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What calendar buyers really thought…

Updated: Sep 27, 2018

We asked hundreds of calendar buyers to give us feedback on the 2016 calendar.

A few months ago we did a survey of the 2016 MyLondon calendar buyers. As we approach the final four days of the current Kickstarter fundraiser we thought current and potential buyers might like to read what the results were! READ: Where is the Kickstarter money spent?

The MyLondon Survey: UK and international buyers told us their thoughts... More than 80% planned to order the 2017 MyLondon calendar. Being on Kickstarter might have made it harder for us to promote our goal of highlighting homelessness (because it's not the first place many socially-minded organisations go), so the first question was about that: did they know we were a group of homeless and previously homeless photographers and artists? We were happy to find out that 95% knew it was a calendar run by a social enterprise empowering people affected by homelessness.

Some of the comments from UK buyers: “Since buying I've been volunteering with a homeless charity” “It helps humanise the homeless and highlight individuals as creative, unique, expressive, talented, ambitious, just like you and me but in a bad situation” “I am a trustee/ supporter of Crisis so know about the issues” “An international disgrace.” “there should be more projects like this to help the homeless as it helps rebuild their self esteem” “I try to help out homeless people whenever I see them locally and I give to homeless charities like Shelter” “I work in homelessnss and the calendar is an excellent reminder for me and my colleagues in the office of the strengths and creativity of people experiencing homelessness.” “I may not have learnt much about homelessness but I think the photos are great and I was delighted to be able to support your project.” “We don't do enough to help the homeless and I feel that there is a general feeling that the homeless have brought it upon themselves. As a Labour councillor in London, I'm seeing more casework concerning insecure housing and homelessness. It worries me that the government is actively putting people into situations whereby they will end up homeless through policy changes to welfare, jobs and housing.” “I don't think people fully realise the impact being homeless can have upon a person, or fully understand the role time plays in homelessness, and it angers me that 'homeless' is seen like some kind of identity rather than a terribly damaging situation that in most cases does not need to happen and goes on for far too long a period of time.” “I think it is dreadful that we live in such a fundamentally wealthy society but still people find themselves without basic human necessities like a warm dry home and food to eat” Some of the comments from International buyers: “I believe it's a great way to empower people.” “I love the work you do with this people and know how important it is.” “Yes, we knew and liked the idea, and we also liked the photos in the preview we saw.” “Loved the idea of seeing my favourite city from a different angle” “I knew it was for homelessness, but that was not the main reason.” “I thought it was interesting to see London from a very different angle.” “Only learnt about it via Kickstarter.”

What are the reasons you bought the calendar?

  • makes a good gift 28%

  • needed a calendar 26%

  • support the cause but don’t use it 5%

  • love the photos 74%

  • helps fight homelessness 79%

  • homeless people earn money from it 87%

  • impulse buy after seeing Mr Bond (last year's cover photo) 11%

  • love photos of London 43%

  • bargain at £9.99 18%

“The photos show a different side of London and tells a different story.” “We lived in London for six years and really enjoyed being in the UK. Our son was taking part in a project to support homeless people. It is a chance for us to something while we are away.” “My homesickness gets calmed by it (I am Swiss but London is my most loved city).” “My attention was caught by the boat I visited with my class.” (this must be the Cutty Sark on the cover of the 2016  calendar!) “I read a background article of the calendart and I think the idea was great.” “Support homelessness via art/photography project.” “I purchased two calendars - one for myself and one as a gift for a friend who hosted me during my first visit to London in 2014.” “I like the thought that a project like this helps some homeless people to get a new perspective and hope in their lifes!” “I found the idea very very good!” “It was a great iniciative to promote art between homeless people.

Where did you hang the calendar?

  • kitchen 21%

  • hallway 6%

  • bedroom 13%

  • office 32%

  • gave it away 10%

  • other 18% (living room, gave away, dorm room, classroom, home office, cupboard, and bathroom)

Are you happy with the calendar design?

  • yes 86%

  • would like desk calendar 18%

  • would like local calendar 20%

  • prefer coffee table book 7%

  • other 10%

“The coffee stain around the Public Holidays are a little confusing sometimes (I thought I dirtied the calendar, took a little time to realise they are the Public Holidays)” “I think stories by the photographers would be a very good idea.” “Not a desk calendar, but 1/2 size, wall.i love it- tho have limited space.” “Do whatever you want. I will buy it from you. What works for the homeless works for me.” “For wall calendars, I would like the numbers to be larger so that I can see it from afar.” “I love the calendar, a book would also be awesome!”

