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Fundraising Calendars - Online Guide

Fundraising

Fundraising calendars are lighter than bricks and last longer than candy, so it's no wonder that many people think that making a calendar is the best way of raising money for a good cause. However, there are as many different kinds of fundraising calendar as there are days in the year, so anyone planning to sell fundraising calendars will have a lot of decisions to make in order to settle on the right one.

How many fundraising calendars?

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This is the first decision to be made, and you need to be realistic when working out how many calendars you can expect to sell. Over-ordering will waste money that should be going to your cause, but you shouldn't be too pessimistic in your calculations. Underestimating demand will mean that you have to make a decision about whether to pay reprint costs or disappoint potential buyers. However, you don't need to be completely exact with your predictions of sales figures, as you will probably have to round up or down to the nearest 50 calendars when ordering.

What kind of calendar?

Imagination and budget are the two limiting factors here. Most fundraisers link the pictures on the calendar to the cause for which they are raising money. So, for example, an environmental charity might have pictures of beautiful parts of the world that are threatened by environmental destruction. However, good-quality pictures can be difficult to source cheaply. If you can find a skilled photographer (amateur or professional) willing to help you, you should grab the opportunity.

Fundraising calendars can be wall or desk calendars. One way of saving money is to keep the dates separate from the pictures. You can buy pocket-sized, very plain rectangular calendars and then glue these on to a picture. This means producing just one picture for the whole calendar, saving greatly on costs. However, you will obviously not be able to charge as much for these as for large and glossy calendars.

Schedules for fundraising calendars

You should begin work on a fundraising calendar no later than February of the year before the year on the calendar. You should aim to finish it by June or July. Start selling them in late summer. If there are any left by the time the New Year begins, you will have difficulty selling them, as nobody will be buying them for Christmas presents and you will be competing with retailers' discounted calendars.

How do I get started?

When you've decided on your budget and the number of calendars you want to produce, the next step is to start looking for companies to print your calendars. Digilabs (click here to go to the website) is a company that allows you to design your own calendar using the MyPhoto Calendars software, inserting your own images if you have them. Then they print the calendars. Other companies offer a similar service, allowing you to customize calendars before having them printed.

As a general rule, opting for a company's pre-existing calendar template is cheaper than asking the company to design a template especially for your organization. As you might expect, the more glossy the calendar, the more expensive it will be to print, and the more calendars you order, the lower the cost per calendar.

Other benefits of fundraising calendars

Fundraising calendars can be educational as well as a good money-spinner. You can use a fundraising calendar as a year-long reminder of just why your organization was raising the money in the first place. If you are organized enough to plan the following year's event schedule before the calendar is produced, the calendar provides a great opportunity to remind people of when you are holding fundraising events.

You can also include nuggets of information about your cause. For example, a cancer fundraising charity might say, "On this day in 1911, Marie Curie received a second Nobel prize for her discovery of radium. She was the first person ever to receive two Nobel prizes. She is remembered for her work in the fight against cancer." Or an environmental charity might say, "In the time it takes you to read this sentence, a large amount of rainforest has already been destroyed. The rate of destruction is a staggering 149 acres per minute." However, avoid wordiness and preaching at all costs, as the best calendars make a predominantly visual impact. Of course, unforgettable visual impact is created by Calendar Girls -style "cheeky" calendars, but you may have difficulty persuading friends to pose for these.