Animal Welfare Professionals

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Ideas for using calendars as fundraising tools

  • 1.  Ideas for using calendars as fundraising tools

    Posted 25 days ago
    It's calendar time for us again. As usual, we are going through the painstaking process of creating the calendar in-house with dozens of Tripawd photos that our community sends in response to our call-out. Everyone is included at no cost to them. Unfortunately, many images are low-resolution files that will get grouped with others because they are too blurry for an entire page. 

    Our annual calendar making process is laborious and time consuming. We end up creating 4-6 different calendar designs people can order, and we earn about $2 off each one sold. At about $20 a calendar for buyers, we don't sell many, and only sold about 200 last year. It's not a great return, and causes tons of headaches for us. But we do them because the community loves them and asks us about them months ahead of time. We want to continue doing calendars, but once again I find myself thinking: THERE HAS GOT TO BE A BETTER WAY!

    So my question to folks here is, for those in organizations that do annual calendars, what are some successful ways you have managed to pull this off with minimal effort and maximum financial reward? 

    We don't want to do things that we've seen other orgs do, such as:

    • $1 a vote gets a pet on a full page in the calendar
    • Or auction off calendar month pages to the highest bidders
    • Or a contest where people vote for their favorites on social media
    Ideally we want the process to be free or affordable to participants, without excluding people who don't have huge social media followings.  Is there such a thing?

    Can anyone suggest a better way? Thanks for giving this some thought.
    #FundraisingandDevelopment
    #MarketingandSocialMedia

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    Rene Agredano
    Tripawds
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  • 2.  RE: Ideas for using calendars as fundraising tools

    Maddie's Fund Staff
    Posted 25 days ago

    Hi @Rene Agredano!

    These may not be new thoughts, but...

    • It's really cool that all submitted pictures are included, BUT you may be over-extending yourselves...?
      Creating just one universal calendar seems like it would save a LOT of time and money. (I'm assuming you create several versions to use all the pics?) To showcase the photos that didn't "make the cut" maybe you could have: an "honorable mentions" slideshow on your website or something; and a binder or board in-shelter or at community event(s) that folks could physically view if they don't have the internet
    • Utilizing volunteers? Could have a volunteer committee specifically for this (with of course a volunteer lead). There are a lot of folks out there who would love to help the shelter by crafting!! :P
    • Thinking about your production costs, have you asked printing companies to do this work pro-bono or discounted price? I've found that lots of businesses want charitable write-offs before the end of year. And if you don't ask, you shall not receive.

    Tagging in - 
    @Friends of PACC  -  I know you guys used to have a sweet calendar. Any suggestions for Rene to make the production process easier?
    @Caitlin Quinn - heartspeak always has a plethora of fun ideas :)



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    Thank you all for all you do!

    Amber Freiwald
    Maddie's Fund
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  • 3.  RE: Ideas for using calendars as fundraising tools

    Posted 24 days ago
    Hi Rene,

    We at Ohlone Humane Society Home - Advocating for All Animals - Fremont, CA don't sell calendars but mail them out to our supporters list and local businesses before Thanksgiving  with a print version of our Newsletter and a donations envelope included.  We've been doing it for many years, and it still generates significant money for us. Many of our long-time supporters are older and like this kind of outreach. 

    Ours is an 1-page calendar and we have a long-time partnership with a local printer. 

    Additionally, our local Fire Department reached out to us for the next year calendar to sell, featuring firefighters and animals, will see how it goes :)

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    Natalia Lebedeva
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  • 4.  RE: Ideas for using calendars as fundraising tools

    Posted 24 days ago
    Hi Rene!

    I imagine only creating one design would reduce the time commitment and budget required. Have you reached out to local print shops about in-kind donations? Perhaps they would print the calendars at no or low-cost to increase the profit margin. Often times you can get something like that in exchange for adding their logo to the calendar.

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    Sara Miller
    American Pets Alive!
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  • 5.  RE: Ideas for using calendars as fundraising tools

    Posted 23 days ago

    Hi Rene,

    I agree with some of the great advice you've gotten here and wonder if you can come up with one design to save time and resources. There are some collage programs out there that could help you aggregate some of the participant photos for different pages so that you can honor your commitment to include all the images but save time on layout. Try something like https://www.befunky.com/create/collage/ which automatically places the images for you (again, reducing time spent on layout). 

    I agree with others about approaching local printers to see if you can get an in-kind donation, but also reach out to some national printers who sometimes have lower costs and can afford to give or discount their work. For instance, we've had luck with winning small in-kind grants from 4Imprint (https://onebyone.4imprint.com) or discounts from Printing Center USA.  One other thought: We've used print and fulfill companies for calendars in the past because we don't have the funds for upfront print costs. Some options we've looked into or used include Gelato or Smartpress.

