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Have you ever thought of using calendars, posters, catalogs, and greeting cards as fundraisers? With little fundraising experience on their own, high school boosters in Alabama, Hawai'i, and Washington, were able to turn a healthy profit while raising their program's profile in the community.


By Del Williams


For coaches of K-12 sports teams, the ability to devise and execute a variety of successful fundraising efforts throughout the year is no longer a luxury. For many sports programs today, fundraising is a matter of survival, and it often falls on athletic directors and coaches to ensure success.


As a result, athletic directors and coaches with little to no professional fundraising experience--and plenty of other things to worry about--are being charged with selecting and running efforts that must generate significant amounts of money with no room for error. In this environment, one of the most lucrative methods is to turn to printed materials such as calendars, posters, catalogs, and greeting cards. With a minimal investment, these items can generate thousands of dollars in fundraising revenue--but they have to be done right.


To help with your next make-or-break fundraiser, here are a few easily replicable success stories by those who have done it best. These and other case studies can be found on the "Market Smarts" section of the Web site printingcenterusa.com, an online print specialist that has helped countless schools make the most out of their fundraising efforts.


Rounding Up Almost $8,000
The Hawaii High School Rodeo Association printed a 15-month calendar to raise money and showcase students in its program. Each of 15 graduating seniors received their own page with a description of their future.


To incorporate other students in the calendar, smaller student pictures bordered the calendar's top pages each month. The bottom pages were simple and clean, each with a different drug-free slogan. A community photographer donated the photography.
Out of 750 calendars printed, the Rodeo Association sold 700 for $15 apiece, generating a total of $10,500. After paying for the printing, the association netted almost $8,000 while honoring its graduating seniors.


Marching to a $3,000 Profit
The Hamilton Aggie Marching Band had sold an annual band calendar before, but it was a relatively small tear-off type with a single picture at the top, printed by a local printer.
"We'd sold ads to local businesses in our old calendar, but they were so small, they were more of a donation," says Nathan Garner, Band Director of the award-winning 75-member Hamilton Aggie Marching Band of Hamilton (Ala.) High School.


When Garner needed a bigger return on his band's efforts, he used a template on an online printer to create a larger, custom band calendar. "Where our old school calendar broke even and was hardly worth the effort, our new calendar made over $3,000," says Garner. "For the same price we'd done the smaller tear-out calendar before, we created a large 28-page calendar with a full-color photo of the band on the cover, and black and white photos of the band and kids inside. Friends and families loved seeing their kids in the bigger photos, and businesses liked the bigger ads."


To raise extra money and get people excited about the calendar, Hamilton printed people's birthdays and anniversaries over photos for $1 each. With the purchase, people listened to local TV and radio stations to hear their names announced "on air" on their birthdays and special occasions. One daily winner from the birthday listings received a free meal from a local eatery, and one weekly winner from the anniversary listings received two movie tickets from a local cinema.


Out of 500 printed calendars, the band sold most at $5 each. They sold ten $25 ads on most of the inside pages, as well as a total of almost 1,000 birthday, anniversary, and "in memory" listings. The calendar cost $1,200 and netted the band over $3,000 in profit while generating much excitement and involvement in the school and community.


Making Student Service Real to Donors
Archbishop Murphy High School, a co-educational Catholic college-preparatory school in Everett, Wash., got creative by using its annual report to honor donors and raise money for the school. The report included photos of the students performing the many services they contribute to the community, along with descriptive captions and a donation envelope in the report's center.


"From international relief to food and clothing drives to working at retirement homes and summer camps, our students are actively giving back to the community," says Patti Means, Archbishop Murphy High School's Director of Communications. "While honoring donors in the report, we wanted to show them what their generosity is helping to make possible, both in the lives of our students and in the lives of those they touch."


Del Williams is a technical writer and father of two elementary school students living in Torrance, California. More information on successful fundraising ideas can be found at Printing Center USA's Web site, www.printingcenterusa.com, by calling 800-995-1555, or by emailing support@printingcenterusa.com.



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