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Signature Events for Libraries

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From "chocolate in the stacks" tastings to 5K runs to off-site literary dinner parties, small libraries are getting creative in offering signature events that raise funds and create friends. This ...

From "chocolate in the stacks" tastings to 5K runs to off-site literary dinner parties, small libraries are getting creative in offering signature events that raise funds and create friends. This presentation is a "show and tell" of library fundraisers, with quick tips on how to get started in your community.

Presented at the 2012 Association of Rural and Small Libraries Conference, as a WebJunction webinar on March 19, 2013, and as a two-hour workshop at the Eastern Shore Regional Library (MD) on May 2, 2013. Scheduled to present: Ontario Library Association Super Conference in Toronto, January 2014 and as a Trustee Institute for the Westchester Library System in April 2014.

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  • Thank Jennifer & WebJunction for opportunity to talk about one of my favorite topics! Put a plug in for ARSL Conference.Tell you briefly about my background…….
  • Sometimes people start their career in a smaller library and end it in a larger library. My work in libraries has been the opposite………….First substantial job was in White Plains, NY a suburb about 25 miles north of NYC. My position there was Community Relations Librarian – I did outreach and programming for adults; in 2005 the White Plains Library Foundation established a signature event called the Treasures Gala – this my first exposure & I was hooked.Six years ago I moved to the Western part of New York State and became the Library Director at the Seymour Library; I established a signature event there “After Hours @ the Library” which was a scaled down version of the WP Event.I am currently the Director of the Pioneer Library System, a cooperative public library system serving 42 small libraries across 4 counties; our smallest library has a service population of 330 and our largest of 26,000. The median population served by Pioneer libraries is about 5,500.Even tho I’m no longer in a library, I’m still doing signature events in my role as a Steering Committee member of the New Yorkers for Better Libraries PAC. More about that later…..
  • Generally, if an event takes place in the library, it is “owned” by an organization – no one else can do that
  • Before FADE IN:Jennifer, I know we posed a question about why do signature events…..do we have some responses?
  • My biggest problem was trying to choose which of the many events I have collected to show you – there are so many fun, community – building events to choose from……….
  • As I mentioned earlier, my first exposure to signature events in libraries was in White Plains. This was a pretty major production at $100 a ticket, with a 30 member planning committee. The event included a silent auction, a giving tree, 3 food stations, and a treasure hunt with clues. Advertising space was sold in a commemorative journal, and major sponsors included IBM and Target.
  • When I got to the Seymour Library, I took a lot of the ideas from White Plains and adapted them to a smaller community. After Hours @ the Library was $25 per ticket event, and we used lots of volunteers from within the community to keep our expenses low…..pictured are Circle K members from The College at Brockport. The first year we did the event it was to raise funds for an early literacy area in the Children’s Room – the Tot Spot. The second year it was to raise funds for a teen area. Both years raised about $13,000.
  • Fundraiser I worked on last year – audience was people who work in and on behalf of libraries (mostly library staff and a few trustees at the event). The PAC gives $ to New York State legislators who are in a position to help libraries, or who have demonstrated their support of libraries in the past. We raised about $6,000 after expenses at this event.
  • One of my favorite events, which takes place every Valentine’s Day in a small library in Wyoming County.The Cordelia A. Greene library serves a population of 2,900 and employs 1 full-time director and 1 part-time clerk.
  • Friends group makes the chocolate, and they present it beautifully.No entry fee; just what you buy in tickets for the chance auction.
  • In 2011 there were 60 baskets for the auction; 93 people attended the event, and the library raised $1400The baskets are not all high ticket items – they mostly reflect the businesses in the community and some are donations from private individuals. On the left is a pair of rain boots from the local hardware store, and a gift certificate for a large pepperoni pizza from a local pizzeria.
  • So we’ve looked at two “on-site” events which took place in libraries. That doesn’t have to be the case with a signature event…..This event in support of the Caledonia Library Association – service pop. 4,300 – took place at a local restaurant. The staff at the Village Inn dressed as literary characters – from Edgar Allen Poe to Laura Ingers Wilder, who served hors oeuvres from her wicker basket. The theme carried over to the food – there were Zorba the Greek pastry puffs and Velveteen Rabbit carrot cakes.In addition to ticket sales, the library brought in revenue from a lottery tree raffle and a silent auction. Add in some miscellaneous donations and a discount from the Village Inn, and the library raised over 8,000 – the first year they did the event.
  • Another off-site event………took place at a state historical park where a lot of weddings are held. Featured hors d’oeurves, wine, music, silent auction and a live auction.
