Learn How a College Organization Raised Thousands of Dollars & Increased Its Membership By Using Buttons

Just before the presidential election in 2004, the UNO College Democrats purchased two 1.75” button machines from Button Biz and our organization hasn’t been the same since.

In the past two years, our group has produced and sold over 5,000 political buttons on campus. We’ve come up with over 30 different button designs – mostly political. The buttons haven’t been popular with everyone, but we knew that would happen.

Every time we needed more buttons, we ordered 1,000 parts online and we got them a few days later. After making so many buttons, I was surprised that we’ve never had a single problem with the machine.

Thanks to Button Biz our group is in a much better financial position.  Since we ordered 1,000 1.75” button parts at a time, our cost for a button was only $.09.  We produced the graphics ourselves and printed them off on a full-color laser printer at Kinkos for $1.00 a page.  You can fit 15 graphics on one page so the cost per graphic was only $.07.  The grand total for each button we produced was $0.16, and we sold buttons on campus for $1.00.  That’s over a 500% markup. The buttons we’ve produced have sold like crazy, and when we first started selling buttons, it was the talk of the campus.

To produce the buttons, the group would have frequent “Button Making Parties.” I’ve included some pictures from two of our parties. These parties were a great opportunity for our members to socialize and be productive all at the same time.

Selling the buttons on campus also presented some unexpected consequences – we were able to recruit a lot of new members. Every couple weeks, we would reserve a table in the Student Union so we could sell buttons. A couple members would sit at the table, and they would just sit back and watch the buttons sell themselves. When people stopped and bought buttons, they would often ask about the College Democrats. We’d invite them to a meeting, and give them opportunity to learn more about the organization. I don’t know how many members we recruited this way – let’s just say it was a lot. I’ve attached a picture of three members selling buttons at a Democratic Party fundraising dinner.

Cody Farrens
UNO College Democrats