After buying the calendar…

  • I learned more about homelessness issues 45%

  • I didn’t learn more about homelessness issues 14%

  • I am inspired to do more photography 11%

  • I am inspired to help a local homeless charity 31%

“I think it's important for homeless people to be seen as people. I really liked the idea of the calendar because the photos show the humanity of the photographer.” “It's something you see everyday living it a city but you eventually become blind to it.” “This would be a great project in all major cities globally!” “I volunteer at several centers for the homeless in London. Seeing the wonderful effect on one man of being chosen as a photographer for the calendar is something I shall never forget. I so hope that you manage to get in touch with more centers so that more young homeless people are given hope.” “Made it even more personal. They are me.” “I am amazed at the endurance and resilience of those faced with homelessness.” “I think it can be even more educational - capitalize on your reach!” “I wish no one should live on the streets but I understand well how fast it could happen to anybody.” “It's a human tragedy.” “Living in Los Angeles I am sadly well aware of the extent and issues confronting both the homeless and those trying to help them. By offering a creative outlet for people who would not otherwise have such a means of expression, Café Art is providing a valuable service for this visibly invisible population and to those of us who can always stand to learn a little more about them.” “Reinvigorated my connection to Lamp Village in DTLA.” “But I learned that it is very inspiring to learn about projects for and with homeless people and how it can change their future!” “My husband works with the homeless population, but they don't have any programs like yours that involve arts & empowerment. I wish they did! "Inspired a more doer than thinker mindset in me.” “Homeless people are still feeling and hoping.”

Would you recommend it to a friend? 59 average (scale of 1-100):

  • average score 59

  • detractors 11%

  • passives 19%

  • promoters 70%

How likely is it that you would buy next year's My London calendar (for 2017)? “Quite likely, but it depends on what else is around.” “I would buy the 2017 one” “I will definitely buy it and I would love to see and help with a Vancouver (Canada) Calendar as well” “Very likely though of course it also depends on the photos... Great idea and great work guys!” Very likely” Certainly I would buy the next issue, to give some support to Londoners homeless people and I love the city!”Not sure yet, too far in the future.” it's pretty likely. I gave one to my daughter and one to my mom as they both love London. Also, I want to make sure my daughter continues to grow up seeing all people as people. I would love to continue to give my daughter one. I don't know what my mom thinks, so I may not do that again and just get one for myself.” “I would if the quick mail option was used and my budget allowed for it.” “Very likely. It's helps the homeless (through a medium I love) and it's a great calendar.” “Pretty likely. I support your cause. But it will depend somewhat on how much the photos appeal to me.” “I really like the calendar and that it supports homeless people.” “Because the project is innovative and gave of the hope, the confidence(trust), the result(profit), the evening respect for these people, for a moment, I hope for it in critical situations. All the best. Thank you very much.” “Likely” “50/50. I'm very good for procrastinating on basic this like this and don't normally buy it until I receive a reminder. Ie the articles about this calendar or the big calendar display in bookstores before Christmas.” “I would because I am an artist, so I appreciate the work. I also love that you are raising awareness about homelessness.” “I would because I am an artist, so I appreciate the work. I also love that you are raising awareness about homelessness.” “I would definitely buy the calendar again. This project gives identity and beauty to an all too often 'unseen' population.” “sure!” “Good cause and photos show something different. I need a calendar anyway, why not help out an organisation whilst I am at it.” “Somewhat unlikely, since I don't use a calendar and have to watch my spending, plus I'm not sure if it'll be the same quality next time, and I'm not from London.” “Highly likely, i love and support the cause and i think the whole thing is inspiring.” “Almost certain.” “i like putting up different wall calendars each year. however i'd like to keep supporting the project, so I might buy the new one as a gift for a friend” “I and many others are likely to buy if the photographers are connected to a local centre for the homeless” “Very likely because it's cool, I like the cause, and it makes me feel good just looking at it and knowing I have somehow helped someone. I have also been telling all my friends visiting about it the moment they see it in the kitchen.” “I think I'm pretty likely to but I don't know if I'll be able to afford it or maybe I'll forget” “Very likely, because of the cause, and the results.” “I think it's a fantastic idea to help the homeless, teach skills, inspire art in your local city.” “Love the cause . uplifting others is important to me!” “I would love to buy one. Very inspiring and touching.” “very likely” “Would like 2017 calendar since I never received 2016 calendar.” “It would have been nice to get my calendar a little sooner. I was starting to worry because mine did not get here on time, but honestly, it wasn't that big of a deal, I knew I was going to receive a calendar one way or another! :)”