  • Sodus: 7,700 population, right on Lake Ontario.Sodus businesses and individuals really came through with silent auction items. We netted a total of $1,691.20 - and had fun doing it :)We're now planning another event, this time at Jack's in Sodus Point. We're throwing around ideas of a "slam" of some sort with short stories, poetry, etc. -
  • The Eagle Free Library, Bliss, NY (service population 1,200) held a Golf Tournament, sponsored by local garage. Approximately $4,000 was raised. Brother-in-law of a library trustee came up with the idea and talked it up amongst the guys that hang out and come through thegarage he runs. Sold 2 sponsors for each hole - again, mostly to people coming through the garage Barbers - and held a 50/50 raffle and a chinese auction (which trustee brought around to 5 different venues in town over a 2 week period). Also had donors for the food & sponsor hole signs. We held random drawings for sets of golf balls and gave away some very nice imprinted golf balls to the tournament winning team and winning couples team. The tournament was the easy part, the chinese auction was a pain. All together, though, it was a very successful event that we have already booked again for next year.
  • Well developed 5K – in its 17th year
  • A 5k in its infancy
  • I first heard about min-golf in the library at a New York Library Association conference a few years ago. W-S Library; basic putters and used golf balls from Goodwill; discards, glue and a hole saw.
  • Last weekend, with that vendor from the conference During the afternoon, families and kids were invited to play, for free, from 1-5 p.m.  There was also balloon animals, snacks and cotton candy for sale. Evening event will support children’s and teens’ educational programs at the Library. "TOURNAMENT SPONSOR" (6 included) $1,250.00 Tournament Sponsorships include six guests, and six tickets for a special door prize drawing, logo/name in event publicity and VIP table at event to distribute promotional items."LIBRARY OPEN SPONSOR" (4 included) $500.00 "Library Open" Sponsorships include four guests, and four tickets for a special door prize drawing, logo/name in event publicity."HOLE SPONSOR" (2 included) $250.00 Hole Sponsorships include two guests, and two tickets for a special door prize drawing, logo/name in event publicity
  • During the afternoon, families and kids are invited to play, for free, from 1-5 p.m.  We’ll also have the Balloon Man, Scott Kazan, on hand to create amazing balloon animals.  Snacks and cotton candy will be available for purchase.  The event is free; to ensure the safety and comfort of patrons, timed tickets will be given out on a first-come first-served basis beginning at 12:30 p.m. in the Museum Gallery.The event will support children’s and teens’ educational programs at the Library.  We thank TD Bank, our title sponsor,  and major sponsors Pepsico and Uno Chicago Grill for their support."TOURNAMENT SPONSOR" (6 included) $1,250.00 Tournament Sponsorships include six guests, and six tickets for a special door prize drawing, logo/name in event publicity and VIP table at event to distribute promotional items."LIBRARY OPEN SPONSOR" (4 included) $500.00 "Library Open" Sponsorships include four guests, and four tickets for a special door prize drawing, logo/name in event publicity."HOLE SPONSOR" (2 included) $250.00 Hole Sponsorships include two guests, and two tickets for a special door prize drawing, logo/name in event publicity
  • One more mini-golf event……I love the Caddy Stacks theme!
  • A Signature Event doesn’t have to have fundraising as one of its goals….Here’s a bookmark contest.When I was the library director in Brockport, I joined the Kiwanis Club. They were looking for a project to partner with the library on, and they were also interested in earning patches for their club banner.I did a little research and found a service project on the Kiwanis International website called “Read Around the World.” The idea was for local clubs to get books in the hands of children.I took that concept, stole an idea I found online from the Toronto Public Library, and founded the Design-A-Bookmark Contest.We partnered with the elementary school librarians to get the word out in the schools. Every child K-5 who entered the contest received a book, courtesy of the Kiwanis Club (with a book plate inside).Judges were local elected officials, the Friends President, the Library Board President, and school librarians.We had a big party for the announcement of the winners, where members of the Kiwanis Club gave out books and made remarks. We followed with an ice cream social, staffed by Circle K students from the College.
