Beyond Book Sales: Fundraising Event Examples
These ideas were shared in chat and followup from the June 23, 2015 webinar, Beyond Book Sales.
Trivia Night Example
Shared via email by Lauren Drittler, Assistant Director at the Arkansas River Valley Regional Library System.
My dad is on the board for our church camp and they host a Trivia Night once a year as one of the main fundraiser for the camp.
They have a church that will loan their multipurpose building for free. They have a multimedia projector set up with all the trivia questions loaded (they use power point) Teams of 8 can register or individuals can come and be combined with others to create a team of 8. Round tables are used to get the group to interact. Popcorn and water is provided for the participants.
Before starting the questions, our camp director thanks everyone for coming and shows a video of what happened over the summer at camp. This would be a great way to show what your library offers to those attending your event (no longer than 3 minutes).
Teams can purchase mulligans before the event starts. Mulligans allow your team to have a bye on answer they think might be wrong or no one in the group knows the answer. There is a limit of 3 per team.
Any kind of mobile device is prohibited from being on the table during the event. Judges are permitted to have their mobile devices available in case of searching for information related to a question. We ask the participates if they must make a phone call during the event to please excuse themselves from the table and go outside.
When the trivia night first began, we had a wonderful camp director whose wife created all the questions. Those were great questions! Two years ago they used a service to create the questions (and that didn’t go over so well). So one member of the board creates all the questions within 10 categories for 8 rounds. It’s always good to have a category that is on local history. Each round will have a question from each category, and your group will complete their answers on a tally sheet that is turned into the judges (which includes 3 board members). The count is shared on the multimedia projector before starting the next round.
When searching for an emcee for the evening, find someone who can be in front a group. Emcee must keep the game moving. We use one of our board members who knows a lot of the people attending and has a great since of humor.
During the lull time while the judges review the answers we play some short games, these are optional for the participants. Alive or Dead, players stand and pay a dollar. The emcee will announces a celebrity, and you raise your hand for alive or keep your hand down for dead. If you get it wrong you have to sit down. Last person standing wins half the pot from the dollars collected, the other half goes to the camp. There is also Heads Up/Heads Down, this is similar to Alive or Dead, but with a quarter. Thumbs up for Heads up, Thumbs down for heads down…Quarter is tossed and whoever has the right selection keeps playing while the others sit. Last person standing gets half the pot from the dollars collected, and the other half goes to the camp. A lot of times the person who wins, gives their share to the camp.
A snack bar is staffed by camp staff to help raise money. You could have a local business or other organization that would like to help run this part if your board and volunteers is not a large number.
We also have a silent auction going on with handmade items, baked goods, and other donated items from business. (Remember it’s always good to start small and work up.)
Our fundraiser raised $5,000 last year. That is from the entry money, snack bar, silent auction, short games, mulligans, plus we found a sponsor that would match up to a certain dollar amount. (I want to say $1000, may not be as much….)
We have a trophy that will move with the winning team every year. Prizes for the winners are gift cards to a local restaurant, camp t-shirts, and camp bags nothing big or a lot of $$$.
A few extra ideas for your event (we have not done)
- Provided advertising space on your power point from local businesses, they pay a small fee for their ad to be shown so many times in the night.
- Provide an admission fee for those wanting to watch, not participate in the Trivia night. “The Peanut Gallery”
- Idea for a prize for the winning team could be no fines for the year for each person on the team.
Chocolate Lover's Bake-Off
The Marvin Memorial Library (Shelby, Ohio) holds the Chocolate Lover's Bake-Off annually (15 years and counting) on the weekend closest to Valentine's Day. The program is advertised well in advance and we have many repeat participants. Each participant registers, chooses his/her recipe and category and hands in a copy of the recipe several days prior to the event. Local judges are chosen (library trustees, local teachers, etc.) so people will taste-test the items in each category (but just one category so there are no tummy aches). On the special day the participants arrive with their prepared food. The entries are grouped on decorated tables according to categories: cake, bars or cookies, desserts, and new this year, youth entries. The judges wait in a separate room until the entries have all been set up before beginning their silent work of tasting small portions of their assigned category.
