Does anyone remember the movie Calendar Girls? It featured a group of middle-aged women (played by Helen Mirren, Julie Walters, and others) who resort to full frontal nudity in posing for photos for a calendar to raise money for their local hospital.
I was reminded of it this weekend, when I became the proud owner of a 2008 calendar (no, make that a colondar) put out by The Colon Club, featuring photos of colon cancer survivors. Well, okay, they're not nude. But with the help of an artfully placed blue drape, they're definitely showing some skin -- and scars, and colostomy bags. And it's beautiful.
By itself, this calendar may not break any fundraising records. But there's a fundraising lesson in the reason I bought one: I was invited to a party given by one of the models -- Mr. May himself. Who'd say no to a chance to catch up with friends, eat bagels and lox, and find out how Henry was doing in the years since his surgery? There's nothing like making one-on-one connections.
It wasn't until I got to the party and began reading the informational material on the walls (and on the toilet paper, by the way) that I realized: I'm not just here to be supportive, I'm part of this group's client base -- namely everyone who knows less than they should about colorectal cancer -- second leading cause of cancer death in this country, good grief! And, to read the models' stories, frequently misdiagnosed. So, now we all know where to go to find out more: The Colon Club.
And, for tips on how your organization can be heard by the world, whether it be through calendars or on the web, pick up Every Nonprofit's Guide to Publishing: Creating Newsletters, Magazines & Websites People Will Read, by Cheryl Woodard & Lucia Hwang (Nolo).