How to Make an Ad Book

by Kay Tang; Updated September 26, 2017
Young businessman holding business card to the camera

An ad book or event program is a small booklet that introduces your event and includes advertisements, donor lists and sponsors' logos. It can be an effective fundraising device that also provides your audiences with a souvenir to take home. Depending on your event, an ad book can be as simple as a pamphlet printed from your home computer or as elaborate as a glossy and colorful booklet designed by professionals.

A Fundraising Strategy

Ad books are lucrative because they're a repeatable commodity. In addition, businesses purchasing ads in an ad book typically pay 200 to 1,000 percent more than the design and printing costs for the space, according to "Fundraising for Social Change" by Kim Klein. As a fundraising strategy, you need to create a distribution plan for the ad book, determine the pricing structure for ads and consider book design. Before you approach advertisers, first figure out distribution. In addition to people attending the event, you can send the ad book to donors and event sponsors, hand it out to neighborhood businesses and passersby and even post it on the Internet.

The Types of Ads

An ad book can include two types of ads -- display and classified. A display ad typically exhibits the advertiser's logo, an image and contact information. Display ads can be sold in different dimensions, such quarter-page, half-page and full-page. The larger the ad, the higher the price. Classified ads consist only of text. They sometimes integrate testimonials to the event, such as "Gold Athletics congratulates Main Street's Soccer team for helping inner-city youth." You also can give business and individual donors the option to only include their names as listings on a thank-you page.

Pricing the Ads

Advertisers will primarily consider your distribution as determined by your fundraising strategy. The design and printing of your ad book also will affect prices. In comparison to a black-and-white program printed on copy paper, an ad book printed in color on glossy paper will ramp up ad prices. Sell display ads by dimension in inches and classified ads by number of words, according to Klein. The location of the ads also impacts pricing. Cover-page ads are typically twice the price of ads inside the book. Ads on the inside cover also are more expensive due to better exposure. To gauge pricing structure, talk to other organizations in your area that have created ad books.

Producing the Book

Set deadlines for advertisers to hand in copy and graphics for their ads. After receiving the ads and payment, thank your advertisers. Bring in a graphic designer with layout skills to design the ad book as well as to ensure that the ads fit on their designated pages. You'll have to supply the copy and images dedicated to your event and organization. Include a brief history of your organization and short biographies of your talent, management or production team. If your event is a commemoration, tribute or awards ceremony, include information on the honored persons, initiative or accomplishment. Print enough copies for the audience, advertisers, donors and your sales force for the following year's ad book drive.

About the Author

Kay Tang is a journalist who has been writing since 1990. She previously covered developments in theater for the "Dramatists Guild Quarterly." Tang graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in economics and political science from Yale University and completed a Master of Professional Studies in interactive telecommunications at New York University.

Photo Credits

  • XiXinXing/XiXinXing/Getty Images