Book drive organizers looking for creative strategies to raise funds for shipping and mailing may not think that ugly sweaters could be much help, but Tanvi Hathiramani found that Ugly Holiday Sweater Day was a successful way to raise money for a 2016 book drive at the Greater Miami Academy High School.

“For a fund-raiser,” she said, “we held an ugly sweater day.  Students who wanted to wear an ugly holiday sweater to school that day had to buy a $3 ticket.  Not only did Ugly Holiday Sweater Day raise money for shipping the books to Africa, but it also prompted holiday spirit at the school.  It was fun!”

Tanvi started thinking about doing something to help children in need when she traveled to India.  “I saw kids on the road. I wanted to start my own non-profit for girls in the Third World.”

Back in Miami, she checked out, which referred her to the African Library Project, and in September 2016, she decided to do a book drive.

She took a number of steps to let others know about the book drive: “I started telling my friends and co-workers about it. I set up an organization in school and worked with student government and the Key Club. I also contacted another high school in my city.”

As much as Tanvi wanted to help create a library, she confesses, “I was worried about meeting my goal.”

What she found, though, was “with all the support I received, I made it. I felt relieved and overjoyed. It was an amazing experience.”

Now a freshman at Florida International University, Tanvi has signed up for another book drive. She knows that “Doing a book drive will be rewarding for you. The kids in Africa will be thankful.”

Start Your Own Book Drive

Read our Book Drive Guidelines to learn all you need to know to collect, sort, pack and then mail your books to our warehouse, where they will be containerized for shipment to Africa. Your goal is to collect 1,000 appropriate books and approximately $500 for shipping and related costs. Double this and you can start two! Triple it and… you get the idea. To get ideas from other book drives — how they’ve collected their books and raised their funds.

We ship books all year round.  Our typical calendar is:

  • Ghana in February
  • Botswana in March
  • Malawi in June
  • Kenya in July
  • Uganda in August
  • Lesotho in September
  • Sierra Leone in October
  • eSwatini (Swaziland) in November