  • Traditional auction – if anyone watches Storage Wars, you know what a traditional auction is. You need an auctioneer, who can be either a professional or an amateur. One of the events in the Show & Tell – Wood, Wine and Song – uses their state assemblyman as auctioneer.A silent auction uses bid sheets, with a minimum bid listed for each item. Bidders write in what they are willing to pay for an item, up until a pre-determined time when the bids “close.” Whomever has the highest bid at closing, wins the item.For chance auctions (sometimes called Chinese auctions), people purchase tickets and go around putting them in containers next to the item or items they want to win. A winning ticket is drawn for each item. Raffle vs. auction – in a raffle, all prizes are drawn from the same “hat.” In a chance auction, each prize has its own “hat”
  • Promptly and personally thank those who have supported you. A thank you can also be an event that builds buzz for the next event…..each attendee and sponsor from the first annual After Hours @ the Library event received an invitation to a ribbon cutting for the early literacy area that was creating with the funds raised. At the ribbon cutting, we encouraged people to attend the 2nd annual event, taking place 2 months later, and raising funds for the teen space. And very important at the event itself: sponsors, volunteers and guests
  • Know Your Community:Research who else is doing signature events – when are they doing them? What kind of attendance do they get? How much do they charge per ticket? Ask a few people in the community what they would think about a library event (would they come?). It’s also important to research your community’s event calendars – scheduling the library’s signature event the same night as a community theater production and a local hospital fundraiser isn’t advisable. Event Committee:You are going to want to choose committee members who are the “connectors” in your community. By “connectors,” I mean people who are involved in multiple community efforts – it might be a local business owner who is in the Kiwanis Club, and also serves as PTA President; or a member of the historical society who is also on the Friends of the Library Board; or the husband of the Town Supervisor who is also a member of the Lions Club. You get the idea. I will tell you that you that I don’t recommend that your event committee be made up of only library employees, trustees and Friends. One of the most important benefits of a signature event is that it exposes those who may not use the library (or use it as much as you would like them to) to the library.
  • On the WebJunction webpage for this webinar, there is a link to a Planning Worksheet. This was created to be used by an event committee at the beginning stages of planning.Working as a group to talk about love and hate events, will help you work together most effectively as a committee. Everyone will better understand where people are coming from in their thoughts and ideas about the library’s event. Here’s an example – I have a close friend with a serious food allergy. Because of my experience with him, I am put off by events where the food isn’t either clearly labeled with allergen information, or where the event organizers can’t tell us what’s “safe to eat.” Other portions of the planning worksheet…………Mission Statement is “why you’re doing this event”Goals: “Big Picture Things”Objectives: “specific, measurable, realistic”Format Ideas: You’ve just seen a bunch in the Show & Tell portion of this presentation – what might work for your community? What would be unique? How much work do you think your committee is willing to do?Theme Ideas: The best ones reflect the identity and values of your library (what you stand for - literacy, life-long learning, democracy, place where the community comes together, etc.). Ideas I particularily like that could apply to any library: Caddy Stacks, Booktoberfest, After Hours @ the Library, Book It!.I also like alliteration if it works for your situation – Fall Into the Finger Lakes; Saratoga Springs Spring Fling; Dansville Diversion, etc.
  • Sample Mission Statement & GoalsRemember - Mission Statement is “why you’re doing this event”Goals are “Big Picture Things”
  • Here are some objectives for the last slide’s goals.Remember, to be effective, objectives should be “specific, measurable, and realistic”
  • OK - Let’s Talk About Money!On the WebJunction webpage for this webinar, there is a link to a Budgeting Worksheet for your event committee to use at the beginning stages of planning.A couple of definitions on this slide: Gross: Event revenue, before expensesNet: Event revenue, less expensesIt’s important to remember that the more you spend on event execution, the less event profit you will have. Sometimes negotiation occurs within an event committee around this idea. I worked on an event where one committee member thought it was really important to give each guest a takeaway with the organization’s logo on it (examples of Takeaways – wine glass, pen, small box of chocolates). Another committee member disagreed, believing it was more important to raise as much $ as possible. How much money do you want to make? Start there and work backwards……let’s say you want to net $1,000 from your event. You’ll need to work out as a committee what is reasonable to expect attendees to pay as a ticket price, what is reasonable to expect in sponsorships – if any – and so on. The first time you do any event, you will be guestimating. Potential Event Revenue Sources:Ticket SalesSponsorshipsSilent AuctionChinese Auction50/50 raffleBook SalesPotential Event Expenses:InvitationsFacility rental (if off-site)Food / DrinkT-shirts or other giveawayTable/Linen RentalInsurance/license
  • You don’t need to spend a lot of $ to have a quality event that people will want to attend again! Carefully choose your event ambassadors. For the Sample New York fundraiser for the New Yorkers for Better Libraries PAC, I hand-picked who would be at the registration desk welcoming guests. I knew there were people who were coming to the event, who would only know a few other people there. So I chose two of the most uber-social and friendly people I know - Heidi and Susie. I knew that every guest would be greeted with a smile and with appreciation for attending the event. This set the tone for the entire evening. Music – CD player at minimumIf the event is taking place at your library – clean! No peeling signs on the bathroom stalls! Empty the trash cans before the event!Assign a staff person to take photographs; if you have a Facebook page, post the photos. This creates buzzYou don’t have to have invitations professionally printed. You can make them in Word or Publisher. I like the invitation flyer format with the tear off at the bottom (After Hours and Sample New York!). How you present the information is most important. If you’re charging $20-$25 a ticket for an evening event, don’t use cutsie clip art. Color is a nice addition if you can afford to make color copies (ink color, not paper color).
