, you might roll up an imprinted T-shirt and slip on a logoed band that recipients can later use as a trendy accessory. Create gift tags as well. For instance, instead of a traditional paper gift tag, handwrite your recipients' names on a paper luggage tag insert; they can enjoy the branded luggage tag long after the gift is opened. Also, ask your promotional products distributor about customized gift wrap that will further showcase your company's branding.

Consider Cards.
Don't have the budget to send a gift to every client or prospect? Customized gift cards with personalized, handwritten notes are a nice touch. A growing trend is to send a "thanks for your business" in late November (just before Thanksgiving) so that your card can be the first holiday card to arrive in a recipient's mailbox. Sending cards early is "a great and affordable way to stand out from the pack," Gasca says. 
© , The Advertising Specialty Institute®. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy