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Competing for Fun and Funds

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Erik Mitchell, Susan Smith and Mary Beth Lock present on a 5K used to raise funds for library programs.

Erik Mitchell, Susan Smith and Mary Beth Lock present on a 5K used to raise funds for library programs.


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  • WFU is an AcademicCollegiate UniversityPrivate, co-ed liberal arts institutionLocated in Winston-Salem, NC (since 1956)It is mid-size, 4476 undergraduates, Total enrollment: 6862The campus is a traditional Setting, with the majority of undergraduates living on campus This makes them very reliant on their library for study space and services.
  • “to help our faculty, students and staff succeed.”The library is patron centered in everything we doAnd, “Wake the library” is a prime example of ways that we have worked to extend our services to meet the student’s needs.
  • Wake the library began as an idea by Lynn Sutton, who, 5 years ago, as a new director there, proposed that the library stay open all night to accommodate students who needed to study during exams.The staff of the library decided to go one better by not only staying open all night, but also feeding the students at midnight. The library fundraising began…staff contacted on campus departments also focused on student success to seek funding so that we could purchase food for the 250 to 300 students who would study there all night.We only did internal requests, funders lost a bit of interest after a few yearsAfter 5 years, our internal funding was beginning to dry up, so we needed a solution to how to continue to raise funds for the event…since our students continued to stay VERY interested in the nightly food fest.
  • What is was:A 5k (runner and walker friendly)Preceded by a1 mile fun runMeant to provide a the Wake Forest experience to the communityAnd Highlight the new study spaces in the library, and introduce the new Starbucks.Our initial goal was Fundraising, but we also recognized the value such an event could have on Community Building. And we also realized a side-benefit: we had a chance to re-define for the community the library’s role on campus and Librarian role in the community, too.
  • Critical to achieve this mission was to form Partnerships and get Sponsorships. We had run races, but never actually RAN one…Aramark, (the campus food services), Fleet Feet, an area running store, and Campus Recreation partnered to help us pull off the race and give us tips on what needed to be done.Frank L. Blum (the contractor who had done the renovation in the library in the Summer of 2008) along with Aramark, provided sponsorships. Other sponsorships required shoe leather We learned that you can’t just ask anyone to give you money for this kind of event. There are political ramifications:Particularly on sponsorship (For instance, you can’t ask two competitors in same line, ie 2 running companies to sponsor, or Campus recreation & Golds Gym) If you look closely, you’ll see we “Oopsed” there. We also learned that fitness centers don’t like to be on the same billing as clubs that serve alcohol. Oops again.But we did build new relationships & created new opportunities through our conversations with them.New departmental relationshipsStudent Government PresidentTrust it will work
  • Thousands of details: Starting with Marketing: we needed to have a branding…and we needed to start to generate interest A Timing company: securing them early allowed us to focus on other things. These folks were hired in to “run” the race, make sure that all of the age category first/second/third racer winners were awarded appropriately.(And then we needed race numbers for the runners so that as they crossed the finish line their “place” could be recorded.) Campus coordination: we needed to “clear” the date on the campus calendar, arrange for parking for participants, get cooperation from campus police for traffic control Photographer to record the event Food to feed the runners/walkers Advance Registration : set up a website to allow for online registration, and also allow for those who wanted to register by mail or by dropping off a check. Prizes: more shoe leather needed as we turned over every rock to find people to give us appropriate stuff for prizes for the winners. Medical: We had to find ways to secure medical personnel should an emergency arise. Expo area on race day: We invited our contributors to come and have a presence on race day to allow them to take part in the event. (We also needed a tent, borrowed of course.) Music to provide ambiance and a party atmosphere, and a PA system to make announcementsOrganization by Wiki
  • MarketingLogo DesignSignage on campusFastest Greek competitionBring in student life & other organizations on campusTraining runs with the Fitness CenterUtilized Fleet Feet’s email newsletterto promote the eventFlyers mailed through local running organizationRace website
  • With a GPS and a pedometer we walked off the course to ensure that it truly would be a 5 K. This is when having members of the staff who had all the toys came in handy. The staff chipped in to smooth over the bumps and help with the course preparation.We hung signs to trees and spray painted arrows on the dirt to ensure that no body got left behind.
  • Here’s a picture of the borrowed tent, and what was our “EXPO”For our CostsCampus Police, traffic controlT-ShirtsStudent volunteers (had to pay hourly rate for them)Printing of brochures, and signageTiming companyFinish line balloonarchSome food was paid for Donations:Prizes were donated (gift certificates and framed photos)Some food was donatedHarris Teeter gave us reuseable bags for every runner…(we were trying to be green!)
  • First, we first found new partnersBut before we could even get traction, we needed to demonstrate that we weren’t your dad’s librarian….We spoke with multitudes of people. We gained credibility by participating in other campus events (hit the bricks just prior to our race)We had a number of people who had experience and enthusiasm with volunteering and we used them!Other expertise: Fleet Feet and Campus Recreation who gave us some great pointers.Outsourcing: The Timing Company!
  • VolunteersLibrary volunteers raceday (library staff and library students)Get students involved when possible (volunteers from the library, we had to pay them, but others were free!!
  • We had the Deacon make an appearance. We tried to make it fun for all ages!
  • Bottom lineWe raised $2750 in donations from other departments on WFU’s campusWe raised $3900 in cash and gift in kind donations from off campus venues and businessesWe raised $2960 from registrations.On race day we had 152 registrants:46 Wake Forest University Students participatedApproximately 28 staff from WFU The balance, 78 people, came from the community. So yeah, I’d say we managed to get the community involved and raise funds!
  • Lessons learned Make a choice & don’t worry about it, mistakes happen Fundraising can be troublesome, and arduous. Start early when asking for corporate donations. They frequently have targets for giving, and plan out months in advance. It is challenging to collaborate and outsource (especially when you don’t know exactly what your doing).But creating these opportunities leads to good relationships, and fumbling through it together creates bonds.Find an expert – Campus Recreation, andFleet Feet gave lots of assistance and showedup on race day! Librarians need to get out more – Image of the library and Librarians increased over timeProvost commented on Race day: “What a great community building event.” (Her daughter took first place in her age category, so that didn’t hurt.) It helped to involve students: gave the race some “traction” We involved the student government (Student council president shot the starting gun!)Greek organizations were invited, but participation was weak (Could be that early Saturday morning thing)Student EMTs provided medical coverageStudent assistants helped in numerous ways. In second year we are looking more at a division of laborFundraising handled by a committeeRace coordination by a few Race etiquitte: don’t start too early, (if you want students to run), don’t start too late (if you want community to run), check with other area races to ensure that you aren’t going to have your race conflict with another race. And find out what’s going on the day BEFORE the race on campus to ensure that all of your potential racers won’t be out partying late the night before. Registration fees – who do you charge full fare to?  What role do race fees play? Compared to fund raising, the registration fees do not really make you the money. Were our registration fees too high for the quality of race we gave? (Registrants for the 5K paid $20. Registrants for the 1 Mile Fun Run paid $15.) Perhaps goals were better served with lower registration fees for students, and community members to better meet the goal of community building. Let the corporate donors bring in the money. We definitely need a better method of registration. Hand keying in registrants who mailed in registrations was for the birds. Also, we hadn’t made any accommodation for people who wanted to walk the 1 mile with kids and had to scramble to accommodate them. Focus on your population for t-shirts (we needed lots of smalls, very few XLs) Ask them at registration what size shirt they will need.
  • Next stepsWill we do it again? Yes. Did it serve your purposes? In our case, yes it did.We thought that having it on homecoming weekend was a good idea but student govt has already emailed us saying that presidents ball was night before and she hoped it would not hurt our attendance. 
  • Transcript

