Giving Back Mid-Year Recap

Half the year is gone! Time sure does fly. Here is a look at how Magellan Promotions has contributed to our community the first half of 2015:


January – Back in September 2014, we had great success we had with our social media driven donation for Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. Because of that success, we started the year off with a second social media driven donation. For every like or share of our Magellan Promotions Facebook Page, we donated $1.00 to The Guest House of Milwaukee. It is Milwaukee’s largest publicly-funded homeless shelter, providing shelter to 86 men each night, and over 400 individuals each year. We saw an astronomical increase in our total reach for this post: 10,260 people! In the end, we donated $250.00 on Match Day, making our total donation to The Guest House $500.00.

February – For the month of February, we showed some love to Roots Ethiopia. This is an organization who has the mission of “Supporting community identified solutions for job creation and education in Southern Ethiopia.” We supported them through at-cost production of field bags and hats for a trip to Ethiopia.

“The bags were a delightful way to start off a really meaningful 2 days of work. They set the tone of ‘team’ – and for that I am just deeply grateful,” said Meghan Walsh, the founder of Roots Ethipia.

To read the full blogpost and see pictures of the donated products, please click here.

March – Throughout the past ten years of business, Magellan Promotions has become more involved in higher education, finding ways to use promotional items that will effectively market schools to students, alumni, staff, and the community. We have been attending more and more conferences, including several Association for College Admission Counseling (ACAC) Conferences. Our Wisconsin ACAC has a goal to “help high school and community college students in Wisconsin prepare for collegiate study.” To support this goal, we donated to the WACAC Idea Scholarship. This scholarship is awarded to first generation higher education, low-income students in Wisconsin.

April – Hooray for the Earth! We here at Magellan Promotions do everything we can to be environmentally friendly. mke riverkeeperAbout a year and a half ago we transitioned to a primarily paperless office, and we always look for new ways we can keep our world clean.  As part of the Friends of Hank Aaron State Trail and Milwaukee Riverkeeper Earth Day Clean Up, our Magellan crew of six ventured around Miller Park picking up trash and other items not native to nature (such as a whole bike!). Across town, another member of our staff was volunteering at the cleanup at Kletzsch Park. For more photos and information about our spring cleanup, click here.

MayHappy 10th Birthday Magellan Promotions!

Magellan Promotions Staff with 10 year Anniversary Cake

Magellan Staff celebrating 10 years at the Product Showcase.

After 10 years of business, we wanted to recognize a client who has been with us since the beginning and continues to be a great client: The University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. To show our appreciation, we donated to the UWM Foundation, specifically the UWM Outstanding Scholar’s Scholarship Fund.

June – With many different conferences occurring during the summer, we helped out an “Unconference” by donating lanyards and Texas shaped post-it notes. Have you ever heard of an “Unconference”? This trending alternative to the traditional conference has been popping up on our radar for the past two years. The TXwHEART (Texas Women in Higher Education – Acting, Reflecting, Transforming) Unconference focused on topics regarding Women in Higher Education. It is a participant-driven conference that has no set agenda, but rather, participants choose the topics and discuss.

Stay tuned for more Giving Back activities for the remainder of 2015!

Spring Clean Up to Support Earth Day

As part of Magellan Promotions’ Giving Back Initiative, we participated in spring clean-up activities on Saturday, April 18th.  Along with Friends of the Hank Aaron State Trail and Milwaukee Riverkeeper, our Magellan crew of six ventured around Miller Park area, the largest volunteer site for the event.  In all, over 4000 volunteers would be cleaning up at 50 sites in the area!  Across town Julia Buraczewski volunteered at a clean up at Kletzsch Park.

Here were a few pictures from our day:

Magellan Promotions crew getting reach to clean up the trail

Michael Wolaver and his oldest son (younger son not pictured, but also a helper), Cathy Olig, and Elise Mannebach at Miller Park clean up site.  Photo Credit: Ben Falk

This marked the 20th Anniversary of the River Cleanup for Milwaukee Riverkeepers.  Their main goal is to make rivers fish-able and swim-able. Everyone who volunteered received a t-shirt with a fun design and numerous sponsor logos on the back.  As a promotional products company who runs t-shirts, we ALWAYS recommend t-shirts for volunteer days.  It’s a great way for River Keepers to gain more exposure in the community each time a volunteer wears and re-wears the shirt.

We found this kid's bike in the river!

Can you believe we found THIS in the river?!

