Beyond Book Sales: The Complete Guide to Raising Real Money for Your Library

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  • Table of Contents
  • About the Author
  • Reviews

Like library users, library donors hail from all walks of life. Regardless of the scope or complexity of library fundraising, successful efforts are always about forging and strengthening relationships with the range of stakeholders throughout the community. Dowd and her team from Library Strategies, a consulting group of the Friends of St. Paul Public Library, share proven strategies that have brought in more than $1 million annually. Believing that private fundraising is a natural for libraries large and small, they start with 12 facts about library fundraising and focus on activities with the highest return. Tips and features include:

  • The gift pyramid model for developing the culture of giving that leads to big gifts
  • Overcoming fears of sponsorship and embracing cause-related marketing
  • Pitching the appropriate charitable gift
  • Confronting common fears of requesting major gifts
  • The pros and cons of membership programs

Foreword by Karin Slaughter
Preface: Welcome to Library Fund-raising
PART I: Focus on Fund-raising—Fund-amentals for Libraries
Chapter 1: Libraries Need Fund-raising More Than Ever
  • Library Use is Increasing 
  • Libraries Matter
  • References
Chapter 2: Four Reasons Why Now Is a Good Time for Library Fund-raising
  • There Are More Ways Than Ever to Connect with Donors
  • The Media Has Taken an Interest in Libraries
  • Fund-raising Has Become Part of Today's Library Landscape
  • Libraries Have a Strong Pool of Volunteers to Help Raise Funds
  • References
Chapter 3: Private Fund-raising Is a Natural for Libraries
  • The Value of Libraries
  • Library Donors Understand the Value of Libraries to Their Communities
  • Closing the Circle
  • References
Chapter 4: Twelve Must-Know Facts about Library Fund-raising
  • Effective Fund-raising Is About Relationships First, Money Second
  • A Clear Case for Support and Strong, Consistent Messages Are Crucial
  • To Value the Library Is Not Enough
  • Libraries Have Both an Intellectual and Emotional Appeal to Donors
  • Everyone on Your Staff Plays a Role in Fund-raising
  • A Strong Fund-raising Committee or Board Makes Strong Connections
  • Most Donors Are People, Not Institutions
  • Your Largest Donors May Not Be Library Users
  • Corporate Philanthropy Is About More Than Altruism
  • Advocacy and Fund-raising Go Hand-in-Hand
  • Fund-raising Is a Year-Round Activity
  • Saying "Thank You" Matters
Chapter 5: Who Can Help with Fund-raising?
  • Finding Fund-raising Volunteers
  • Library Friends
  • Library Foundation
  • Library Fund-raising Committee
  • Library Staff
  • Library Trustees
  • Consultants
Chapter 6: Ready, Set, Go!
  • Your Library's Strengths and Challenges
  • Your Library's Current Fund-raising Activities
  • Your Library's Fund-raising Plan
  • Evaluating Your Fund-raising Activities
Chapter 7: Thanking, Honoring, and Nurturing Your Donors . . . and Keeping Track of Them
  • Thanking Your Donors
  • Recognizing and Honoring Your Donors
  • Nurturing Your Donors
  • Keeping Track of Your Donors
Chapter 8: The Role of Marketing and Public Relations in Fund-raising for Libraries
  • What Is the Difference between Marketing and Public Relations?
  • Online Marketing 
  • Branding and Identity
  • Media Relations
Chapter 9: Fund-raising for "the Other 95 Percent" of Your Library's Budget
  • What Is Advocacy?
  • The Relationship Between Advocacy and Fund-raising How to Conduct Advocacy Activities
  • The Legality of Lobbying and Advocacy
  • Leveraging Private Funds to Secure Public Funds
PART II: Roll Up Your Sleeves—Types of Fund-raising Activities
Chapter 10: Creating a Culture of Giving through Annual and Special Appeals
  • Annual Appeals
  • A Keystone for Your Library's Fund-raising
  • Getting Started
  • Special Appeals
Chapter 11: Membership Programs
  • Is a Membership Program Worth Your Effort? Membership Levels
  • Selling the Idea of Membership
  • Membership and Organization Models
Chapter 12: The Gift of Remembrance: Tributes and Memorials
  • Creating a Tributes and Memorials Brochure
  • Using and Recognizing Tribute and Memorial Gifts 
Chapter 13: The Big Bang: Major Gifts
  • What Is a Major Gift?
  • Using Major Gifts
  • Best Prospects for Major Gifts
  • Soliciting Major Gifts
Chapter 14: Leaving a Legacy through Planned Giving
  • What Is Planned Giving?
  • Why Is Planned Giving Important to Your Library?
  • Developing a Basic Planned Giving Program
  • The Most Common Planned Giving Methods
  • Restricted vs. Unrestricted Funds
  • Notification of a Planned Gift 
Chapter 15: Taking the Fear Out of Fund-raising Events
  • What Can a Special Event Do for Your Library?
  • Types of Fund-raising Events
  • Potential Challenges of Special Events
  • Ten Tips for Conducting a Successful Special Event
  • Corporate Sponsorship—The Sweet Spot in a Special Event
  • Planning Your Event
Chapter 16: Donate Now! Getting Started with Online Giving
  • Fund-raising Should Be a Multipronged Effort
  • Getting Online—Hire a Service DIY Online Giving—Take Baby Steps 
  • Landing Pages
  • Forms That Follow Function
  • You're Online. Now What?
  • References
Chapter 17: Building Relationships with Businesses for Library Fund-raising
  • Sponsorships, Underwriting, and Libraries (No Reason to Cringe)
  • Why Do Businesses Choose Library Sponsorships?
  • Finding a Sponsor
  • Securing a Sponsor
  • Sponsorship Agreements
Chapter 18: Securing a Grant (It's Not Just About Writing)
  • Before You Start Writing
  • Identifying a Need . . . or Why Should You Receive Grant Funds?
  • Finding Appropriate Funders . . . or Who Will Support Your Work?
  • Communicating Effectively . . . or How Do You Build Relationships with Your Funders?
  • Writing a Great Grant Proposal
  • Six Basic Components of a Grant Proposal
  • Drumroll, Please! Grant Proposal Follow-up
Chapter 19: Capital Campaigns Are Not Just for Dreamers
  • Pre-Campaign: Getting Ready for a Capital Campaign
  • Pre-Campaign: Conducting the Feasibility Study
  • Pre-Campaign: Refining Your Campaign and Recruiting Leadership
  • Your Quiet Phase: Securing Large Lead Gifts
  • Launching the Public Phase
  • Wrapping Up
  • Afterword: What Does It All Mean?
PART III: Appendix: Fund-raising Toolkit
PART IV: Fund-raising Gallery
About the Authors