Reply from Cafe Art: We replaced more than 45 calendars that went missing. Almost all were to the USA, Australia and other countries outside the EU. We sent the replacement calendars by airmail and although it cost us a bit, we wanted to keep our supporters happy. As a percentage of calendars sent however the number that arrived was high and this year we are sending all of them by Airmail and recorded as sent (which is free and means we will be able to get a refund this year if it happens again. Because we are not sending any by surface mail we hope no calendars go missing this year. “I would love to, but I received my calendar late, and had to be given a replacement actually because the original one didn't arrive. It could be issues with our local postal service.” “Fairly likely to continue supporting the homeless.” “I would buy it again, the only thing stopping me might be cost as postage to NZ can be high” “Yes I'd be very likely to buy 2017's calendar. It offers be a beautiful, captivating and grounded perspective and I appreciate being able to see that everyday.” “I would- if 1/2 size wall available. I love it” “I want to continue supporting what I see as a great cause.” “If you remind me to buy it I'll order it right away.” “I will buy it if I can” “Pretty likely, I really like this organization and what it does, so I would like to support it as much as I can” “Possible, my personal issues may or may not be a deciding factor” “Still completely open. I usually get different calendar every year. For example if there's a interesting charity calendar sold that helps locally (in Finland), I will probably prefer that. Also I was sort of hoping for more sort of "action" pictures, the pictures in the current one are quite still ones. But there's a chance that I might buy the next one too, especially if price & postage stay modest.” “Yes because of original connection of photography in directly impacting homeless people in a positive creative way” “I will be purchasing the 2017 calendar - again, one for myself and one for a friend!” “Will gladly purchase the 2017 calendar for all the reasons given in my previous answers. Thanks for the work you do.” “We will buy some of it because the idea behind is great and it´s also a nice gift for good friends.” “I definitely would buy one!” “Fairly likely, though since I'm in the US I could easily forget” “Yes.” “Maybe I'll buy one or maybe not. I'm not sure yet. But it's clearly a very good project, which I might support again!” “Fairly likely. I like the project and think it's a great way to share the perspective of the homeless.” “Loved the calendar. Great Christmas gifts. Would buy more for gifts next year” “Very. Love the photos and the cause!” “Very likely! The project helps homeless people in a very unique way and it spreads awareness about homelessness. Also, I love photography and the calendar functions not only as a calendar but as a beautiful piece of art as well.” “It's very likely, because it's a great gift and with the photos you'll see the world through different eyes.” “I'm very likely to buy next year's calendar because it's for a good cause.” “I definitely will! I absolutely love the idea behind the calendar, and I would even consider doing something similar here in my own area in the States. I have a passion for London as well, so it's really combining two things in one for me.” “Very likely/certainly will. I really enjoyed the short stories about the photographers, and the project itself is an amazing project.” “I typically do not buy calendars, but I love the premis of this one. The photographs are great. I would buy it again if I think of it.” “Yes” “I would buy for same reason” “As I like this one, it is likely. Although, as I got some more calendars as gifts this year (and moderately 'complained' about it as there is only this one space for a calendar), I might get a heads-up this year to keep the place free. If not, I'll go for your calendar as I enjoy the pictures and love the cause.” “I will definitely buy My London 2017. I work with the homeless population in San Diego and hang the calendar in my office. The pictures are always conversation starters before my clients know the story if the calendar. Bringing in the meaning behind the calendar and quotes/bios of the artists creates a visible sense of connection and meaning within my clients that is beautiful.” “I enjoy yearly variety so I will choose something else to support next year. Initially, I was drawn to your calendar because it reminded me about "Kids with Cameras", the documentary about Kids growing up in Indian brothels. The art they made helped them see a future away from their home town. It was so beautiful. Many of those kids made it out and onto artistic career paths” “I would buy again as I think it is a terrific program and the pictures are fabulous.” “I would by it every year - it is unique and supports a great cause. I do wish it would come in a smaller size since my office is really small but I'd definitely buy next years either way” “Very likely it's a wonderful and inspiring idea.” “It's really up in the air. Money is really tight but I love helping when I can. It did take quite a long time to get to me; I even forgot about it! That's ok though, it got to me before 2016” “I would definitely buy next year's calendar, and it helps support the homeless.” “I would love to buy another calendar in 2017. This project is such a great idea. Helping others and experiencing their creativity is really awesome.” “Likely. The photos were very good and I want to support the cause.” “Extremely likely! It was an amazing and inspiring job! :)” “It's definitely a possibility. I generally don't buy calendars, but I wanted to support what you do & I love the photos. It was good for my cubicle & I hope other people see it & become more aware.” “I would like to, but my 2016 arrived ripped. I just taped it back up and it looks okay, but every page was ripped on both sides where you flip the page. I still love it. It just needed some TLC.” (we are sending all calendars in a strong cardboard envelope this year) “If I receive a reminder e-mail that it's available to order, I'll buy it. The pictures are beautiful, the paper is high quality, and it is for a good cause.” “I will probably buy it.” “Very likely, especially as a extraordinary gift for someone” “Yes because it was a good cause!!” “I was very glad to help with the cause, and I would probably do it again. The problem is I didn't receive the calendar. I might support the next iniciative, but wouldn't ask for a calendar or any material reward.” “Very likely to buy the calendar. I probably would have to get a reminder email and get the website address as I bought it from a kickstarter page. I love the photos, and I like the small bit of info about the photographer. I also like the fact that the homelessness isn't shoved in my face, if that makes sense!” “Please reccomend it to me. I want to buy it because this year's was POETIC!” “Very much so, it's a wonderful project. I already told several people about it, I'd buy extras as gifts next time around.” “I normally choose which calendar to buy around October so I still don't know if I will buy next years's MyLondon calendar. I definitely liked it but if I don't buy it for 2017 normally it means I decided to support another cause and/or organisation, just to diversify my donations and reach somebody else in need. But I would definitely recommend it anyway!” “I gave it away as a present so I am not sure, whether I would buy it as a present again. so probably not” “very likely”

