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December 16, 2017
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Library Board Policies - Fundraising

With increasing costs and dwindling provincial government support, it has become necessary for public libraries to consider revenue that may be generated through fundraising activities. Funds raised allow libraries to undertake special projects including enhancements to areas that could otherwise not be done. The risk is that the municipal council may perceive these funds as replacing money that would be normally transferred to the library’s budget. As such, fundraising should be limited to special projects or enhancements that current revenue sources do not or cannot cover. While it is tempting to use fundraising to pay for day-to-day operations, especially if the budget has been cut, fundraising is generally not appropriate for covering operating expenses. Usually fundraising is the most successful when donors understand that there is a specific object or target in mind.

Prior to launching into a fundraising project, staff will need to clarify the following:

1.       The purpose of the fundraising. The purpose should confirm:

·         that the project cannot be supported by the library’s operating or capital budget (this may necessitate a review by the Board);

·         that the Friends of the Library cannot undertake this fundraising;

·         that the reason for raising funds would be well received by the community.

2.       How the funds will be gathered, and tracked. 

3.       What approach will be used to seek funds, e.g. the publicity strategy. 

4.       Who will be responsible for overseeing the project.  Fundraising can be a time-intensive process. Careful planning of the process should include a realistic evaluation of the staff time involved as well as any other financial resources required.

5.       How the project will be evaluated.

The Board needs to be aware of any fundraising activities initiated by the library and as such, proposals to fundraise must be presented to the Board in advance. The Library Board needs to feel confident that the fundraising project is necessary and that it will be successful.

Please note that the above policy does not include grant applications.

Source:  “Is Fundraising the Answer?” Trustee Tips, Toronto: Southern Ontario Library Service, 1996.

Reviewed/Approved: October 4, 2017

Revised/Approved: March 11, 2015

Next Scheduled Review: February 2022