Susan Dowd

Susan Dowd is a staff member of The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library, where she serves as Capital Campaign Coordinator and Special Projects Coordinator. She is also a Library Strategies consultant. She holds a Master of Librarianship from Emory University and is certified in Fundraising and Fund Development from the University of Saint Thomas. She has authored a number of advocacy and fundraising toolkits for ALA’s Advocacy University and co-authored a how-to book on mergers for Minnesota nonprofits. She collaborated on Beyond Book Sales with co-authors, fellow Friends’ staff members and Library Strategies’ consultants Liz Boyd, Sue Hall, Ann McKinnon, Wendy Moylan, and Peter Pearson.

"Lives up to its title … [an] absolute ‘must-have' for library professionals in today's rough economic times."
--Midwest Book Review

"A treasure trove of fundraising plans, examples, templates, and strategies. While the examples used in the book are primarily drawn from public libraries, many of the tips, charts, and solutions can be adapted for school and academic libraries."


"Appeals, membership programs, legacy gifts, special events, online donations, grants, and capital campaigns are all covered. Samples and examples abound in the 'Fund-Raising Toolkit' and 'Fund-Raising Gallery' appendixes, from flyers and bookmarks to worksheets and templates. Recommended for most public libraries."

— Booklist

"The contributors do a thorough job laying out the fundraising process ... Beyond Book Sales successfully blends inspiration and practical advice. It is highly recommended."
— Catholic Library World

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