  • Respect your community, but don’t be afraid to take a risk. The first library fundraiser I organized, several trustees told me that there was no way people would pay $20 a ticket to come to the library for a party. I asked them to let me try, and we were successful.Make no mistake - it’s hard work, even if you have a good, strong committee – this is me smiling through exhaustion near the end of a library fundraiser – but it was all worth it!

Signature Events for Libraries Signature Events for Libraries Presentation Transcript

  • Signature Events for Libraries Cassie Guthrie, Executive Director Pioneer Library System (NY)
  • My Work in Libraries Signature Events for Small Libraries Service Population: 56,000 Service Population: 20,000 42 small libraries in 4 counties
  • Agenda Signature Events for Small Libraries • The What and Why of Signature Events • Event Show & Tell • Quick Tips for Getting Started • Planning • Budgeting
  • What Is a Signature Event? Signature Events for Small Libraries A unique annual event that is: • Well attended • Successful • “Owned” by an organization
  • Why Do a Signature Event? Signature Events for Small Libraries • Raise funds to support special projects • Increase awareness of the library’s service program • Community and relationship building • Generate positive publicity
  • EVENT SHOW & TELL Signature Events for Small Libraries
  • Annual Treasures Gala Signature Events for Small Libraries
  • After Hours @ the Library Signature Events for Small Libraries
  • Sample New York! Signature Events for Small Libraries
  • Chocolate in the Stacks Signature Events for Small Libraries
  • Chocolate in the Stacks Signature Events for Small Libraries
  • Chocolate in the Stacks Signature Events for Small Libraries
  • Murder Mystery Signature Events for Small Libraries
  • Murder Mystery Signature Events for Small Libraries
  • Much Ado About Our Library Signature Events for Small Libraries
  • Wood, Wine & Song Signature Events for Small Libraries
  • Sodus Library Benefit Signature Events for Small Libraries
  • Eagle Free Golf Tournament Signature Events for Small Libraries
  • Glen Iris 5k Signature Events for Small Libraries
  • Book It! 5k Signature Events for Small Libraries
  • Mini-Golf in the Library Signature Events for Small Libraries
  • Tee Off for Education! Signature Events for Small Libraries
  • Tee Off for Education! Signature Events for Small Libraries
  • Caddy Stacks Signature Events for Small Libraries
  • Bookmark Contest Signature Events for Small Libraries
  • Let’s Talk About Auctions! Signature Events for Small Libraries Traditional Silent Chance
  • Thank Yous Signature Events for Small Libraries
  • Quick Tips for Getting Started Signature Events for Small Libraries • Know Your Community • Put Together a Super Star Event Committee • Planning • Budgeting
  • Planning Signature Events for Small Libraries • Events You’ve Loved/Hated • Mission Statement • Goals • Objectives • Format Ideas • Theme Ideas
  • Planning Signature Events for Small Libraries Sample Mission Statement: “After Hours @ the Library” is an annual event that raises funds to support special projects at the Any Town Library Sample Goals: A. Raise funds for the library B. Increase awareness for the role of the library in the community C. Generate positive publicity for the library
  • Planning Signature Events for Small Libraries Sample Objectives Goal A (Fundraising): 1. Raise $1,000 net 2. Secure at least $250 in event sponsorships 3. Sell 50 tickets Goal B (Awareness): 1. Develop invitation list of 200 to include school staff, elected officials, business owners 2. Post flyers about the event in at least 5 outside the library locations 3. Speak at local service clubs about the event and the project it’s raising $ for Goal C (Publicity): 1. Present pre- and post- event news releases (post-event with photos) 2. Invite the local news media to attend
  • Budgeting Signature Events for Small Libraries Gross: Event revenue, before expenses Net: Event revenue, less expenses What is Your Fundraising Target?
  • Low Cost, High Value Signature Events for Small Libraries • Smile • Music • Clean • Photographs & Social Media • Invitations
  • A Few Final Thoughts Signature Events for Small Libraries
  • Additional Resources Signature Events for Small Libraries How to do a 5K: http://www.active.com/running/Articles/How-to-Organize-Your-First-Race DIY Murder Mysteries: http://www.nightofmystery.com/ Library mini-golf vendor: http://www.libraryminigolf.org Images from this webinar (and more): http://pinterest.com/cassieguthrie1/signature-event-flyers-and-photographs/ http://pinterest.com/cassieguthrie1/library-mini-golf/
  • Thank you! Signature Events for Small Libraries