As you can imagine, a lot of plastic bags, plastic packaging, and broken glass bottles were found along the trail. In some cases, larger pieces of debris were in and around the river. Our crew noticed a tire sticking out of the edge of the river and realized an entire kid’s bike was in there!  With a few extra hands and some elbow grease, three people pulled THIS out of the river.

Sunny day along the river.

Sunny day along the river.

We’ll have to revisit the trail when everything is in full bloom! It really is a beautiful space – one that we were happy to help clean-up as a small way of giving back.

Let us know if you participate in a spring clean up! Happy Earth Day!

Giving Back: How Roots Ethiopia used Promotional Products

As part of our Giving Back initiative, Magellan Promotions provides monetary donations and creates promotional items at cost to help non-profit organizations stretch their funds to better support their mission.

Roots Ethiopia – an organization that we supported through at-cost production of items – recently shared their story of their field team, who enthusiastically used the field bags and hats that we created. Here is a brief overview of the organization and how these promotional products impacted their work.

Supporting education and job creation in Southern Ethiopia is the main mission of Roots Ethiopia. Learn more about their organization and mission by visiting their website at We have had the pleasure of working with the organization’s founder, Meghan Walsh, who was kind enough to share their story of their recent trip to Ethiopia.

In December2014, Roots Ethiopia sent a team to Ethiopia for training and projects with field partner Meserete Kristos Church’s Hosanna Regional Office. The field team does everything locally, traveling by foot or public bus. Days are long and travel is slow, which makes field bags a desirable item, especially since they are difficult to find locally.

field bag for Roots Ethiopia

Close up of the messenger style bag used.

When Meghan attended the first day of training, they announced that they had these field bags prepared, and the entire crowd of community members cheered. One man even stood up and did a fist pump! Leaders gave 32 community members / field volunteers a bag stuffed with pens, paper, and a memory stick. According to Meghan,

 “The bags were a delightful way to start off a really meaningful 2 days of work! They set the tone of ‘team’ – and for that I am just deeply grateful.”

Roots Ethiopia training session

Images from the training session.

The baseball caps that were ordered at cost were passed out to all of the VIP assistants on the trip -drivers, translators, bag carriers, etc. This was a great way to show appreciation and raise awareness for Roots Ethiopia.

Baseball caps Roots Ethiopia

Imprinted baseball caps for Roots Ethiopia VIP’s

 “Your kindness allowed us to do this without any concerns for quality, and your ability to do this for us at ‘cost’ meant I could rest assured that we were spending funds thoughtfully and in the best spirit of stewardship. It means very much to a small organization like Roots Ethiopia to have your support and encouragement as we grow our program, all the while tending to the bottom line.” – Roots Ethiopia Founder, Meghan Walsh

It was so very rewarding to know that our promotional items were extremely appreciated and put to good use by the Roots Ethiopia organization! Such small things, such as a field bag or baseball cap, can have a much greater meaning and make a big difference, as Meghan described above.

For more stories on how Roots Ethiopia has made a difference for families and children, read about Tsehainesh pictured here.

Roots Ethiopia coffee shop

Did you know coffee can change a life? It did for her!

They are currently raising funds for education. Here are a few pictures from their visit to schools they support with essential learning resources.

Children at a sponsored school

Sweet Smiling faces at a school Roots Ethiopia sponsors


Roots Ethiopia classroom visit

Their field partner strives to make school a reality for many students.

From supporting small business start-ups like Tsehainesh to sending children to school, Roots Ethiopia’s work and mission is truly inspiring. We were happy to play a small part through promotional items used on their trip.

If you’d like to learn more about ways to help Roots Ethiopia, visit

Thanks again to Meghan for sharing their story!

2015 Plans to Give Back

In 2015 we are committed as a company to give back to area charities through a combination of sponsorships, financial donations, and volunteer work each month.   Here’s a recap of our activities in 2014 and a preview of our plans for this year.

September 2014: Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin

Last fall we officially kicked off our monthly charitable giving plan. Our first beneficiary was Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. We used Facebook to run a social media driven donation. For every like and share of our page, we donated $1.00 to CHW. Additionally, Cathy Olig, director of marketing, participated in Al’s Run (actually walking) to further fundraise for CHW. To find out more about how you can help CHW, please visit their website.

Cathy Olig's view of Al's Run 2014.

Cathy Olig’s view of Al’s Run 2014.

October 2014: AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin, Panther Prowl

Next month owner Michael Wolaver and his family participated in the AIDS Walk Wisconsin, benefiting the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin (ARCW). ARCW holds this event every year to make the fight against AIDS stronger. With Tim Gunn as the Honorary Chair this year, they raised $462,425.00 for the fight against AIDS!


