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Creative Help Needed
Old 08-09-2022, 06:55 AM
  #1

Our public library has a Friends of the Library group, and we fundraiser for the library and work events.

Currently membership is $5 a year. Some people sign up, but they do not ever come to meetings of events.

I order to remedy this, Iíd like to have some kind of tiered membership. The lowest level of donation is for people who want to actively work all year, then increasing to the level of businesses that would drop a good chunk of money and nothing else.

I also think we increase the basic membership. Itís been $5 forever. I am stuck with exactly how to divide the levels. Names? Amounts?


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Old 08-09-2022, 07:41 AM
  #2

I'm on our local FOL board and here are our membership levels:

Ind.--$5
Family $10
Benefactor $25
Patron $50
Business $25
Club/Association $25

Our member dues though have nothing to do with donating time actively working at our used book store, sorting books or at the 3 sales we have yearly. We have many people that volunteer but don't "belong" to our Friends group. I'm sure they think donating their time is their donation--which is true.

We've had discussions about advertising for the businesses that donate in our quarterly newsletter.

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Old 08-09-2022, 07:48 AM
  #3

I have also seen:

Bronze
Silver
Gold
Platinum
Diamond

You could decide on the $$ breakdowns. I do like the breakdowns in Violet2's post.
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Old 08-09-2022, 08:37 AM
  #4

Sorry, but as one who donates, I detest games, categories, and ďsuggested donations.Ē Tell me all the things you use the money for, and Iíll give what I can. Tell me all the ways you need labor, and Iíll sign up for something I can do.

Iím an adult. Please treat me like one. Youíre not running a lottery. Youíre advertising a good cause and asking for help.
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Old 08-09-2022, 12:52 PM
  #5

I also feel like people don’t understand that the Friends of the Library is a group that works. We fundraise all year by having things like book sales, attending festivals, coordinating library events, etc. We have people sign up, then never do anything. The same 6 or 8 of us do everything. When people sign up, their membership form asks for areas where they will help, lists our meeting times (once a month), and lists events we are in charge of. Then we get radio silence.

The more I roll it over in my head, the more I think we need to somehow make the goal of the group clear. AND split the membership and the donations more clearly. “Friend of the Library” is uses workers, not just someone who donates money. When we have events or specific fundraisers, we are always clear on what we are planning for the money. For instance, we have sponsored Little Free Libraries, memorial benches, personalized bricks for the new library, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. The membership dues are just a tiny part of the funds.

I’m not sure how we can make it more clear that we are a service organization and need help working.

I’m thinking through things out loud here. I usually need to get things out of my head before I work my way through them well though to get the clear picture. I’m also new to the group this year, and the group is also just becoming active again after being derailed by covid and deaths of two key members.


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Old 08-09-2022, 02:55 PM
  #6

I live in a large county but this is how our Friends of the Library does their membership tiers.

There is also an option to just give a donation as well, you can designate what exactly you’d like your donation to go to or you can choose “you as you wish.”

They then have large corporate sponsors as well.
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Friends of the Library
Old 08-09-2022, 04:21 PM
  #7

What if you send a letter/email stressing the need for help. Sometimes people just do not realize the importance of their participation. You also might raise the basic fee to $25 dollars or any number you want and offer a discount, if members work at events and/or attend meetings. Our local pool does something similar. The discount might need to be on the honor system. It would probably be too much bookkeeping to keep track of each person. Hopefully, those that took the discount would honor their commitment. You might also list the events on the membership form and ask the members which events they might be interested in helping with.
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Old 08-09-2022, 04:42 PM
  #8

I think there needs to be two separate things. One for people who donate, and one for those who want to volunteer. Different names and everything. I can totally see how people would get confused.
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A few ideas
Old 08-09-2022, 05:27 PM
  #9

I see that there is a need for "friends" to meet and make money/do projects for the library. This reminds me of our local hospital auxiliary. They actually purchase a hospital bed each year for our little hospital and have donated a basic new wheelchair to schools in the county occasionally.
With that said, would it work to form the Friends of the Library as a non-paid membership where the goal is fundraising & projects? Plants sale, crafting night, paint party, etc. Paid donations could be called benefactors of the library. A person or family could potentially be both. Sometimes it's not understood the purpose of a group until you get a few interested people who enjoy volunteering, word spreads, and it becomes an active group.
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Old 08-09-2022, 06:56 PM
  #10

My library


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Old 08-10-2022, 04:28 AM
  #11

The majority of our funds go to the library to purchase circulating materials. A small percentage goes for 3-4 yearly programs we put on.

Does anyone personally contact those that have signed up? I know that helps us. We have a fairly large group (about 300) but new sign ups get contacted either by phone or email. Some indicate they want to work in the store, book sales or not at all and just donate funds.

Where do the rest of your funds come from for the activities you've listed? Does the library fund you also? I'm just curious. We've gotten away from purchasing art/garden items for the library.
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Old 08-10-2022, 12:42 PM
  #12

We are funded completely through donations.

Hereís our most recent addition, custom built benches hand painted in memory of two former library supporters. This was an $800 project.
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Old 08-10-2022, 07:09 PM
  #13

I love to buy books at the Friends ongoing sales all year long as well as the big book sale annually.

Well, I now have books on my shelves with tiny beetles (bookworms) and larvae. I mixed them in with my own library and now I donít know which books are contaminated and which arenít.

I researched and found that freezing the books kills the bookworms.

So one task for your volunteers, if anyone is willing to do it, is to search through donated books for signs if bookworms.

So sorry to add to your troubles.
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Old 08-11-2022, 04:17 AM
  #14

Beautiful benches Ima! Great memorial
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nice project
Old 08-11-2022, 08:43 PM
  #15

Love those benches. You guys sound like a very productive group. I don't have any suggestions except to share that all the volunteer groups I worked with, except teaching CCD, I had to give up because I am working 4 days per week. In this economy with inflation many retirees are either going back to work or delaying retirement. I don't know if raising the amount now moving forward, would be a way to increase membership or participation. Maybe wait to see if the economy tuns around? Just food for thought.
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Old 08-12-2022, 01:42 PM
  #16

It sounds like you have two different goals.

One group of people you want to reach is those who care deeply about books and the library and have time to donate. Maybe these are the "Active" members. $10 per year to join to cover a few expenses such as mailings or even a yearly gathering with refreshments. Actually, what would you do if someone showed up to work, without being a member? My guess is that you would welcome their help, so what does membership mean? What does that membership money give?

The other goal is fundraising. In order to be able to fund projects like those beautiful benches, it's important to have money. Could you have a selection of donations/amounts? $75 to buy a new book. $250 for a special holiday children's program. $10,000 for new furniture for a study room. Have a wide variety of amounts and projects.

Also when you think about getting people involved in volunteering, don't forget about Scouts. They need to do volunteer work for advancement and Eagle Scouts are required to plan and organize a project, including finding people to do the work. Are there volunteer opportunities for things that can be done at home? Or at flexible times (like when a child is at preschool)?

I LOVE libraries.
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Old 08-13-2022, 10:31 AM
  #17

You guys gave us a lot to think about. Iím running the ideas by my BFF, and we are putting a plan into place to present at the next meeting. (We are the President and Vice President.)

We are leaning toward officers, active members, and supporters, with clearly defined roles.
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