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Wait what day is it? Let me check my…Calendar!

Meredith Piemme Meredith Piemme Business Development Director

Ah, calendars, fundraising calendars, now a staple of direct mail packages, did reflect some declining results in 2018. Heavily utilized in both acquisition and appeals, they have become ubiquitous with late summer and fall fundraising campaigns. However, the recent soft response may have many nonprofits wondering, now what? Wall calendars are expensive to produce and mail, with the standard size mailing at flat rates. Add in the increasing cost of paper in 2019, and well, it’s not a pretty picture.

Not to fret! Here are some on-trend suggestions to help your budget as we head into the calendar production months of 2019:

  1. Make sure your calendar is a common size for maximum production efficiency: Did you know that a 10.5 x 8.375″ is optimal for a full size wall calendar? Creating your calendar art at 11 x 8.5″ can increase your production costs by almost 20%.
  2. Utilize a lower grade paper with a lower basis weight: It’s all about the paper. While high end bookstore calendars may utilize a premium coated sheet, they are also commanding a premium price. For those offering calendars as a free gift, it makes sense to leverage a lighter weight and lower grade paper for significant cost savings. Bonus? These papers still create a brilliant and beautiful printed product when handled by the right partner! If you have a few minutes to spare, you can learn all about paper here.
  3. Ditch the aqueous or UV coating: At high volume, the ink savings can be significant.
  4. Environmental considerations: Since a calendar print run can consume large volumes of paper, environmental stewardship should be top of mind. It’s important to ensure your paper stocks are FSC certified and should have a minimum of 10% PCW (post-consumer waste) content.
  5. Test a smaller size calendar: We have seen some beautiful 5.25 x 8.25″ calendars that mail at letter rates, saving in both production and postage.
  6. Upgrade to an oversize calendar to stand out from the crowd: If you are looking to create a unique donor experience and have the ability to invest more in your calendar program, upsizing may be just the ticket. Note: It is important to investigate carrier envelope options and understand the maximum USPS dimensions to qualify for automation discounts prior to designing an oversized piece.
  7. Add an at-a-glance page: A standard feature in commercial calendars becomes a unique “add-in” creating additional value for your own product.
  8. Mail a pre-calendar notice: Let your donors or prospects in on the secret! Create anticipation and excitement about your upcoming gift. Include a label sheet as an inexpensive “freemium”.
  9. Mail a calendar follow up: A low-cost, friendly reminder about the amazing gift they have received. Also an opportunity to include a sheet of calendar stickers (birthday, anniversary and other reminders).
  10. Bind in a remittance envelope as a soft ask at year end: A simple reminder to support your organization as they turn the page to November or December.
  11. Join the Production Solutions calendar gang! We leverage the volume of multiple calendar runs together to obtain the best possible pricing. If you have been on the fence about testing, or looking for a new provider to handle your existing calendar program, contact us today to find out all that we can do for you!

About the Author

Meredith Piemme
Meredith Piemme Business Development Director

Meredith, a passionate team player, is a Business Development Director serving PS since 2018. Meredith has over 20 years of experience in graphic design and print, and over 10 years of experience in the direct mail and nonprofit industry. Meredith has a determination to ensure that each of her clients have an impeccable service experience. Her kindness and humor, and her ambition for investing in success are just some of the reasons why Meredith promotes such value in the PS family. 

Hailing from Centreville, Virginia, she loves spending time with her family, traveling, and is an Orange Theory Fitness devotee. Her favorite holiday is Thanksgiving and she has a love-hate relationship with her minivan!