Animal shelters are usually not for profit organizations that survive off the donations of others. A few are government based and run, but shelters that identify as no kill shelters – the kind that do not euthanize animals after being in the facility for a certain amount of time – depend on funding from outside sources. Aside from asking from donations from visitors and the local community, there are several ways these shelters can raise more money and generator income through fundraisers. One of the major fund-raising ideas is photo calendars
These calendars are similar to the ones fire stations will put out every so often, except instead of buff, sexy firemen, the calendar is full of photographs of adorable animals. Now, the reason these fundraisers are so successful is due to the natural attraction people have to cute animals. By placing pictures of puppies, kittens, and other animals commonly thought of as cute in the pages, the shelter creates an item of value that people will gladly pay money for. However, to have a successful fundraiser using calendars, the shelter must take a few preliminary steps before trying to sell them.
The first step is awareness. It does no good to have the calendars on sale within the shelter and only peddle them to the folks who walk through the doors; a shelter will see much more success by placing advertisements within the local newspapers, on radio channels, and placing fliers in strategic locations around town. The more people that know about the fundraiser, the more income it is likely to generate. A representative of the shelter can also schedule an appoint with a local news crew to do a feature on the shelter and what it is trying to accomplish, in order to reach even more viewers.
The second step is to include more than just calendars. Sure, that’s what the shelter is selling – but by including other elements at the actual sale, the core message and driving force behind what the shelter does can reach more people. If some of the friendlier shelter animals are out and about, and visitors are able to stop by and play with the animals, it’s likely that several will be adopted that very day. The shelter can also include information and pamphlets about how many animals go homeless and abandoned each year, and what can individuals can do to cut down on this number, such as spaying and neutering. A promotion within the fundraiser could be a free calendar if someone adopts an animal.
The third step is location. Although hosting the fundraiser at the animal shelter itself might be easier, if the shelter is located in a hard to find part of town, it might be much easier to rent a space in a local park with a lot of foot traffic. This ties in to visibility; people who might not have heard about the fundraiser initially will see the activity and be drawn to it out of curiosity.
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As for the calendars themselves, cute sells. The cutest animals possible, with a small snippet at the bottom of each page discussing their story and their name, should be placed in the months, with a different animal for each. However, if awareness for the event has been raised enough, and the calendars will be reaching a large number of people, businesses might pay to have their logos placed within the calendar. The shelter can take advantage of this and sell advertising space to businesses in order to raise more funds for themselves. The shelter should begin reaching out to these businesses months in advance, and should have a general idea of how many calendars will be produced, how many will be sold, and what the price point will be for each calendar. This information is important to a business’s public relations and marketing department, and will be instrumental in swaying them towards buying advertising space.
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Using calendars as a product at a fundraiser is a tried and true tradition for many groups, and for good reason. Calendars are relatively inexpensive to produce, and sell at a low enough cost that people don’t mind having several in their homes. They’re also useful, which means it isn’t another junk product that will take up space – people can actually use the calendar to track events and keep on top of their day to day lives. Having adorable animals adorning their walls doesn’t hurt, either. By taking advantage of this basic advice in relation to using calendars for fund-raising, animal shelters can see a lot of success in helping to promote their cause.