Using Ad Calendar Fundraising at Your Next Event

by Joe Garecht

Many organizations that run larger fundraising events use ad books to generate additional revenue, reward sponsors, and provide information about the charity’s mission.  For those that aren’t familiar with the concept, an ad book is simply a book that contains ads for local businesses and individuals that purchase the opportunity by making a contribution or providing an event sponsorship.  Ad books also normally contain information about the non-profit, its staff, and the people the group serves.  The book is then handed out at the event to all attendees.

Ad calendar fundraising is very similar to using an ad book… instead of handing a book out to your event guests, you provide them with a full-size 12 or 18 month calendar that they can take home, and which contains ads for local businesses that made a donation to the sponsoring organization.  (For more information on holding great events, read The 10 Steps to a Successful Fundraising Event).

Why Ad Calendar Fundraising Works

Using ad calendars is a nice change of pace for donors and attendees because it is something that they are going to want to hang on to and use throughout the year… unlike ad books, which are generally discarded at home after the event, if not on the way to the car.

Because ad calendars tend to get posted in people’s homes and offices and are used for a long period of time, donors may find them especially attractive as a way to keep the donor’s message in front of the event guests for a whole month or year.

Getting Started with Ad Calendar Fundraising

If you are going to use calendar fundraising at your next event, be sure to start planning early.  Price out the printing costs to make sure that using calendars will be cost effective for your school, church or charity.  Also, be sure to let donors know up front that you’re offering an ad calendar this year, and that ads can be purchased on their own, or through a sponsorship of your event.

Set up a schedule of benefits for your donors according to your own organization’s needs… many non-profits have found the following ad calendar fundraising benefits to be useful in generating support:

  • Top-Level Donor: Back cover of calendar
  • Second-Tier Donors: Inside front and back covers of calendar
  • Large Event Sponsors: Sponsor a whole month
  • Medium Event Sponsors: Share sponsorship of a month or sponsor a week
  • Smaller Event Sponsors: Share sponsorship of a month or sponsor a day

The amount you charge for each benefit or sponsorship level will depend on your organization, your donor list, and the amount you are trying to raise.  Also, remember that while ad calendar fundraising works particularly well when holding large events, many organizations have successfully raised money through calendars as a stand alone item, without tying the effort to any event.

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