Step 5 - Raise funds to cover shipping and related expenses
Each book drive organizer is responsible for covering the costs of shipping the books to their African destination. The funds are needed in two stages.
For one library of 1,000 books (mostly paperbacks), total shipping costs are estimated at $500-$600 (about $200-$300 for domestic postage for mailing your books to our warehouse and $300 to contribute to international shipping and related expenses.)
The best kind of fundraiser gets your entire community into the spirit of contributing to a great cause. You want a lot of "buzz" so that everyone is talking about your library project.
- Create your fundraising plan at the beginning of your book drive, not the end.
- Set a specific dollar goal and let people know how the money will be used.
- Let people know that they are contributing to a great cause! Tell them how the money you raise will be used to ship 1000 (or more) books to Africa to start a library.
- Pick fundraising ideas that you and your volunteers will enjoy doing. Make it fun!
- Consider including some education in your fundraiser so that everyone learns more about Africa and the African Library Project. For example, show African Library Project DVD to your donors to kick off your fundraising and book collection efforts.
There are countless traditional and creative ways to raise funds for your project. Browse the section Book Drives in Action to see what other groups are doing. You might find some ideas that fit your situation perfectly and save you a lot of work! Here are some of our favorites:
For schools or large groups:
- Organize students to “Read for Africa”. Each student estimates how many books they will read, then asks family and friends to sponsor them for a specific amount per book, e.g. $1/book for 15 books equals a $15 donation. This is a great way to promote reading here and in Africa at the same time.
- Host a geography or spelling bee and feature African sites and words? The Zambezi River flows between what two countries? Can you spell Ouagadougou? Charge entry fees and admission fees. Get local personalities to enter! Get press and with it more books and monetary donations:)
- Find two favorite personalities at your school who are willing to help you raise money. Ask them to stand on a chair or ladder about 3'-5’ off the ground next to the wall in the gym. Sell 5’ pieces of duct tape to students for $2 each. One piece at a time, have the students race to tape their favorite to the wall of the gym for the sake of African literacy and guaranteed fun.
- Ask the principal or favorite teacher(s) if they will support your efforts by challenging the school to do something crazy if you reach your book and fundraising goals. For example, get a Mohawk haircut in front of the entire school, wear an embarrassing costume, or become a human ice cream sundae. Kids can vote with their wallets on whether the principal or a teacher should dye their hair pink or purple :) Or they can cast votes of confidence for $1 each on which teachers will win an arm wrestling contest.
- With BeadforLife’s Fundraising with Curriculum program you can raise money for your international shipping, learn more about global poverty and help Ugandan women all at the same time. Use the free BeadforLife Curriculum for Youth and then follow-up by hosting a BeadParty. BeadforLife will send you everything you need including the beautiful handmade paper jewelry. Once your BeadParty is returned, the African Library Project will receive 20% of funds raised to support the international portion of shipping your books to Africa. To learn more click here! One book drive reported to us, "We used BeadforLIfe as a fundraiser; it was amazing! They made the entire process so easy, provided wonderful curriculum, and the jewelry was very well received by my school community. We had 300 pieces of jewelry and we sold out in 40 minutes! It was so much fun, too."
- Have a "Wild for Books" Day. Everyone wears an article of clothing with an animal print on it and "votes" for the African animal of their choice by donating $1 and writing their name by their favorite type of animal.
- Hold an African Library Project Fashion Show. Contact local clothing stores to ask if they will donate their clothes for an evening (to be returned) for the sake of African literacy. Ask students, teachers and administrators to be models. If you organize it…they will come!
- Launch a “Give Something Up” campaign to encourage people to give something up and donate the money saved to sponsor a library. This might be a morning cup of coffee, a newspaper or magazine, a movie, a dessert, etc. There is a long list of things that we can do without for a day, and this helps us think about how valuable a small personal sacrifice of ours can be in making a difference to another. Try for 100% participation no matter how small the donation.
- Ask students and teachers to donate $1/day for 10 days or until you make your goal. By making the amount so small, you should get a tremendous response.
- Buy some red vines and wrapped sour candies at a warehouse store in bulk and sell them for 50¢ each at your school’s book fair or lunchtime.
- Ask for donations from parents and students. Some people do not have books to donate but are glad to support the project financially.
- Request a grant from your school’s student council or parent organization.
- Ask students (or churchgoers) to pay to not wear a uniform (or fancy clothes) for a special African Library Project day to raise money (if your school requires uniforms).
- Ask a local restaurant if they will donate a percentage (usually 10-15%) of all the meals purchased by your supporters on a certain day or week. This attracts new and different clientele to the restaurant. If you have a local African restaurant, even better:)
- Ask every child in your class/school to do chores for change at home or for neighbors and donate their wages to the African Library Project.
- Ask children to donate coins and put them in a 5 gallon water container. See what $500 in change looks like!
- Children can donate 25 cents to see the librarian or other favorite teacher/administrator read from the school’s roof.
For small groups:
- Recycle in a big way! Hold a garage sale and invite friends and neighbors to donate their items and books, then hold a garage sale or parking lot sale. Make sure all your customers know how the proceeds will be used. Trunk sales are especially easy to organize. Ask people to sell items right out of the trunk of their car in a parking lot sale and donate the money to your book drive.
- Ask for a cash donation at your book collection box. Place an envelope or slotted container near the collection box with a sign asking for donations.
- Get sponsors within your group to pledge money to an individual to swim, skate, walk, bike or read (the best!).
- Hold a plant sale, car wash or bake sale. You can even take orders in advance and make baked goods from your customer’s favorite recipe. Set up a lemonade and cookie stand at an event that will attract many people.
- Ask families to donate prizes and hold a raffle. Prizes might include tickets to sporting events, passes to dance/exercise classes and special outings among many others.
- Put on a theatrical/singing/talent show and use ticket sales to fund the library costs. Partner with an already established drama/singing group. You don’t have to do it all yourself.
- Hold a tip night at a friendly, local restaurant. Kids can serve customers drinks and meals and bus tables. Put a jar at the cash register to collect tips for the evening.
- Send an email to your friends and family saying what you are doing with a link to your ALP webpage on our website. Simply ask people to donate. A personal appeal like this is very effective because these people know and trust you. Ask donors who work for corporations if they have a matching gift program and you will double the donation.
- Ask a local business or service club (e.g., Rotary, Lions, Kiwanis, Soroptimists, etc.) to sponsor the library by donating the shipping costs.
- Hold a book sale with the books you have collected that are not suitable to send to Africa. Use the money to pay for shipping the Africa-bound books.
- In lieu of gifts for your birthday, Confirmation, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, or other special occasion, request that friends give a donation to the African Library Project in your name. Encourage donations as a living memorial for those who would like to honor a loved one that has died.
- Use Facebook causes and/or birthday wish to request donations from friends and family.
- Ask local restaurants, book stores or retail stores to put in a "change jar" at their cashier stands to raise money. Make a small display to go with the jar or ask us for African Library Project stickers to wrap around the jar. The servers at one restaurant donated all their tips for a week towards shipping costs.
Remember: Everyone is more likely to be generous when they understand what you are trying to do and how their money can make a difference.
As you find other fun and successful fundraising ideas, please let us know so that we can share them with others!