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Minnesota Council of Nonprofits 'Unsung Hero' Award

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Posted by jim under Awards

“Minnesota Nice” is well understood and documented, but we would contend that “Minnesota Modesty” is no less pervasive. Every day, Friends of the Library work tirelessly but unassumingly to better their local libraries. They rarely receive the recognition that their selfless contributions deserve.

The Minnesota Council of Nonprofits knows this, too. For the past three years, the organization has offered its Virginia McKnight Binger Unsung Hero Award, “in acknowledgment of the recipient’s role in creating a positive impact on Minnesota.”

While the award is a competitive one, top prize includes $10,000 and a special recognition at MCN’s annual conference in November. Candidates must be Minnesota residents, and self-nominations will not be accepted. Otherwise, eligibility criteria are few!


Click here to access application procedures and read up on 2015-2017 recipients, to better gauge if the colleague you have in mind would be competitive. Submit by Friday, May 25. As always, good luck!

2018 Nonprofit 'Mission' Awards

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Posted by jim

Even when a Friends organization boasts an Unsung Hero worthy of statewide recognition, their successes still invariably represent a group effort. For this reason, MCN also invites nominations for its 2018 Nonprofit Mission Awards.

As the name suggests, Mission Awards recognize outstanding organizational achievements in further of a nonprofit’s objectives. They are granted annually, and in four categories: Responsive Philanthropy, Anti-Racism Initiatives, Advocacy, and Innovation. In particular, these last two are well suited to Friends of the Library priorities and accomplishments.

In this case, Friends leaders are welcome to submit their own organization for consideration (although formal affiliation is not required to put forward a nomination). A Minnesota Council of Nonprofits panel will winnow down the list of nominees to a set of finalists, which will be voted on by MCN membership.

As with the Unsung Hero Award, you can read up on previous years’ winners, to determine if your Friends of the Library are a good fit. 
Click here to learn more. Submit your application no later than Monday, May 21!

How Friends Attract & Retain Young Donors, Pt. 3

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Posted by jim under Donors

MALF is pleased to present this three-part miniseries on Millennial donors, adapted with permission from a piece originally prepared by and for Library Strategies, our office management firm. We've heard from you, our members, that this is a topic of great and increasing importance.

Tip 4: Don't "Be On" Social Media. Use Social Media.

Invest time and energy in the three core social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. However, be aware of an all too-common fundraising pitfall.

Nonprofits – particularly small ones and those who’ve traditionally catered to older donors – often excitedly turn to social media, but immediately become disenchanted when the donations do not effortlessly poor in. They delete their Facebook and Twitter or simply let the organization’s social media presence go dormant.

This misses the point entirely. Although - as we discussed in detail in Part 2 - they are practitioners of online and mobile giving, Millennials want something different from social media. Instead of a fundraising organ, think of social media as a storytelling and relationship building tool. Young donors follow institutions because they want to hear about their mission in action. Repeated exposure to positive messages makes these individuals more receptive to “asks” over the long term. Is this ideal for your purposes? Perhaps not – but think long term. Eighty-eight percent of Americans aged 18-29 use Facebook, and 76 percent of Facebook users turn to the site daily.

Do you really want to miss out on this time and attention?

Scholastic Invites Applications for $500 Mini-Grants

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Posted by jim under Grants & Awards

According to the National Education Association, nearly 90 percent of all public schools in America offer students a library/media center. However, relatively few have a collection development budget that librarians or teachers would consider robust. If you are a Friend of the Library associated with a K-12 school media center - or know someone who is - encourage them to apply for Scholastic Inc.’s Patterson Partnership Book Giveaway.

Scholastic, together with New York Times bestselling novelist James Patterson, will give mini-grants of $500 to 4,000 schools in 2018. That's $2 million in all!

No time to fill out a lengthy application? Not to worry; it couldn’t be easier. Find a teacher to sponsor your request, and fill out a 100-word explanation of how the $500 would be used to better your school’s learning environment. (By our math, that’s potentially $5/word, so why not put your name forward?)


Click here to read the Patterson Partnership’s detailed FAQ page, and here to apply. Submit your bid by Tuesday, July 31. Winners will be notified on Thursday, September 6.

Compile Those Evy Nordley Materials Now!

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Posted by jim under Grants & Awards

MALF is now accepting entries for its flagship Friends prize, the annual Evy Nordley Award for Best Project. You have until Friday June 15 to submit your application(s).

As in years past, any Friends-supported project can be considered. Examples include programming and fundraisers, advocacy or membership campaigns, a new website or publication, or outstanding community collaborations. Efforts jointly sponsored or developed with the library (or another public agency) are eligible, provided that the library or Friends of the Library was the primary beneficiary of the effort. Current MALF membership is also a prerequisite for consideration.

