Friends and Support Groups

Cultivating Networks to Build a Safety Net with Lawrence Webster, Library and Nonprofit Consultant
11 a.m. ET / 10 a.m. CT

It’s time to get sustainability on the top of everyone’s list – to encourage deep thought and practical action today, this week, this month, this year, and throughout our lives. There is no place better suited than the public library to put people together, to build new partnerships, and to increase people’s understanding of the issues. We need to engender the sense of urgency that comes with knowledge of the problem, and to help people build effective collaborative networks for change. Libraries are not only keepers of knowledge – we are the most open place in every community–open to every person, open to every idea. We can use these basic library principles to encourage imaginative, collaborative problem-solving in every person we are chartered to serve – young and old, rich and poor, powerful and less so, loud and quiet. The end result? Sustainable, resilient, adaptable communities. This short session will address a strong first step in building community-wide awareness and will to change. It will focus on practical ways of convening community leaders from all quarters — government, business, community planning, economic development, nonprofit, education, social services, healthcare, and the arts — and encourage them to apply their best thinking and pool their enormous expertise to work together for change and to carry the message and the values to their many and various constituencies. Libraries can – and should – lead the way to enlisting everyone to answer our young people’s siren call, “Our house is burning.”

Creating a More Resilient Library Budget Through Community Engagement with John Chrastka, Executive Director, EveryLibrary
1 p.m. ET / 12 noon CT

People support libraries based on their own closely-held beliefs and values. It’s not about their use of the library. And yet, most of our marketing, outreach, and – most critically – our advocacy is focused on creating more users. In order to improve our advocacy, we need to change our frame and our approach. Join John Chrastka, Executive Director of the political action committee EveryLibrary, to learn about current public, voter and donor perception data, and discover effective ways to activate elected officials, constituents, and prospective partners to fund your services, capital, and technology priorities. 

Funding Your Library: Collaborating with Friends Groups and Foundations with Pat Wagner, Pattern Research
2 p.m. ET / 1 p.m. CT

Library fundraising is about building and maintaining relationships with stakeholders. Sustainable fundraising is based on trust and respect: How the donor feels about the transaction is a lot about how they were treated before, during, and after. Donating goods, services, money, and time builds feelings of ownership, responsibility, and “buy-in”.  And if your community votes for your budget, the same guidelines apply.

Friends groups and foundations are the nonprofit organizations that can raise and invest money for your library as well as advocate for political and financial support. The challenge is that they are independent organizations from the library, so relationships are voluntary, bound by private contracts. How can you manage these sometimes tenuous agreements?

Topics include defining the financial and legal differences between Friends groups and foundations, building and maintaining healthy relationships, why a handshake is not enough, and how to prevent most conflicts between the library, the library’s board, the greater community, Friends groups, and foundation.