    • 1. Competing for Fun and Funds: The 1st Annual
    • 2. Who We Are WFU is an academic collegiate university Private, co-ed liberal arts institution Located in Winston-Salem, NC (since 1956) It is mid-size, 4476 undergraduates, Total enrollment: 6862 Traditional setting, the undergrads live on campus and rely on the library
    • 3. Mission
    • 4. Wake the Library In 2004, the library director proposed that we stay open all night during exams Staff decided it would be nice to feed the students at midnight Sought funds from other university departments to purchase the food for 250 to 300 students per night.
    • 5. Susan Smith and Erik Mitchell
    • 6. WTL 5K Mission Fund raising and Community Building We had a 5K (runner and walker friendly) preceded by a 1 mile fun run To raise money for the “Wake the Library” event every year, and get the community involved with the library and the campus.
    • 7. Partnerships, Relationships, Sponsorships
    • 8. Mechanics Marketing Hire a timing company Security for race day Photographer Food for race day Website registration Prizes for the winners Medical attendants in case of injury Expo on race day Music and a PA for race day
    • 9. Marketing
    • 10. Preparation is Key •Map out the 5 K course •Prepare it •Mark it so no one gets lost
    • 11. Budget/Costs Campus police T-shirts Brochures Signage Timing Company Finish Line Balloons Food
    • 12. Crowdsourcing A Race Found partners on campus Fleet Feet (a runners store) Campus Recreation The timing company Participated in other campus events to raise interest and awareness
    • 13. Volunteers! Library Student Assistants And Staff!
    • 14. Race Day with the Deacon
    • 15. An All Ages Event!
    • 16. What’s the Bottom Line Raised : $2750 in donations from on campus $3900 in donations from off campus $2960 in entry fees
    • 17. Lessons Learned Approach corporate donors early Outsource, get help Find an expert Divide the labor Involve the students: Greek organizations Student Government You may make more money if you get more donors, lower the entry fee
    • 18. Beyond the Finish Line Second annual WTL5K is scheduled for Homecoming Weekend, 2009!
    • 19. Contact Info: Susan Smith: smithss@wfu.edu Erik Mitchell: mitcheet@wfu.edu Mary Beth Lock: lockmb@wfu.edu