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Does your company specialize in creating nonprofit merchandise like calendars?

How does a calendar fundraiser work?

There are four main steps involved in hosting a calendar fundraiser:

  1. Choose a theme. We know that the calendar has 12 months, so that means you’ll need to have 12 photos or illustrations to fill each page. Ideally, there should be a running theme something that connects each of the months carried throughout the calendar, to create a cohesive product for your supporters.
  2. Gather photos. Once you’ve chosen your theme, begin taking photos that align with the theme. Hire a photographer or seek a volunteer who has professional experience to ensure these photos are of the highest quality possible. Remember that each photo will be blown up to be at least 12 inches by 12 inches, and high-quality images will look best in the larger size. Supporters will see each photo for at least 4 weeks, so you want to make sure they look great!
  3. Print the calendars. Send your photos to a professional printing company that has experience printing calendars. You can find a number of great providers online,  as well as a few that specialize in printing calendars for nonprofit fundraisers, in particular!
  4. Sell the calendars. Once you’ve received the fully printed calendars, it’s time to sell them to your supporters. You could sell them online and ship the calendars to supporters or sell them in-person at events and at your nonprofit’s main headquarters. You could even ask a few local businesses to display an example calendar in their front windows to spread the word!

Photo Calendars for Fundraising: 3 Ideas

Perhaps the most important decision in your calendar planning process is choosing the theme you’ll feature throughout the 12 months.

As a baseline, you’ll want to avoid anything that could cause offense. Calendars are often hung up, such as on a wall, so it’s crucial that the imagery you choose is appropriate for supporters to display in their homes or workplaces. Themes that are funny, heartwarming, or generally “cute” tend to be successful.

For example, consider the following fundraising calendar theme ideas:


In this example, each month would feature a unique animal. It could be a calendar full of dog or cat pictures, or even a wider range such as farm animals. Bonus points if you style the animals to match the seasons, such as dressing a dog up in a Santa costume!

This idea is perfect for animal welfare organizations. For example, an animal shelter could feature a different pet that was adopted in each month of the previous year, highlighting that pet’s adoption story.


Rather than photographs, consider featuring artwork created by constituents who are positively impacted by your nonprofit. For example, a nonprofit focused on:

  • Child literacy could feature illustrations of classic children’s books, drawn by the kids who receive books from the organization.
  • Animal welfare could feature “paw” paintings, created by dipping dogs’ and cats’ paws in paint and allowing them to run across canvases.
  • Mental health awareness could feature drawings from patients who had been positively impacted by the resources provided by the organization.


This theme requires some pre-planning. Essentially, you’ll highlight the unique impact your nonprofit had in each month of the previous year. Some examples include:

  • Hosting a fundraiser and surpassing your fundraising goal.
  • Distributing materials to your local community.
  • Hosting a coordinated volunteer day that involved a significant number of your supporters.

Each month should feature photos of the work your nonprofit completed behind the scenes.

Tips for Creating Effective Fundraising Calendars for Nonprofits

To wrap up, consider the following tips to help your calendar fundraiser run smoothly:

  • Begin selling your calendars early. Once January hits, most of your supporters will already have purchased their calendars for the new year. Begin selling your calendars a few months before the first date in them — for example, calendars that start in January should be sold during the months of October, November, and December. This ensures you can spread the word about the fundraiser and supporters can purchase them well before the year begins.
  • Price your calendars carefully. Remember that this is a resource that guests write on, and then eventually throw away at the end of the year. Make sure to price your calendars accordingly; they should be fairly inexpensive ($10 – $20) while still being priced high enough that your organization can make a profit.
  • Align the dates in your calendar with your audience’s priorities. For example, if you’re a nonprofit that works regularly with children and you have many supporters who are parents, you might want to create calendars that align with the academic year rather than the standard calendar year.