Monthly Archive for March, 2010

Building an Endowment (Part 2)

I recently posted about endowment building for libraries. If you are trying to take the very first step in building an endowment for your own library, developing your “case for giving” should be it. Your “case for giving” is the statement you can take to all your current and potential donors to ask them about their participation in building an endowment. The Association of Fundraising Professionals has an excellent guide to help you develop your case for giving.

It is important to get a handful of big gifts for your endowment before you take your campaign to the outside world. The reason for delaying general promotion of your effort is to give your endowment a chance to be a success. If you already have half of your target goal in your endowment, other donors are going to be much more likely to contribute. It is likely that the first half of your endowment will come from one or two major donors – donors who are already committed to your cause and who also have extensive resources.

The next 25% will probably come from gifts that are still fairly significant in size. The last 25% will consist of small gifts ($500 or less). This is a standard pattern of development for endowments, according to the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

Endowments have an essential place in libraries because they’re among the best vehicles for your donors to leave a legacy. Many major donors are interested in legacy giving. Be sure to give them ample chance to do so with your institution.

Colorado’s 2010 Anti-Tax Ballot Issues : Their Impact on Colorado and its Libraries

Andrew Romanoff to speak at Colleague Connection 2010 – Wednesday, April 7.

Andrew Romanoff, current US Senate Candidate and former Speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives, will be providing background on current Constitutional fiscal restrictions and how they hinder legislative action in Colorado.
Rich Jones, Director of policy and research,  Bell Policy Center will discuss the fiscal impact on Colorado if the ballot issues are successful.
Jamie LaRue, Director of the Douglas Library District, will be discussing the impact on libraries and action we can take to prevent their passage.

Three ballot issues aimed at drastically reducing the taxes and fees required of Colorado’s residents will mean extreme cuts to all tax and fee-funded Colorado institutions if they are passed in November.  Every sector of Colorado’s economy and government will be affected by their passage.  As citizens, librarians need to be aware of the potential effects of their passage on education (pre K-12 and higher education), businesses, and municipal, county, special district, and state governments. How will corporate, school, academic, and public libraries continue to serve their communities if they are passed?

The Bell’s analysis on proposed ballot initiatives.

Continue reading ‘Colorado’s 2010 Anti-Tax Ballot Issues : Their Impact on Colorado and its Libraries’

Next Best Thing to Being There – Following Conference Sessions on Twitter

I had the good fortune to attend South by Southwest this month – an amazing conference on emerging technology and new media. There were so many great sessions at SXSW – in every time slot there were at least 3 sessions I wanted to attend. Sometimes there were 5 or 6!

The organizers of this conference did something key to help with this – they assigned twitter hashtags to every session, and made the information available in the conference program. This allowed me to follow the tweets in sessions I wasn’t able to attend.

Here’s what I did:

Continue reading ‘Next Best Thing to Being There – Following Conference Sessions on Twitter’

Former school now library

Director Monica Birrier is awarded the History Colorado's 2010Preservation Award Due to the diligent efforts of library director, Monica Birrer, board, staff and many townsfolk – Walsenburg now has a very unique and beautiful library. Instantly famous because of preservation efforts (saving a vacant school) and energy efficient features (Geothermal), the Spanish Peaks Library District has won the 2010 Stephen H. Hart Award, which recognizes outstanding projects and individual achievements in archaeology and historic preservation throughout Colorado. Kudos, Monica (dressed in red) for devoting these past few years to this inspiring project! Read more.

Endowment Building

Building an endowment is one way to ensure a library’s success. But it takes time. And a lot of effort. Your entire organization will have to get on board if an endowment of any significant size is to be developed.

You’ll need to make some preparations before you go out and ask major donors for money to start an endowment. Start with these:

  • Strengthen your library’s case for giving. Announce to donors the measures the library has put in place (say, over the last three years) to save costs and increase productivity and relevance to the communities you serve.
  • Set ambitious new goals for the library director and/or major gifts officer to spend more face-to-face time with their donors and prospects. Enlist willing board members and key staff to join in the effort and provide additional support for the library director/major gifts officer. Ensure that all major donors are contacted personally every three or four months and brought fully up-to-date on what’s happening in your library.
  • Make the greatest possible use of online communications such as the website, blog, electronic newsletters, Facebook, and Twitter to recruit new supporters at low cost. Reinforce messages to members and the public through other channels (such as events), and convert online activists to library donors.
  • Step up donor cultivation activities and events.
  • Find low-cost ways to learn more about the most loyal and generous donors, and integrate new information into personalized appeals to them.

