School libraries are an invaluable resource to students and teachers alike, providing access to a universe of print and digital media and teaching students how to consume and use information responsibly. For all the good that libraries do in their schools, they are often chronically underfunded. Enter into the equation a new trend: crowdsourcing.
You’ve probably heard of websites like Kickstarter, Indiegogo and DonorsChoose. These sites have made it possible for regular people to raise the funding they need to get creative projects and businesses off the ground. They enable people to go directly to the community that benefits from their services to seek funding. Why not give it a try for your library? Here are some tips and fundraising ideas to help you get the money you need for a 21st-century library.
1. Determine the Right Website
The popular websites for crowdsourcing have traditionally been DonorsChoose, Kickstarter and Indiegogo. While these platforms have done amazing things, they have restrictions such as fees, time limits and goal thresholds. When time limits and goal thresholds aren’t met, these sites deny you the funds that were donated to you.
2. Figure Out a Hook
The only thing people love more than a good story is an underdog. Think about something that will set your ask apart from what other institutions might be trying to do. For example, $3,000 for new computers may be a worthy goal, but this is also a pretty ordinary request.
3. Plan Out Your Campaign Ahead of Time
Once you’ve determined which platform and creative hook to use, it’s time to get down to business and plan out your campaign. Don’t just throw your ask onto PledgeCents or another site and hope for the best. Now is the time to put on your marketing hat and think about ways that you can leverage your networks to be successful.
Once you have a plan in place for all of those action items, share, share, share! If you want your campaign to go viral, you should get it in front of as many eyeballs as you can. Start with the people you know and ask them to share. Soon enough, you may be getting donations to help your library thrive.