How can we improve? (UK replies) I think you're already doing a fantastic thing and I can't think of ways you could improve. It more comes down to us as supporters to spread the word and share your work.” “Perfection already achieved.” “Improve the website by working with other social enterprises focussed on building IT skills or who specialise in technology.” “Raise awareness of, and contribute to, canon of Outsider art, maybe with the Paris gallery. Blog about Outsider art and include 'Art in focus' articles on art work, interviews with artists. Explore 'Found Art' and history going back to the Institute of Contemporary Art. Establish art by homeless artists within a better defined context so people 'get it'.” “Make the dates on the calendar darker so I can read it from a distance. It's hard to read right now unless you're very close. Otherwise, its a beautiful design and all inspiringI always read the stories at the beginning of the month.” “More exhibitions” “Keep up good work” “Offer more photos in different formats more often” “Continue” “Postcards and similar” “Not familiar enough with Cafe Art UK to comment.” “Finish setting up your YouTube channel properly - I can help with this for free if you like. It might also be good promotion for the next calendar or event to get a YouTube "famous" photographer, e.g. Mike Browne To do something around it - critique, use a similar camera to take his own photos to see what he comes up with etc.” “possibly more events involving the public support of the project - maybe a workshop run by the homeless for the general public to highlight their work and the work of the project” “continue!” “Love the calendar and photo I recorded” “Produce calenders in other U.K. cities” “you're doing GREAT as you are - just keep doing more of it :)” “I think you need to link a top artist with every homeless charity who makes one amazing piece of art and helps the clients of that charity to make a piece of art and then have a large multi charity show.” “Nothing that I can think of :)” “Create pathways for artists with good ability to fully escape the label of 'homeless', e.g. How to start out freelance, how to promote your art, how to build a good portfolio, find affordable studio space, etc.” “I think you are doing great!” “You are doing a great job raising awareness about importan issues. Keep up the good work!” “Don't assume that everyone who wants the calendar lives in London. Build in postage from the onset and make it clear there will be an extra charge for postage. That will save problems later.”

How can we improve? (International replies)“Nothing in my mind, just do your thing! Hope, we will see another report in Germany's TV.”

Cafe Art reply: The 2016 project (2017 calendar) has had major coverage in Germany. We have not been covered by ZDF (yet!) but it's resulted in fantastic support from German people. I don't think I can help here.” “For this moment, nothing, I'm curious to see others projects” “Increase the calendar year with 12 additional months so we can see more images lol. I thought it was perfect! Everything from the quality of the paper stock to the 'tea cup ring stains' was well thought and made for an impressive final product. Thank you for all of your dedication and heartfelt work!” “desk calendar” “Perhaps a smaller calendar?” “Other calendar options- desk, digital versions, etc.” “Various medium choices; desktop calendar, book, computer wallpaper, frame mounted prints, different cities, t-shirts, posters” “Different models/size of the calendar could be interesting.” “For wall calendars, make the numbers larger. And please ship by airmail if possible. Also offer desk calendars.”

