Coordinating a book drive is an effective way to invest in the community and promote literacy for youth. The main investment needed for a book drive is time. Creating a committee that represents project partners will make the project easier to manage. Consider involving representatives from the main organization that will utilize the books, constituents who may be able to influence others to donate and local media outlets.
Seek Educational Partners
Local schools and colleges are natural partners for a book drive. Service learning is a common requirement for students, and organizing a book drive is a perfect opportunity to give back to the community. Contact the school principal or college volunteer office as a first step in organizing your drive. Ask if you can send flyers home with students or have the school send emails to parents to advertise your book drive. A local business may be willing to donate a pizza party for the classroom or student organization that collects the most books.
Collaborate with Local Businesses
Ask businesses in your area if they would be interested in hosting a book drive. Most larger companies have information on their websites about the causes they sponsor. Local businesses may be more inclined to partner on projects needed by the communities they serve. When you approach a potential business, think about how they can help you with marketing, collection and incentives for participation. For example, a local coffee shop might be willing to offer a free cup of coffee for a donated book during a specific time frame. A grocery store might offer a truck to fill with donated books. Businesses may be willing to run ads or hang posters to inform patrons of the book drive.
Work with Service Organizations
Local service organizations or churches are looking for projects that benefit the community. Kiwanis or a scouting club may be willing to publish your drive in its newsletter or go door to door to collect books. Similarly, a church has a natural audience that is willing to participate in community minded projects. You can even ask if church members would be willing to host a literacy day and read to children, using donated books. Involving group members in the logistics of your drive will lead to increased participation and a higher number of books donated.
Align with a Signature Event
Consider using a national holiday as a theme for your book drive. For example, Martin Luther King, Jr. day is observed the third Monday of January and is considered a National Day of Service. Rally your community to hold a book drive to honor the service to others exhibited by Dr. King. Consider holding a culminating event on MLK Day and offer free admission for people who bring a book. Invite a speaker to discuss the importance of community engagement and literacy development.
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