Tim Gunn speaking at AIDS Walk Milwaukee

Michael Wolaver’s picture of Tim Gunn speaking at AIDS Walk 2014.

For more information on events and how else you can help fight AIDS, please visit their site.

That same day (!) the Wolaver family also walked in the Panther Prowl, supporting student scholarships at UW Milwaukee. This was their 10th Annual Prowl and a huge success!

Fun with Pounce at UWM's Panther Prowl

Fun with Pounce at UWM’s Panther Prowl.

November 2014: Volunteering at ARCW Food Pantry

In November, we put on our volunteering shoes as a staff and spent a day at the ARCW Food Pantry, putting together Thanksgiving dinners and meal packs for their clients. Every year, this pantry provides more than 400 tons of food to local residents living with HIV/AIDS. Please visit the ARCW site for more information on how to volunteer.

Michael Wolaver sorting food

Michael sorting food for Thanksgiving meal packs.

December 2014: The Hank Fund

We rounded out the year with a holiday donation to the Hank Fund of the Wisconsin Humane Society. This fund was established last spring after the Milwaukee Brewers adopted Hank the dog who had wandered into their practice facility. The fund supports the building of a high quality spay and neuter clinic in Milwaukee. Such a clinic does not currently exist. Donations will also go towards WHS’s goal of rescuing and caring for stray animals in the city of Milwaukee. For those animal lovers who also want to support the Hank Fund, check out the Hank Fund site.

Additional Activities

In addition to our monthly focus activities, we attended a number of non-profit client events and donated our time and services to Roots Ethiopia, an Autism Awareness campaign, and made a financial contribution to a number of different organizations.

Looking Ahead: 2015 Plans

Here are a few of the new charities we will be supporting in 2015:
Guest House of Milwaukee Facebook Contest – for every LIKE or Share of our page, we’ll donate $1.
• Wisconsin Association for College Admission Counseling (WACAC) scholarship fund
Hank Aaron Trail Earth Day Clean Up

Do you have a charity you want us to support? Let us know, and we’ll review to determine how we might be able to help.

2014: Building upon our Success

Here at Magellan Promotions we are certainly excited for 2014. Earlier in December 2013, we were thrilled to surpass our annual sales goal, an achievement that moves our company to the top 5% of all promotional products firms in the industry.  It certainly is rewarding to have a record-setting year, while continuing to deliver the best customer service and promotional marketing support to our clients.  Our industry has continued to grow as well, reaching $18.5 billion – the highest level in five years and third-best year ever in 2012.  We anticipate similar growth in the 2013 year end industry numbers.

Looking ahead, we intend to continue building upon our success for 2014, focusing on several key areas:

Creative Ideas – We are focused on creating and promoting case studies to help share the success stories behind on our projects. With every opportunity, we seek to recommend creative, targeted promotional marketing ideas that meet your goals and objectives. For a presentation with many effective ideas, view our Best Practices in Admissions Promotional Marketing prezi on our Increasing Engagement page.

Trend-conscious  We will share information about the latest promotional products.  Today Account Manager Paige Wagner and I are excited to head to the PPAI Expo, the industry’s largest trade show, to see what’s hot and trending for 2014.  Register today for our 2014 New Products Webinar to learn about what caught our eye.

2014 New Promotional Products Webinar Dates and Times

We are also excited to be planning our 7th Annual Magellan Product Showcase for April 8th.  Mark your calendars and stay tuned for additional details!

Customer Service – Our prompt response and attention to detail remains our top priority. We are committed to ongoing training and staff development to ensure world class service. To that end, we are also streamlining office procedures to increase efficiency and reduce waste.

Giving Back In 2013 we volunteered at Kathy’s House and The AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin – Food Pantry.  In addition, we supported twelve charities with donations. For 2014 we are defining a plan for our charitable giving and service projects throughout the year.

Our constant goal is to be your trusted partner for marketing schools and colleges through promotional products, apparel, awards and event signage. We aim to make it easy to find, select, purchase and integrate promotional items into your marketing efforts.  Thank you for your continued support and referrals to other opportunities.  We look forward to a fantastic 2014!

To stay connected throughout the year, we invite you to connect with us on social media, our blog, and monthly e-newsletter.  Please let us know if you would like to be added to our distribution list.

LinkedIn Michael Wolaver



As always, feel free to contact me or your account manager directly with any feedback, questions or ideas you may have.  We always love hearing from you!

Michael Wolaver