How do you start to raise money for the library?
Start by thinking about what your library represents in your community. What is your brand? How do people view you?
If you don’t know, you need to survey people. Get a survey next to the checkout desk and ask people to fill it out while they wait for their books to be checked out.
Ask questions like:
What words do you associate with the library?
Now start to think about how people interact with the library.
- They can order books online.
- They can walk in and pick up their books.
- They can browse through the stacks.
- They can go to a community meeting at your library.
- They can come to storytime at your library.
- If they need internet access or to look up grants, they can come to your library.
- They also pay their fines at your library.
Each of these ways that they interact with you can be turned into an opportunity to get donations for your library. For example:
They can order books online. Could you add a donate screen after they reserve books? Say, “please donate to our library. We DESPERATELY need your help to get new carpet for the children’s area. We just need $200 more dollars to get to our goal. Could you help us? (And put in a live donation thermometer, to show them it’s a real project.)”
They can walk in and pick up their books. They walk in, and you have their name in their reserved book. You could also put a remit envelope in the reserved book, telling them how much the society needs your library, and how much it costs to reserve a book.
They can browse through the stacks. In the stacks, you can have a brochure and a remit envelope about your library. Show people how much the library means to the community, and ask them to give.
They can check out books with you personally. When they check out, invite them to get on the library mailing list, and be kept in the loop on all of the new books they care about, and community events at the library.
They can go to a community meeting at your library. At the community meeting, have a stack of your brochures and envelopes, and you can address the meeting before it starts, saying “Thank you for being here. We love to be here for you too. We hope that you’ll consider becoming members of the library.”
They can come to storytime at your library. Ask for donations in the break at storytime. When storytime is over, thank everyone who gave.
If they need internet access or to look up grants, they can come to your library. If they want to use the internet, get a popup on the right hand side of the screen with fun facts about the library, and ways to donate to the library.
Keep asking people for donations. The more you ask, the more you will receive. You are providing a priceless service to the community, and the community needs to support you.