The inaugural National Women's Trekking in Washington, D.C., took place on January 21, 2017, when hundreds of thousands of people gathered to send a message to US President Donald Trump about the importance of women's rights as human rights. For those who want to show solidarity, there is even a souvenir T-shirt with the non-profit Women's March logo to keep the momentum: over 91,000 have since been sold on Bonfire, a print-on-demand company tailored to clothing that is very much like GoFundMe, and gives back the majority of sales to the effort it honors.
Since January 2017, Women & # 39; s March has segmented more than $ 1.4 million for more promotions. But if you want your money to go somewhere else, Bonfire offers a range of options, such as a shirt with the slogan "Do not Forget Flint", boxed in plastic bottles to raise money for Flint Kids, a fund set up by the Community Foundation of Greater Flint, one with the cute cartoon panda symbol from Panda Paws Rescue, an animal rescue group.
[Photo: courtesy Bonfire]At Bonfire, individuals as well as non-profit organizations can design T-shirts for the goals they care about, and provide an accompanying story about the meaning of the movement and design. Campaign fundraisers determine the price of their shirt (the average is about $ 22). When people go online and buy them, Bonfire asks $ 10 per shirt to process the print and shipping logistics, after which all proceeds go to the host of the campaign, which has to ensure that money reaches the right cause. Bonfire's cut also decreases as sales reach certain milestones.
The company is a profit-making organization and has existed since 2012. But the demand for its services increased in 2018, because apparently more people were looking for ways to raise funds and publicly support the values that they support. Last year Bonfire organized more than 100,000 campaigns and doubled the speed with which new campaigns started in recent years. In total, the company raised $ 6.3 million in 2018 for campaigners. (Although most were related to social-good efforts, that number includes a number of bands and anyone who might need custom memorabilia.)
"The model is essentially that sellers launch and sell a campaign [shirts] for their community, "says founder and CEO Brian Marks." And at the end, we will print and send directly to their supporters. "To do so, Bonfire has borrowed a few other recognizable crowdfunding features Campaigners have set a public target for the number of shirts sold, and there is a homepage counter that tracks total purchases in real time, and supporters can also share campaigns on Facebook and Twitter.
Each campaign also has a time limit that usually varies from seven to 21 days, after which the shirts are printed. But unlike Kickstarter, it is not a problem if organizers do not reach their goal when the countdown expires. The limit for starting a print run is generally only five orders.
[Photo: courtesy Bonfire]Marks came up with the idea in 2011, after starting his own satirical campaign called "Save Shaka." As alumni of Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), he wanted to sell T-shirts to raise more contract money for VCU's talented basketball coach Shaka Smart, who threatened to be poached by richer schools. "That was the history, and it really started," says Marks, who then had to speculate how many shirts and sizes he would eventually sell. "The problem was that I got stuck with a huge box of shirts, and that's what we've always fought against, why is buying a lot of clothes if you're not sure if it's going to sell?"
Bonfire solves that problem by having everyone start a campaign for free and then only have them paid for each ordered shirt. Although it is up to the organizers to deliver what they report to groups with related goals, many people who start these campaigns are internally in those places or have a formal relationship with them. The campaign organizer is clearly visible on every campaign and the company says it is proactively working to identify misrepresentation and fraud and would pay customers back in the & # 39; rare & # 39; in case this could happen. GoFundMe, acting in the same way, experienced its own expensive scams last year.
At the same time Bonfire trusts that the organizers already have a network that trusts them. It does not have a central hub to allow people to navigate throughout the ecosystem and what is trending, although there is a section for selecting personnel. As the popularity of his shirts has increased, Bonfire has recently added a "supply" feature that allows creators to order their own batches before they officially launch a campaign. In this way, some people can already model it on Instagram before your march even starts.