The Complete Guide to Calendar Fundraisers [And an Easier Alternative]

October 2, 2023

Months and dates shown on a calendar whilst turning the pages.

Chances are you have once owned a calendar you bought to support a cause. Maybe it was for an art group, a local sports team, or those dedicated local firefighters who never skip leg day, but selling calendars is a very common way groups can earn money. 

As a leader or supporter of any type of group (sports, theater, AV club, mathletes, future farmers), you may have considered selling calendars in your fundraising efforts. If you’re new to this, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll explain every step you need to take for a successful calendar fundraiser. 

If you stick around long enough, we’ll even share the secret to having an even more profitable fundraiser without ever needing to sell a calendar. Intrigued? Good. Let’s go!

The Process of Calendar Fundraising 

When you decide on a calendar fundraiser, there are some big decisions to make before it has any chance of working. Start with these seven steps (well, seven and a half).

1. Decide on a Theme

Most calendars have a cohesive theme, with every picture somehow related to each other. Cats, nature scenes, cars, cats driving cars through nature scenes—your team gets to decide what type of images they want to include. 

Since this is for a group, choose images of your team in action. (Theater kids in the middle of a Hamlet monologue—“Alas poor Yorick” is most photogenic—or the softball star sliding into home; you get the idea.) 

Make sure the theme can somehow tie back to the purpose of your group. For example, if you’re fundraising for a soccer club, maybe don’t sell calendars full of baseball pictures. Unless your city has a lot more baseball fans, we guess. 

2. Choose a Format and Layout

Do you want a colorful calendar design or striking, moody black and white? Do you want to include a section for notes? What font would make the design pop? 

These are all important questions when preparing your calendar. Make sure the image is the focal point, but adding fun elements like a box for notes or little images on holidays will make an engaging design people will like looking at (not unlike a fine Picasso).

3. Get Your Images Ready

You have an idea of what the calendar should look like, but now you actually need the right pictures. This is an excellent opportunity to involve the whole group in collecting and selecting. 

You can include images found online or ones your group took themselves. Make sure they look good together, fit the theme, and maintain the same level of print quality. Oh—and make sure you have permission to use anything you find online. We’d all love a calendar featuring The Many Moods of Taylor Swift, but there’s the little issue of copyright. 

3.5 Save Time and Use a Template

Since this is simply a sneaky little tip, it doesn’t get its own step. Many design websites and programs already have calendar fundraiser templates ready to use. All you have to do is add your own images and maybe switch up the color scheme or a few design elements. Super easy way to save a bunch of time and hassle.

4. Find a Printer and Get Them Made 

You’ll need a printing service once the calendar is designed and ready to go. (Only businesses with high Google ratings, people!) Find a business with a history of making and binding quality calendars. 

We recommend getting a test copy done so you can see exactly how things look and make any last-minute adjustments. Maybe have the student newspaper crew take a look? This way, you won’t accidentally print 300 copies that all say “Janruary.”

Make sure the calendars are promised by a certain date. Then, you can sell them without worrying whether or not they’ll show up on time.

5. Set Your Prices and Estimate Profits

With calendars ordered and the team ready to start selling, you need to decide exactly how much each calendar will cost. We put this as step five, but really, this should be done way earlier in the process. You don’t want to go through all the work and then find out it’s not worth it!

  • Calculate all the costs involved in getting the calendar ready to be sold. 
  • Decide on a price per calendar and multiply that by how many you’ve printed.
  • Subtract the costs from the profit to see how much you’d make by selling out. You’ll need to increase the price tag if this number is too low.

Now, don’t go crazy selling calendars for $100 each. Try to shoot for a 50% profit for each calendar.

6. Use Strategic Marketing Techniques 

If you want to sell a lot of calendars quickly, there are a few tactics that could help.

1. Get the Word Out

People can’t buy the calendars if they don’t know they exist. Use social media, flyers, school announcements, and text to spread the word so you reach your fundraising goal. Yes, use all of those tactics.

2. Make the Selling Process Fun

Selling calendars may intimidate some group members, so up the ante. Make it a fun contest among your team to see who can sell the most. Prizes for the winners might encourage them to sell more than they would otherwise. 

3. Be Persuasive

The MoneyDolly app lets you easily send links and messages to people in your contact list. Just remember, simply sending a link may not help your case as much as a persuasive short paragraph explaining why you’re fundraising and how they can support your group.

7. Fulfill Orders

Your fundraiser won’t get any new fans if you never fulfill the orders. When people pay for calendars ahead of time, keep a complete list (and check it twice) of who paid and who didn’t. Make sure everyone gets their calendar.

Keeping track of purchases is even easier with MoneyDolly because we’ll help you with our app. You can easily see how many calendars have sold and who bought them.

Why Calendar Fundraisers Aren’t Your Best Option

Though calendar fundraising is a classic way to earn money, it isn’t always the most effective fundraising method. A lot of time, energy, and money goes into preparing the final product. Ain’t nobody got time for that—are we right?

Another challenge: As the world has transitioned to digital everything, paper calendars aren’t as popular as they once were. Calendars aren’t a hot commodity anymore, so you may not make enough to reach your team goal.

An Easier Alternative to Calendar Fundraising

To keep up with the digital world, you need digital solutions. MoneyDolly is the digital dolly that can help load your fundraiser and move it across the finish line. 

MoneyDolly focuses on fundraising for groups with an app to make sure sales flow smoothly, and the word can be spread quickly. Our app enables you to select contacts from your phone (choose those you think are most likely to support you) to quickly and easily share links to your fundraiser. It’s as simple as sending a text or email, or having a QR code available to scan. It’s the easiest and most hassle-free way to get the money your group needs!

With the MoneyDolly app, you can focus on peer-to-peer fundraising and reach a huge network of people to raise funds quickly. A simple QR code can save you hours you would have spent trying to sell calendars.

Selling popcorn, beef jerky, and team swag are all options that are much easier to pull off and historically sell very well. Another lucrative option is to simply offer supporters the opportunity to donate without having to buy something. You’ll be shocked how many people are willing to give big bucks for a good cause without asking for anything in return.

Triumph This Fundraising Season with MoneyDolly 

If you still want to do a calendar fundraiser, go for it! You now know how to do it effectively—in fact, put us down for two Taylor Swifts and three firefighters. However, as we said, there are easier ways to raise money, and we want to help you out. 
Don’t hesitate when your group needs money. Instead, visit our site today and see how MoneyDolly fundraising works. We promise we can help you find an easier and more effective way to fundraise.

Damion Smith-profile 2

Damion Smith

Founder and CEO

Prior to starting MoneyDolly, Damion spent the last 25 years helping teams, schools & organizations raise money while growing multiple companies across the country. He has served in many capacities including Sale Representative, Sales Manager, Senior VP of Sales & President.