Profit from programmes
Producing a programme
for your fair, festival or fun day will boost profits, help thank
supporters and inform visitors about what's in store - you wouldn't
want them to miss anything!
Although most commonly used at fairs, other big events with
multiple attractions and stalls such as a music festival or
fireworks night might also benefit from having a programme. Early
planning will produce the best results, so that advertisers and
sponsors can be approached on the basis of a write-up in your
programme. Start selling advertising slots at least six weeks
before your event to ensure you have enough time to get the
programme designed and printed before. Here are a few things to
Can you get sponsorship to cover your printing costs, in
exchange for editorial coverage in the programme? Start by asking
local printing companies, or approach local businesses that may
have the facility to print your brochures for you. This will
signficantly improve your profit margin.
Put a call-out to supporters to see if you can enlist someone
with graphic design skills. Failing this, appeal to local designers
to see if they will help you out, in exchange for advertising their
services in the programme. The design doesn't need to be
complicated - something simple, which gives clear information and a
map of the event will be fine.
Size and price
Will your programme be A5, professionally printed, colour or
black and white? How many will you produce - is it worth the
expense of printing more to drop through local residents' doors or
to go home with children at local schools, if it means more people
attend your event? The more you print, the more people see the
advertising, so this could push up the amount you can charge for
inclusion. Once you have decided the format and circulation, break
down advertising space into prices for full pages, half pages,
If possible, appoint a dedicated volunteer to look after the
advertising. Do you have a list of companies who have supported you
in the past? Send letters/emails to local businesses, explaining
the role of your cause, and what you are raising money for. While
contacting companies about advertising, it's worth asking whether
they could also donate a raffle prize. Give advertisers dimensions
and a deadline. Allow time to chase artwork (if supplied complete)
or content/logos - especially if you have a designer putting these
together, and to get finished layouts approved if necessary.
What to include
- Map: A layout of your event will help visitors
identify the location of key attractions, i.e. where's the
- Sponsors: If you have received sponsorship for
aspects of your event or for the programme itself, dedicate space
to thank them.
- Timings: If you have any performances, talent
shows, or attractions with timings attached, provide a schedule so
that no-one misses out.
- Prizes: Mention your top raffle or auction
prizes to encourage people to buy tickets!
- With thanks to: Reserve a spot to thank all
those volunteers who have helped make your event happen!
On the day
Will you hand your programme out at the gate, will you charge
for it or will it be part of the entrance fee to the fair? Some
PTAs have put a 'lucky gold star' stamp in a limited number of the
programmes as an incentive to buy. If you purchase a programme with
a star, you win a prize! This is less time consuming than manually
numbering each programme for a 'lucky numbers'
Programme case study
Elizabeth Clark via Facebook: 'We made around £420 from our
programme. We do give some free adverts for companies who come and
attend - for pony rides, animal encounters, etc. One person does
the advert sales and I do the design (ex-graphic designer!). We
produce a full-colour, litho-printed A5 brochure that we deliver
out to the village and beyond (1,500 copies). We charge £110 for a
full page advert, £60 for a half page and £35 for a 1/4 page.'
Ellie Storey, Hazelwood PTA: ''I was fed up of doing a Christmas
programme for one event, so we created a winter programme to
advertise all our events and our fabulous PTA! We printed 700
copies in A4 and made £200 profit!'
Download the Hazelwood PTA Christmas events
Programme advice from Facebook
Peter Foreman kindly shared details and images of his
school's 2013 summer fair programme (click on the images above to
download a PDF): 'Our programme was an A4 sheet folded
into A5. Adverts from memory were not charged as we charged £30 for
the pitches, so it was more of a thank you. We gave these out in
book bags a week or so before hand to entice the kids to hassle
parents to come! Just to add that we have always charged an
entrance fee: adults 50p and children free. Last year for the first
time we asked for a donation and made the most ever as people are a
bit more carefree with their change!'
Anna Menzies: 'what a lovely programme! we
charge £40 for a full page, £25 half and £15 a quarter but lots
never pay! think in future we'll do adverts in lieu of prizes/help
Peter Foreman: 'It's a lot of hassle collecting
the money and that's why we kept it basic and put them in the
programme with no charge - to just thank them for a raffle prize
however large or small.'
Sarah Rowland: 'Hi Peter, what happens with
your fairground rides? Do you pay to hire them to entice people in?
Do you make any money from them? I've been looking into them but
they seem very expensive to hire.'
Peter Foreman: 'This is our first year to do this
and it went down a storm. Plenty of companies offer this service.
We didn't pay to have them, they paid us! Not a great deal, but we
had two rides and received £40 each, they charged £2 (I think) per
ride and made their money that way… all very convenient and looked
great on the field. Hopefully we'll go for a lot more this year. No
hassle to us as nothing to organise.'
Have you produced a programme or brochure for your event and
have some advice to share? Let us know by getting in touch via our
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