Cafe Art reply: We would love to create different sized calendars but the cost is too much at present. The more we print of one size, the cheaper it is per calendar to print. However we will continuously review the product and if there is demand we will reduce the size. We will be looking at all different products mentioned above! “I'm from Australia and your calendars reached us, so no issues here!” “Great job. Thank you” “maybe make the marking for UK holidays a little less prominent for international buyers”

Cafe Art reply: In the market we advise international buyers to have a cup of coffee to make your own marks for your own holidays! Seriously, we might be able to include some stickers for the major countries which are Germany and the USA, then include them with the calendar.  “Just keep going! And dream up more projects like this one for the homeless. Inform small, local centers of the projects” “Keep doing it. Well done. Try and inspire other local groups out of London and abroad. Turn it into an aesthetic social movement. Think big. And thank you.” “Would love to begin this in Atlanta” “I would love for you to bring this project to San Diego, perhaps through outreach and collaboration with an org out here.”

Cafe Art reply: We're working with several cities already, including New Orleans and Toronto in North America so if someone from San Diego and Atlanta contacts us we would love to help. “I thought everything was great!” “Keep doing this” “I think you are doing a magnificent job!” “Huh - no idea - you are the experts in this cause. Please just keep the good work up and inspire the homeless to whatever they are capable.” “The cover photo isn't one of the main photos in the calendar!! But I still like all the other photos”

Cafe Art reply: This was a tough decision - we really like to get as many photos into the calendar! “The concept works well, I was pleasantly surprised that the price with postage to abroad was reasonable. I mean I wouldn't mind paying even some more for the calendar but I wouldn't want to "waste" any more to postage. Calendar itself meets my expectations quality-wise and the texts describing the images are really well written.” “Pls continue. I don't need physical calendar since we/nobody uses anymore so good to come with alternatives like small desktop, year overview or something in electronic format” “It´s good as it is.” “A calendar with American holidays would be useful.” “NO ideas. Use your best judgement and ask your homeless participants. Do they take the survey too? GREAT WORK! Thank you very much.” “Continue” “great job, guys! :-)” “As of information process, timing and shipping everything went very well. The printing is also very good. The only thing I don't like is the 'design' with the coffee-rings/ stains in the calendar-part. I don't really need that. But that's negligeable as the main part are the pictures and those are great and printed well.”   “Well done!” “fine just as is.” “All I felt I wanted was a smaller sized calendar that would fit in my tiny office. Otherwise I will look for this again for 2017” “I had no issues. However, it would have been nice to know when the calendar was going to be delivered. After it shipped I didn't have a way to track where it was. It got to me well before the new year though, so not really a big problem.”

Cafe Art reply: It would be too expensive to track the calendar, but we are getting a record from the Post Office this year, so if it goes missing we can claim it and send another one. Because we're sending by airmail this year it should help us speed claims up as it should only take a few weeks to arrive to the countries furthest away.   “I wish you program could expand to more parts of the world!”

Cafe Art reply: We are helping projects in the following cities: Budapest, New Orleans, Sydney and Toronto. People in the following cities are also in discussion with us: Madrid, Rome, San Francisco, Edinburgh, Hong Kong and several more. “More sturdy packaging for long travels. I live in Michigan.”

Cafe Art reply: as mentioned above - this year we are using a strong cardboard envelope. “N/A” “Nothing” “Spread the love in other cities around the UK and Europe” “More women?”

Cafe Art reply: This year you will see a lot of women photographers are in the calendar. In fact 10 of the 17 photographers to get Top 20 photos are women. Regarding the subjects - we can't control what photos people take but we will look into this issue.  “Bring on the next one! :)” “Please stay that way! Especially the way you are writung out mails to customers made my shopping experience very unique. It really felt special compared to other customer Mails. It made my shopping experience even more fun.” “You could try to involve homeless people in the pictures, showing them under a different light, meaning in some funny situations or very normal actions. Just to show that they are as normal as everyone else, they may just have been somehow less lucky than others.” “Increase the calendar year w 12 additional months so we can see more images lol. I thought it was perfect! Everything from the quality of the paper stock to the 'tea cup ring stains' was well thought and made for an impressive final product.Thank you for all of your dedication and heartfelt work!” “For this moment, nothing, I'm curious to see others projects”

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