Library Reform Group

February 17, 2008

Library Patrons and Staff Recommend PPL Fund-Raising Strategies

Filed under: Fundraising — Patricia @ 3:05 pm

Members of all of the PPL Friends groups, as well as the Library Staff Union and contributors to this blog, have made a number of very useful suggestions for improving PPL’s fund-raising track record. The suggestions made by the Library staff, the Friends groups, and other patrons have been presented to the Library Partnership Advisory Committee in a formal report.

Here are some of the report’s highlights:

  • Stop passing the buck to the public. The responsibility for fundraising is in the hands of the Library Administration. It seems as if the spiral is downward: “We have no money and we have no future plans because we have no money. . .” This seems like more of the same. The library doesn’t know what it can afford to fund so it can’t raise money because it’s cut down on services, which means that fewer people want to donate money.
  • Help establish a friends group at each of the branch libraries to help with some of the small costs associated with the running of the particular library and to help others when needed.
  • Organize events that will involve large numbers of people and provide the Library with good publicity. The Providence Preservation Society holds both an annual reception, with tickets at $75/$100, and a house tour, at $25, so that there were events that could attract a wide income range. 
  • Put the change boxes back by the checkout counter. When patrons pay a fine, they are likely to drop change and even bills into the box. This will add up.
  • Any PPL administrator earning more than $75,000 takes a 10% pay cut—and apply the savings to library services.
  • Establish an annual spring or fall festival with all of the libraries involved.
  • Organize a series along the lines of AS220s’s “Speak-Out” forums. There are lots of authors who might participate, and the forums could be held at the various branches as well as at Central.
  • Have a televised auction.

To read all of the suggestions made, consult the full report.

February 3, 2008

What Do YOU Think PPL Should Do to Raise Money?

Filed under: Fundraising — Patricia @ 1:35 pm

PPL’s current financial woes are as much a result of falling revenue as of rising expenditures.According to the Library’s Annual Reports, “unrestricted program grants” fell from $647,724 in 2006 to $595,369 in 2007 and “restricted grants” fell a whopping $376,204 between 2006 and 2007. In addition, the annual appeal declined by nearly $60,000 between 2006 and 2007.

The two budget busters for the coming fiscal year are the large increases in pension payments ($500,000 for the next 5 years) mandated by the federal government and the continued employment of the children’s specialists whose elimination would gut children’s services at the branches.

Both the loss of corporate and individual support and the increased expenses are occurring at the same time that the city and state governments are undergoing financial meltdowns. Therefore, PPL is going to have to use its own resources and do a dramatically better job of fund-raising to get through the next few years.

What advice do YOU have for PPL? How can this organization turn itself around and start raising more money? Should the library hire more development staff? Should the PPL administration and trustees operate differently than they have done recently? Are there fund-raising events and strategies that you think might yield more revenue for the Library? Suggestions from patrons that are posted on this blog will be compiled and presented to members of the Library Partnership Advisory Committee, which reports directly to the PPL Board of Trustees and the top administrators.

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