    Finally, if it helps at all, we just started offering these calendar templates created by one of our artist members that make it a bit easier to just "plug and print" and might also cut down on layout time (especially if used in conjunction with a collage maker program). https://bit.ly/2022-caltemplate 

    Thank you for all you do!
    Caitlin



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    Caitlin Quinn
    HeARTs Speak
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  • 6.  RE: Ideas for using calendars as fundraising tools

    Posted 23 days ago
    Wowwwee thank you everyone, these are all great ideas I'm going to review with my partner. 

    Yes, we always over-extend ourselves on this project every year. The bulk of the work falls on my in-house designer/partner which I always feel bad about. It's not a pretty time of year! 

    @Amber Freiwald & @Friends of PACC @Sara Miller we have never considered asking printing companies to do an in-kind job (slaps palm on forehead!). We have always used online printers like Zazzle or Cafe Press, because they do the fulfillment too. Their websites seem like there's zero room for negotiating but who knows @Caitlin Quinn? I'd love to keep it local and find a shop here in Northern Colorado, but if we did do local printing, then how would we handle fulfillment? With just the two of us and no room to store inventory or shipping supplies, that's something to consider and work out so that we still make a profit.

    @Natalia Lebedeva that's a cute idea to mail a one-page calendar as a fundraising tool!

    I also love the idea of doing a digital calendar for images that didn't get into the one main calendar (slaps palm on forehead AGAIN!). Currently we do collage the smaller low res images into single calendar pages. But a digital one? Brilliant!

    Thank you again. We are having a 2022 planning session today so this is great fodder for discussion. Much appreciated!​​​​​​​

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    Rene Agredano
    Tripawds
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  • 7.  RE: Ideas for using calendars as fundraising tools

    Posted 9 days ago
    I think you've received lots of great ideas to help cut your work and your costs.  I think our cost is about $12 per calendar, including shipping.  We get a small discount from a local printer.

    BUT we don't really look at the calendar sales as a fundraiser--as you say, the returns are small.  We look at it as a way to keep our work, our name and our animals in front of people, and to reach new potential supporters when they're given as gifts.  So our return is $3 PLUS the goodwill and increased audience.  It helps me, at least, to think of it that way!

    Cheers!

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    April King
    Volunteer and Board Member
    Kotor Kitties
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  • 8.  RE: Ideas for using calendars as fundraising tools

    Posted 7 days ago
      |   view attached
    Hello fellow NoCo Rescue! At Big Bones Canine Rescue, we produce a calendar each year and make a few dollars on each one. But we make more by asking for a $5 donation per photo submitted. These come primarily from our Alumni adopters, which is a great way to stay in touch. Then we do ask people to vote, and the top 12 dogs get featured in the splash page for each month, but all the dogs get included on individual days of the month. We give these out to our veterinarians and food suppliers who help us with discounts throughout the year and we sell them on our Public, Alumni and Volunteers Facebook pages. We use Walgreen's to paste it up and print. We're also looking at Shutterfly this year.

    I agree with others that it is a small fundraiser, but it's also branding and goodwill, and well worth it. I tried to upload a photo of our calendar, hope it worked!

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    Linda Lea
    Big Bones Canine Rescue
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  • 9.  RE: Ideas for using calendars as fundraising tools

    Posted 24 days ago
    Hey, Rene and Amber!

    Typically, yes, asking a local print shop is one way to go. But we have found local businesses are happy to donate to the printing cost of your calendar as a charitable donation, or in exchange for a little advertising on the calendar itself.

    We are very fortunate this time around. We are working with a local company that has its own internal print house to produce them, so asking around or keeping an eye out for businesses like that may be helpful.

    Hope this helps and good luck!


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    Friends of PACC
    Friends of Pima Animal Care Center
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  • 10.  RE: Ideas for using calendars as fundraising tools

    Maddie's Fund Staff
    Posted 23 days ago
    Very very happy to help! It's sometimes so hard to get out of the weeds! 
    Let us know how it goes.

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    Thank you all for all you do!

    Amber Freiwald
    Maddie's Fund
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  • 11.  RE: Ideas for using calendars as fundraising tools

    Posted 8 days ago
    I LOVE your attitude and outlook April, thank you for that insight!!!  Excellent points!!!

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    Rene Agredano
    Tripawds
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  • 12.  RE: Ideas for using calendars as fundraising tools

    Posted 4 days ago
    Linda thank you so much for your calendar feedback! The image didn't come through, but I really appreciate the input about how your process works. I love that all the dogs get included on the days of the month! What a neat way to make sure nobody is left out, even if their photo isn't the best quality. Love this!

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    Rene Agredano
    Tripawds
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