This year, the New York Library Association held its annual conference in both virtual (Oct. 28-29) and in-person (Nov. 3-6) formats, as well as having on-demand content. Below are notes from one of the on-demand sessions.
- Emily Cullings, Friends of the Hampton Bays Library
- Mary Giardini, Friends of the Olean Public Library
- Helen Rados, Friends of the Ethelbert B. Crawford Public Library
- Kerstin Cruger, Friends of Libraries Section (moderator)
- Pave the Way
- LilyDale Trip
- Holiday Cookie Bake Off
- Chair Auction
- Commemorative Journals
- Taste of Sullivan County
- Gift cards donations from over 30 restaurants.
- Make specific requests (e.g., $25 gift certificate).
- Restaurants were given a decal marking them as a participant.
- Gift cards were bundled to make four unique prizes worth $500, $200, and $100 (x2).
- Friends members and local businesses sold tickets (1 for $5.00 or 6 for $20.00).
- Told restaurants what was in it for them. They were seen as "proud contributors."
- When approaching the restaurants, they talked with the owner or manager.
- One of the benefits was raising library awareness.
- Tried to keep costs low by having local businesses donate printing, etc. or provide those services at a low cost.
- Prize totals, etc., all depend on how many donations are obtained.
- They do this every other year.
- Do check with NYS Gaming Commission on raffles as well as local laws/guidelines. Make sure you are compliant.
- "Our Library Can Read Between the Wines"
- Got the idea from Cuba, NY.
- Olean Friends only had been doing author receptions.
- Did both a wine tasting and a beer tasting, six months apart.
- The wine tasting was 7:00-9:00 p.m. on a Friday night in the library. Having it in the library allowed them to show of recent library reservations.
- Tickets were $20/each or $35 for two, purchased in advanced.
- Had wine tasting and an educational talk from a sommelier. Sommelier did two talks in the gallery room.
- Also had a basket raffle. (25 baskets)
- Had light appetizers (donated by the friends) and non-alcoholic options.
- Did constant communications with her committee members.
- Contacted all of the wineries within 1-2 hours drive by letter and received zero responses. A friend - former bartender - drove to wineries and asked in person, and he was able to get wine donations.
- Created pouring stations using tables already in the library. Decorated the tables with existing materials and with rented materials. Rented wine glasses.
- Had about 100 guests.
- At the end, gave thanks, made announcements, and ensured people were able to get home (e.g., Uber, Lyft).
- For this event, needed approval from the Board of Trustees and the library's insurer.
- Workers need TIP training, which is good for three years. ($40 per person)
- They hired a professional security guard.
- Had to get a liquor license.
- Considered different music options.
- Used social media and other options for advertising.
- Their first event brought in over $3000 in total. It also brought people into the library, who had not done so in a long time.
- They learned from their events and made changes over time.
- They decided to do a calendar fundraiser, which was an idea they got from other library.
- Wanted to do a 2021 calendar, but produce it in summer 2020 so it could be sold to tourists.
- They reached out to photographers on Facebook and received a good response.
- However...then the pandemic happened. They decided to highlight local businesses and first responders in the photos.
- They went to every store and restaurant. A business photo could be in the calendar for $25. (This covered their cost.)
- They also asked that businesses wanted to buy calendars to sell in their businesses, but that didn't work.
- The businesses that said "yes" were indeed very local businesses. The friends made better connections with these businesses.
- The calendar also had a page about the library and a page about the friends group.
- There were also a couple pages dedicated to highlighting local first responders. This helped them build relationships with them.
- There was a page decided to the local schools.
- They stapled their membership form in the middle of the calendar. It did yield a few new members.
- The created the calendar online and used an online printing service, which was cost effective. Someone in the friends, who was tech savvy, was able to help with the production.
- They bought 500 calendars. Sold about 200 at $10/piece.
- For 2021-2022 they are doing different photography (more scenic). Business donors gave $100 each to sponsor a page, as well as sponsors on the back page. These sponsors covered the cost of production.
- 16 month calendar.
- Giving partial proceeds to the photographer, which had previously been in a life altering accident.
- Calendars will be sold in a variety of different ways, including at local grocery stores.
- Calendars are a lot of work, but she says the work is worth it, because they built new connections in their community as well as raising funds.
How do you define a successful funding raising program?
- How much money raised
- Visibility of the library and friends increased
- New friends members - active members
- Get new people on their mailing list
- Making community connections
Advice to other friends groups?
- Get out there so the friends group is not a secret anymore.
- Allow the friends to brainstorm ideas without immediately dismissing ideas.
- Get all of the friends involved in the ideas.
- Don't expect that the event will go as envisioned. Be adaptable.
- Don't try to control everything.
- Leave your ego out of it.
- Delegate and coordinate.
- Give people tasks within their range of abilities.