When First Lady Michelle Obama presented the National Medal to 10 libraries and museums, the future became a little bit brighter. By proclaiming that these institutions aren’t luxuries, rather a fundamental resource in society, she put libraries and museums under the national spotlight.
With funding cuts, libraries across the country are getting less money and in turn, more problems. Since Mrs. Obama can’t bring awareness to these issues all of the time, (although that would be totally awesome), libraries will need to find solutions on their own. This leaves many libraries and like-minded organizations wondering, how can we raise a little more green and be seen by the public as a vibrant member of the community?
By getting creative, scrappy and checking out these five ideas.
1. Create a Video
If people don’t know your library needs money or rather why, how can you expect them to donate? Videos are easily digestible and the perfect medium for storytelling. This is your time to shine. Highlight your programs, personnel, accomplishments and show how their donation would impact your library and their community.
Don’t worry if you don’t have a video team or a large budget. Thanks to technology, you can use a smartphone for filming and easily edit it on your computer. People understand you’re not Steven Spielberg, just make sure the audio is clear, your story is authentic, and you have a clear call-to-action.
2. Host Tournaments
When it comes to thinking of tournament ideas, the world’s your oyster. Since words and libraries go together like peanut butter and jelly, consider hosting a Scrabble tournament or play off the popularity of the online game Words with Friends and give people the opportunity to compete #IRL (in real life). For a small entry fee your community can join in on the action and help your cause.
Participation doesn’t have to stop with the competitors; make it a true community affair by inviting local businesses to sponsor or provide their services for the event.
An evening filled with words, friends and fun? It doesn’t get too much better than that.
3. Rent Space To Startups
Libraries have traditionally been the center of communities. With the increase in popularity of personal technology and the decrease in public funding, people have the misconception that libraries are antiquated. What better way to dispel that myth by doing business with startups in your area? Instead of having to rely on meeting in their basements or at a bar, rent them your conference room or meeting space. By becoming the go-to place for startup founders, hackathons or entrepreneur meetup groups, you expose yourself to a brand new audience and revenue source.
4. Get Creative
Who likes to be asked for money? No one really. Maybe you’ll catch people in a sentimental mood, ready to open up their wallet to you, but don’t bank on it. When it comes to fundraising, get creative and tap into the human spirit of competition and rooting for the underdog. Is your library turning 50 years old? Have a 50 day challenge for 50 people to each donate $50 to your library. Share your fundraising challenge updates on social media, your newsletter and inside your library.
5. Get Your Party On, With a Theme
While a library needs to be quiet during the day, nothing is stopping your library from transforming its environment after hours. Hosting a fundraiser event inside your library will bring community members and leaders together, showcase your space and foster an atmosphere of giving.
Party Tip: Take advantage of the fact that you have characters surrounding you on the shelves by creating a theme party based off of people’s favorite books. “Great Gatsby,” anyone?
Let people get dressed in their best threads, mingle over wine and cheese and bask in the awesomeness of your library.
Don’t have the space for a shindig? Look to your community center, schools or local businesses for partnership opportunities.
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