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Fundraising for Book Give-A Ways

Several years ago there was a magazine article published about a guy who had financed his children's college education with money he had made from collecting aluminum cans. But how could that even be possible? As it turns out the way he achieved that seemingly impossible feat was fairly simple and easy. When his kids were small, he placed a collection bin on his property similar to those that are sometimes found at fire departments or non-profits, and encouraged his friends and neighbors to deposit their discarded cans there, which they did. Then he cashed them in and saved the money. By the time his children were college-aged he had enough money to pay for it. And the really brilliant thing about it is that he didn't even do most of the work.

This type of innovative "crowdfunding" fundraising could easily be used by schools using school rewards programs such as Box Tops (clip a label), Publix Partners (scan a card), and Amazon Affiliates (click a mouse), with schools or school districts setting a big goal and taking pledges from supporters to earn so much a week to support a literacy initiative and book give-a-ways. Also, supporters would not even necessarily need to live in the district, which could potentially dramatically expand the base of support. The money would really add up and it would require little time or work on the part of parents, teachers or students. Also, it would not require donations or anyone selling anything. And best of all the funds would come from corporate America, not out of the pockets of parents or teachers. 





Here are some examples:

  • If you raised $.10 a week, in 52 weeks it would be $5.20. If 5000 people did that it would raise $26,000/year.

  • If you raised $.25 a week, in 52 weeks it would be $13. If 1000 people did that it would raise $13,000/year.

  • If you raised $.50 a week, in 52 weeks it would be $26. If 2000 people did that it would raise $52,000/year.

  • If you raised $1.00 a week, in 52 weeks it would be $52. If 4000 people did that it would raise $208,000/year.

Schools are leaving lots of money on the table, especially considering that school districts already have a dedicated community of faculty, staff and parents who would be willing to participate in such an easy crowdfunding-type fundraiser, not to mention businesses, civic groups, churches and others. Additionally, it would allow school districts to engage the larger community to raise awareness about its literacy initiative as well as benefit from the vast amount of good will among those who are sympathetic to the mission of public education and the cause of literacy.

But more is needed to motivate the public to participate. And that is a BHAG, an acronym for a "Big Hairy Audacious Goal."

"A BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) is a huge and daunting goal -- like a big mountain to climb. It is clear, compelling, and people 'get' it right away. A BHAG serves as a unifying focal point of effort, galvanizing people and creating team spirit as people strive toward a finish line. Like the 1960s NASA moon mission, a BHAG captures the imagination and grabs people in the gut."


-Jim Collins (Good to Great. 2001)

Examples of big goals that could capture the imagination of citizens include:

  • Raising enough capital to give books to every student from K thru 3rd grade to take home during the summer

  • Creating a summer bookmobile for the purpose of circulating books and organizing book swaps

  • Raising $50,000 or $100,000 for book give-a-ways

  • Funding a Summer Reading Initiative


If school districts can get books into the hands of children in the summer months that they choose themselves and are based on their own interests, it could dramatically increase the amount of voluntary summer reading they do. Studies show that allowing children to choose their own books to read increases their motivation to read. According to the U.S. Department of Education, the more children read for fun on their own time, the higher their reading scores.

To contact the South Carolina Reading Project™ for more information on setting up a customized crowdfunding fundraising website and fundraising newsletter for your school district using school rewards programs, please use CONTACT FORM and put "fundraising consulting" in the title line.



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