These are the main ingredients to building a strong organizational foundation for your endowment. I’ll write more about each of these components later.

Colorado Adds Three Movers & Shakers

There were 11, and now there are 14!LJ Movers & Shakers

Welcome to 2010, the year when Colorado added THREE new Movers and Shakers to the inductee ranks. This annual honor is sponsored by Library Journal. Congratulations go to CLiC’s own Judy Van Acker (who also blogs here regularly on Colorado Libraries, in her “free” time…), Matt Hamilton at Boulder Public Library, and Steve Lawson at Colorado College.

“They are nominated by their colleagues, friends, bosses, or just plain admirers; these innovators are shaping the future of libraries. They hail from all corners of the library world and several nations. With this year’s group of 50, they now number some 450,” says Library Journal.

For a full geographic look at how all the Movers & Shakers over the years are distributed, see this LJ web page.

Colorado has good fortune to be considered the stompin’ grounds for the likes of fantastic people like Judy, Matt and Steve!

Fundraising Appeal Letters

One good way for libraries to raise their own money is by writing an appeal letter. This is usually done once per year by the institution’s development officer and mailed to past donors.

Good appeal letters have five elements:

1. A defined project. This is your reason for writing the letter. Even if your letter’s purpose is primarily to support general operating expenses, be sure to call attention to a special concern, project, or event.

2. A personal story. Personal stories that illustrate how your library makes a difference is a great way to draw people into reading your letter.

3. The financial challenge your library is facing. Be clear about the costs associated with your project (see #1) and how donations can make a difference.

4. A reminder of your library’s overall mission and how your appeal fits into it. When you ask for a contribution at the end of the letter, it will be in the spirit of asking the donor to reaffirm his or her support of the library’s underlying mission.

5. A request for a donation. Always be direct in telling people what they can do to make your project (see #1) happen. If it’s money, ask for it. If it’s for volunteer help, ask for it. Depending on your technological capabilities, you may want to refer to the donor’s most recent contribution and ask him/her to increase it by a certain amount.

Appeal letters should be straightforward, simple, and one page in length.

New Book of the Month!

The SWIFT Book Club has a new Book of the Month! Our March pick is The Choice by Nicholas Sparks. This novel details the beginning of a relationship sparked between new neighbors in a coastal North Carolina town. Travis Parker is good-looking, laid-back and enjoys a life filled with motorcycling, boating and grilling with his friends. Gabby Holland has just moved in next door and thinks she has her life all planned out. Years later, Travis is faced with a difficult choice that effects both of their lives.

Read a full review here. See all that the SWIFT Book Club has to offer here. There are currently 11 copies of The Choice available to check out to your patron and library book clubs!

Summer Reading Mini-Grants Awarded

73 public library sites will receive Summer Reading Mini-Grants.  Each participating library site will receive $200 towards buying books for the library.

Public libraries in the U.S have been promoting summer library programs since 1898.  Reading regularly during the summer helps students to prevent “summer set-back” where students can lose reading gains of the previous school year.

 The State Library has been giving out the grants since 2004.   Library sites receive $200 to spend on books and materials to support their summer library programming and provide a local match of 25% of the grant.  The statewide summer reading theme for 2010 is “Make a Splash, READ!”  The teen theme is “Make Waves @ your library.”

For a map of all library sites receiving a grant:,-105.413818&spn=4.156806,7.03125&z=7

Collaborate Like You Mean It – Registration Open

Registration is now open for CALC Summit 2010: Collaborate Like You Mean It!
May 20-21, 2010 – Sheraton Denver West, Lakewood, CO
Come to the CALC Summit and find out ways to “Collaborate Like You Mean It!” The 2010 Summit focuses on ways that academic librarians can forge lasting, effective partnerships both within and outside their institutions. Librarians from Colorado and the surrounding region will gather to share successes, failures, research, and innovative ideas related to academic library collaboration. The Summit includes special keynotes by Stephen Abram and regional experts on collaboration’s role in a time of economic crisis.

The Summit will be held Thursday & Friday, May 20-21, 2010. Cost for the Summit is $150 for two days, which includes breakfast and lunch both days. Single-day registration is not available.

More conference and registration information:
Register here:

Also, don’t forget to register for one of the hands-on preconferences happening May 19: