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  • Program Fundraising: How to Make an Outstanding Program Booklet

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    Looking for tips for program fundraising? You have an event coming up, and you’ve been tasked with designing the program and getting it printed. How can your organization cover those costs? The classic way is to sell advertising in the event program. Whether you’re producing a program for a dance recital, sports game, or charity dinner, you can cover most of your costs by selling ad space to businesses. Here are some tips for succeeding at program fundraising.

    Create an Attractive Booklet for Program Fundraising

    You’re more likely to attract advertisers if you have a well-designed, attractive program. Even if your booklet or program isn’t finished, you can print out a rough guide showing what will go on each page.

    When you visit potential advertisers, bring a copy of the design with you. Show them physically where their ad will go on the program fundraising booklet. This increases excitement about your program and makes program fundraising easier.

    Checklist for an Event Program

    Event programs serve many purposes. They give attendees the information they need to fully enjoy the event, and they serve as mementos. To sell ads, you need a program that is informative and well-organized. A fundraising program should include basic facts like:

    • Event name
    • Date and times
    • Location

    It should also have information about:

    • Kickoff events
    • Parking
    • Ticket booth
    • Locations of restrooms
    • Food and dining options
    • Beverage policy
    • Sponsors
    • Ticket costs

    When you write the program fundraising, be sure to include:

    • Description and brief history of the event
    • Welcome note to attendees
    • Thank you to sponsors

    Emphasize the Benefits of Program Fundraising for Advertisers

    • Low cost: An advertisement in a program typically costs far less than traditional advertising like magazine ads, billboards, or TV ads. Many small businesses struggle with small marketing budgets, and a program ad is an excellent way to get the word out about their product or service.
    • Community awareness: Businesses enhance their public image when they support local causes. Most small businesses are involved in their communities, and they enjoy feeling that they made a contribution. That feeling is even better when it’s combined with a fresh marketing approach.
    • Special recognition: Businesses who help fund a program get special recognition in the program. People attending the event are more likely to use a business recognized as a sponsor of their favorite charity or cause.

    Where to Find Sponsors for Your Program Fundraising

    You can’t sell ads unless you know who needs them. If you’re already well-linked in your community, use your network to reach out. Find people who have bought ads in the past, and invite them to continue sponsoring your organization.

    Look locally for program fundraising

    Start with local business. Your nearest shopping center is filled with small local businesses, including clothing stores, dry cleaners, restaurants, and stores.

    They’re a natural source of support for a local cause. These businesses are always interested in affordable advertising opportunities. They can address both these needs by helping pay for your program. Some businesses you can approach include:

    • Construction and remodeling companies
    • Farm stores
    • Small groceries
    • Party stores
    • Doctor’s offices
    • Insurance representatives
    • Realtors
    • Accountants
    • Ice cream stands
    • Donut shops

    Drive around, and check out all the small businesses operating in your local area. You can approach the owners by email or in person.

    Join the club

    Social clubs and service organizations are often interested in supporting local causes and getting their names linked to community events. Search for local chambers of commerce and service organizations like the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Rotary, and Moose Lodges. Your area may have a number of these clubs in operation, and they may welcome an opportunity to let people know they’re around.

    Ask members for suggestions for program fundraising

    Your group members and their families may know of untapped advertising opportunities. Ask them to think of anyone they know who might be interested in helping fund the program. They may have relatives or acquaintances who need low-cost advertising.

    Make offers on social media

    Does your organization have a solid social media presence? If so, use it to promote the program fundraising. Post requests on Facebook, Twitter, and other accounts asking if anyone wants to contribute by buying advertising in your program.

    Offer a Mix of Sizes

    Give people a choice of sizes. This shows that you’re open and flexible about working with their budget. You can offer full-page, half-page, quarter-page, and business-card-size ads to businesses. Many small businesses like the business cards ads because they don’t have to come up with a new ad design and can use the business card they already have. Others want an opportunity to come up with a new design and splash it on a larger page.

    Keep Your Pricing Competitive

    How much should you charge? That depends on many factors, including your predicted costs, size of the event, advertisers’ budgets, and other things that vary from event to event and city to city. Here are some rough estimates that would apply to most programs:

    • Full page: $25 to $200
    • Half page: $10 to $50
    • Quarter page: $5 to $50
    • Business card: $5 to $20

    Remember, you can also add an upcharge for prominent placement. Premium spots like the inside front cover or first page of the program could come with a 10% or 20% upcharge.

    Formula for Pricing Ads

    When you sell advertising for a program, remember that the program should be 50% ads and 50% content and photos. Keeping this in mind can help you come up with a formula for figuring out your costs per page and how much advertising you need to sell.

    1. Figure out your per-page cost. If your program will cost $2,000 to design and print, and it’s 16 pages long, the cost is $125 per page.
    2. Since each page should be 50% ads and 50% content, a half-page ad should cost $125. A quarter-page ad should cost $75, and a full-page ad should cost $250.
    3. Some advertisers charge more than this straight formula for smaller ads. This is known as differential pricing, and the object is to show that a larger ad offers more value for money. If you don’t want to get overly complicated, don’t worry about this. Just use straight pricing for your ad sales.

    You’ve Sold Your Program Fundraising Ads: What’s Next?

    Congratulations, the hard work is done. Now that you’ve sold all your ads, you must be sure to get the ad copy from the businesses in time—and in print-ready shape.

    When you sell the ad, give the company a checklist of what it will need to produce an ad and get it to you. Give them a firm deadline, too. You must have the material in hand to get it to the printer in time.

    Each advertiser must provide:

    • Company name
    • Company logo
    • Contact information, including phone, email, and website
    • A camera-ready ad in black and white or color, in a digital format
    • Permission to resize the image slightly, if necessary

    Program Fundraising Works

    Selling ads for the program is a key part of every event. It connects you with local businesses, opens sponsorship opportunities, and builds strong community ties. By covering the costs of design and printing, your organization can use its funds for other purposes. If you want to ensure your success, follow these tips:

    • Approach former sponsors and local businesses
    • Offer a mix of ad sizes
    • Use competitive pricing
    • Emphasize the community support
    • Thank your sponsors and advertisers in the program

    Get Your Program Professionally Printed

    Once your ads are all sold, and your program is ready, work with a professional printer to get the best results. If you need help, contact the experts at Dazzle Printing.


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