In the meantime, the doors have opened to the public audience. People gather, admire the entries from afar and watch the judges do their work. The judges withdraw to their separate room and decide on first and second prizes in each category. The winners are then announced to the participants and the audience; small prizes are awarded for the top entries. And then, yes, the audience gets to taste the chocolate entries! An attendant for each category serves very small portions so each person can taste several entries. The collection of recipes is made available to each participant at the close of the event.
We don't charge for this event but it could be used as a small fundraiser. One might charge the audience for admission or ask for a donation in exchange for tasting the entries. One might also charge a small fee for the collection of recipes. See photos from 14th Annual Chocolate Lovers Bake-Off
More Event Ideas from Chat
Our library does an annual document shredding event and we accept donations to help cover the cost of the company that comes to shred on site. We raised over $700 in 2 hrs. with limited staff time needed.
We have hosted a Desserts cooking contest with entertainment and silent auction.
Friends of the Webster Public Library will be holding our second adult spelling bee this fall. Last year's event was a great hit!
We had a Civil War Dinner as an outreach to our community. While we didn't make any money, it was an outreach thank you to our community.
Our Friends group hosts a Winter Gala each year...our biggest event for fundraising.
We do an annual Harvest Dinner with a raffle and door prizes. The raffle really raises the bulk of the money.
I do several special events during the year. We do a Dr. Seuss Birthday Party every year. Great turn-out. We also do a lot of holiday themed events. We also do our yearly Summer Reading Program and organize events for the summer. We send letters out through the community for donations. Then they are put up on our "Donor Wall" as a Thank you to them. They also receive a letter from us.
We held a monthly Farmers Market on the grounds of the library with local food vendors and craft people. simply charging $25 per spot raised over $400 per month from November - April.
We have a teenager who has organized a 5K run for the past 3 years for his community service project. Good for him, good for the library.
We do a golf fundraiser/silent auction.
We started a Trivia Night in April for National Library Week and are planning our third for August. It is very popular for our small town!
We also did a Anti-Valentine's Day Jeopardy last Feb. Then we do a Book vs. Movie. We put a picture of the book cover up against the movie poster. Then let Teens/Children vote on their favorite. The winner gets a copy of the book.
We did a Paint and Sip with a local winery.We do cooperative events with our schools.
We've partnered with our scholastic bowl team for trivia night with success.
We did well recently with a "Party Gras" themed cocktail party--you can do it any time of the year. We had a Dixieland band from a local church donate their services.
Our Literacy commission did a Trivial Pursuit tournament for years, it was their big fundraiser. They solicited teams from local businesses and also area high schools (supported by a business.)
Parking Lot Swap meet A People rent parking spaces for a fee and sell their “garage sale” items in a high visibility/high traffic area. Additionally the library has a chance to sell off their own surplus equipment e.g. VHS players, obsolete computers etc. We also sell food and refreshments!
We had a dinner and music. All food and drinks were donated. We raised over $4000.00 with Modern Woodman matching up to $2500.00 We raised over $6500 for renovating the old side of the library.
We've had Barbara D'Amato, Kate Collins, Jan Greene, Jeff Stone, Madelyn Alt all for less than 30 dollars a piece. The biggest thing we've learned is not to contact the agent but try to find their personal email through their website. We would never have been able to afford Jeff Stone and Barbara D'Amato otherwise.
Friends of the Oro Valley Public Library Friends had 3 used jewelry sales. Each raised between 3 and 4 thousand dollars.
The Goodland Township Library will be hosting it's 2nd annual golf outing/silent auction fund raiser. It really gets our name out and lets people know that we exist.
Our village has Heritage Day in August. The library has a silent auction with new, donated goods and services and a used book sale at the library.
We also have a "Bling" display case with donated costume jewelry that sells for $3 - $5 each. We have the items on display year-round and raised over $1,000 this year.
The Friends of the Griggs County Public Library hosted a Pancake Breakfast at the county fairgrounds.