With Annual Giving, Tried-And-True Still Works

Donation concept - Time to giveThis post on fundraising is by Marc Huber. Marc Huber is an 18 year fundraising veteran who has consulted on the $25.3 million capital campaign for the DeKalb Public Library, IL, and is currently working as Director of Development for the IUPUI University Library in Indianapolis, IN. Marc is a member of ALA, ACRL, and the Association of Fundraising Professionals. For additional information or personalized fundraising consulting, contact Marc at huber@iupui.edu.

For any successful fundraising effort, a sustained, annual campaign is still the number one way to build philanthropic support for your library. Annual giving helps lay the groundwork for major gifts and estate gifts down the road. It is also another outlet to share important developments and needs of your library with a large audience.

Most importantly, it gives those who want to support the good work you are doing the chance to do so.

The success of annual campaigns depends on your ability to ask frequently. Two distinct mail campaigns to library friends and supporters per year is a safe minimum. A well-developed annual campaign will offer additional gift renewal options for existing donors, and utilize different contact methods (mail, email, phone) throughout the year.

What matters most is clarity in your messaging (What is your need? How does addressing it benefit your patrons? How can a gift make a difference?), and multiple opportunities for your donors and potential donors to give. An annual campaign should never be limited to just one solicitation at the end of the year, or the occasional bake and book sales. It works best as a consistent effort with specific activities every quarter.

While fundraising through social media and crowd funding is gaining some traction, for annual giving the tried-and-true mail campaign is still your very best option.

Yes, that’s right: even in the age of ice bucket challenges, Go Fund Me pages, Kickstarters, Facebook and Twitter campaigns, the printed solicitation that is delivered to your supporters via regular US mail is still your most effective option. Yes, mail campaigns have far higher costs than online campaigns – but they also outperform online solicitations by a very large margin.

If you are not yet running an annual mail campaign, consider starting one as part of your New Year’s resolutions for your library. Stick with it. You will hear a lot about the past successes of your annual book sale, and you will probably have well-meaning supporters and board members suggesting “doing your own version of the ice bucket challenge”.

All ideas are welcome, but they should only be considered “in addition to”. For sustained, regular support from friends and donors, the time-tested mail campaign should always be your foundation and your starting point. The world may be shifting to online content and online delivery, but for libraries and for fundraisers paper is still king.

News from around the #libraries #politics world

Our in depth review of 2015 library elections is forthcoming in Library Journal, but we had to share this win in November for Eugene Public Library (OR). The 5 year levy will get the library about $2.7 million in funding each year allowing it to expand hours and add new programs, among many other benefits. The local Vote Yes! for Libraries PAC ran a great campaign and we were there to offer strategy and capacity. As donors to EveryLibrary this is what you make happen. Thank you for your continued support of the work that we do.

Residents in Ann Arbor (MI) are gathering signatures to put a bond measure on the ballot in 2016. Last month the City Council voted down the proposal to ask voters if they wanted a lot near the main library to be developed in to a public park and commons to be retained in public ownership. Right now two developers are working for plans on a hotel/apartment tower. They are looking to get on the ballot in May 2016.

After years of a declining general fund, the Douglas County Library system (OR) will receive a half a million dollars in grant money from the Ford Family Foundation and other donors under the Oregon Community Foundation. A 2016 ballot measure is planned that would create a taxing district for the library system stabilizing their funding. This is an exception for the Ford Family Foundation that does not fund operating costs for publicly funded institutions, but recognizes the value the library brings to the communities of Douglas County.

Plainfield Public Library (IL) may have a bond on the ballot next spring for a new library. The board will be meeting next week to make the final vote. In 25 years, the use of the library has outgrown the space. The $40 million bond would be used to build a library that is three times as big on the same lot as the current library.

Library supporters in Kern County (CA) are gathering signatures to put a sales tax on the June 2016 ballot that would support the library. EveryLibrary visited last May to support a survey to find out what kind of library Kern County residents deserved which showed opposition to privatization of the library.

Other Happenings

We have been taking a break from the Rodeo as we compile our library elections data for a 2015 analysis, but never fear. We are planning two parties at ALA Midwinter in Boston next month. We hope to see you there, catch up on 2015. Also see High-Five a Librarian Day.

That is all for this week. Join us next week for another round up. Happy trails!


Leave a Reply

(Spamcheck Enabled)