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My Favourite Fundraiser


Today on birdy’s blog, I can't wait to tell you about my favourite fundraiser... It's us - birdy!

Now I know it can be kind of off-putting to toot your own horn, but in this case it must be tooted!

A Recap of my Fundraiser Frustrations

As you may recall from the other f-word blog post, birdy photography co. started because of fundraising. As the (initially reluctant) fundraising chair for my daughter's preschool, I wanted to find an event that would solve the following six fundraiser frustrations:

1. Extremely time consuming to organize, facilitate, and participate in;

2. Purchasing something out of guilt and not because I want it;

3. Having no room in my freezer for a giant box of [insert frozen food];

4. Inflated margins on goods that I could just add to my online grocery order;

5. Expensive shipping fees, or wondering why individual shipping fees are charged to each family, when all orders are going to the same place; and

6. Low rates of returns, especially considering the copious amount of volunteer hours it takes to coordinate a fundraiser.

A Good Egg

After combing the internet for ideas, I thought about items I purchase that my family loves, finds useful, and is unique to us. The top of my list was family photos! I love family photos so much, that I begged my dear friend and professional photographer Shannon Hutchison to drive out to the countryside on Boxing Day to take photos of my extended family at my parents' house before everyone had to leave town. Everyone including Shannon that is - she was flying halfway across the world later that day!

When it came to combining family photos and finding a fundraiser for my daughter's preschool, of course I asked Shannon. Shannon helped me with family photos once again. This time it was to organize a family portrait day fundraising event right in the park where the preschool was located.

As the event was put together very last minute, I did not feel comfortable to have my preschool fundraising committee members shoulder any of the work, as I knew they all had at least a preschooler (and usually additional kids!) at home. As it turned out, I didn't have to ask them for their time anyway! Shannon and I were able to take care of all the details. Shannon took the photos and I did the administrative tasks. We both provided entertainment during the mini photo sessions to ensure there would be giant smiles from our subjects, young and old.

The family portrait day fundraising event ended up being a great success! Many preschool families and other families from the community were booking spots right up until the event was about to start. My fundraising committee didn't have to lift a finger. The preschool raised money. Shannon and I had a lot of fun doing it. Win-win-win-win.

Upon reflection of the family portrait day fundraising event, Shannon and I decided we wanted to make it a thing! It just made sense because we both love professional family photos (especially at an accessible price point!), giving back to the community, and working together as a team.

A Hatchling

With the help of family and friends, birdy photography co. soon hatched! My endlessly creative husband Jon came up with our name name. The very talented Kim Collins Art & Design designed a logo we absolutely love. I built a virtual nest for birdy using beautiful photos from Shannon Hutchison, and incorporated a streamlined online booking system that simplifies the client experience.

Our mini photo session events are my absolute favourite fundraiser because they:

  1. Involve very little time: virtually no time for the organization itself, and only 10 minutes for each family that participates.

  2. Provide families with a useful keepsake they actually want: As much as I love chocolate almonds, I love family photos more.

  3. Take up zero space in my freezer: No frozen foods here!

  4. Are reasonably priced and offer different price-points: Families can order as many or as few photos from their sessions as they want!

  5. Ship for free: the photos are shipped for free, directly to your (email) address.

  6. Yield high returns: organizations earn over 30% from each mini photo session booking. (Most of the fundraisers I have researched range from literally 1% to no more than 20% returns.)

A Bird in Flight

Our mini photo session fundraising events have taken flight in Calgary! The process is incredibly simple. Since we handle all of the administrative tasks and run the events ourselves, the organization can just sit back, relax, and watch the birdy do its thing! Here's how it works:

  1. An organization picks their preferred location and date, or they can piggy-back on to our existing pop-up mini photo session events.

  2. We provide event posters and copy for the organization to distribute to their community.

  3. Families schedule their session, pay, and receive all the relevant information about their mini directly through our online system.

  4. The organization receives a lump-sum payment from birdy based on the number of bookings.


In short, my absolute favourite fundraiser is birdy photography co.'s mini photo session fundraiser!

Stay tuned for our next blog post, where I will let you know about some of the other incredibly low-maintenance, high-yielding fundraisers I have discovered in Calgary, AB.

In the meantime, learn more about our upcoming holiday mini photo sessions taking place at North Glenmore Park, and email to receive our latest updates!

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