Applicants will be considered by a MALF judging panel this summer. Finalists will be asked to join us at the 2018 Minnesota Library Association conference in Saint Cloud (October 11-12) and give a ten-minute presentation on their project. Top prize, announced at MLA, is $1,000 and a custom commemorative plaque!


Click here for further details on the Evy Nordley Award’s purpose and history, eligibility criteria, and applicant recommendations. Click here to access the application. Good luck!

*VIRTUAL* Library Legislative Day 2018

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Posted by jim under Advocacy

As you may already have heard, National Library Legislative Day 2018 is scheduled for May 7-8. Like in years past, MALF is proud to have a representative on the ground to participate in the American Library Association’s slate of events and meet with members of Minnesota’s congressional delegation.

Legislative Day is held – where else? – in Washington D.C. ALA understands that, due to cost constraints and scheduling availability, most library advocates cannot attend NLLD in person. Fortunately, you can still participate: in Virtual Library Legislative Day... In point of fact, there’s no excuse not to take part! Simply pledge to do one or more of the following:


• Email or call your senators and representative, on or around May 8;
 Make an appointment to meet with your congressmen, when they are next home;
 Organize a talk or demonstration to bring attention to library issues in your hometown;
 Promote Virtual Library Legislative Day within your personal network, and on social media (using hashtag #NLLD18).

Click here to learn more, and click here to fill out an ALA “pledge card.”

How Friends Attract Younger Donors, Pt. 2

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Posted by jim under Fundraising

MALF is pleased to present this three-part miniseries on Millennial donors, adapted with permission from a piece originally prepared by and for Library Strategies, our office management firm. We've heard from you, our members, that this is a topic of great and increasing importance.

Tip 3: Encourage Online Giving. Watch Mobile Giving.

Fifteen years ago, checks accounted for 46 percent of all non-cash transactions. By 2012, that figure had dwindled to just 15 percent – and the percentage is still shrinking. If any charity overlooks the obvious ramifications this trend has for fundraising, they are going to miss out on substantial cumulative gifts from young donors.

At a bare minimum, your website should include a link to a PayPal account. If you fundraise through ticket sales of any kind, your site should also have an obvious link to an online ticketing platform, such as Eventbrite, EventZilla, or Event Smart. (Their names may be similar, but functions and fees vary. Do your research and find the tool that best matches your needs.) If cutting a check is required, some younger donors will simply spend their weekend and money elsewhere.

Mobile payments are another trend to watch. Apple Pay, the digital wallet platform launched by Apple Inc. in 2013, currently boasts about 90 percent of this market. Apple is presently focused on expanding commercial applications, but large nonprofits like the American Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, and St. Jude’s already use the platform.

Moreover, some forward-thinking libraries are already accepting Apple Pay for overdue fines. Friends and Foundations should keep on eye on this development.

MN Book Awards Opens Gala Registration, Announces Group Contest

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Posted by jim under Events, Contests

mn-book-awards.jpgOn Saturday, April 21, book-lovers from all across Minnesota will descend on downtown Saint Paul for the 2018 Minnesota Book Awards ceremony. At this annual gala – the linchpin of the state literary community’s spring calendar – winners in each of the nine categories will be announced.

If you’ve flirted with the idea of attending in the past, make this the year! Tickets range from $40-$60 and are going fast. Your ticket includes wine and refreshments during the ceremony, and entry to the Epilogue After-Party at the end of the night.

Friends of the Library are invited, and encouraged, to book seats next to one another. Simply enter the name of your organization in the “Seating Preferences” space located at the bottom of the checkout form.

For the first time ever, the Minnesota Book Awards team have even added a special incentive to groups to reserve a table of ten. Book a full table, and your book club will be entered into an exclusive drawing to host an appearance by one of the 2018 finalist authors! Library book clubs and Friends of the Library are two constituencies with significant overlap, so we know this is a perk that will appeal to many of you!

Click here to read more about the book club contest, and call 651-366-3242 with any questions. Visit thefriends.org/ceremony to make a reservation. Seating is limited, so don’t delay!

Note: Did you know? The Minnesota Book Awards is organized by long-time MALF member The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library, who serve as Minnesota’s state Center for the Book.

 

Mark Your Calendars: MLA 2018

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Posted by jim under MLA Conference

With another Library Legislative Day “in the books,” preparations for the Minnesota library community’s other tentpole event – the annual Minnesota Library Conference – are underway. Mark your calendars for October 11-12!

MALF is proud to continue is premier- level sponsorship of the MLA Conference, and to host a day-long programming track specific to the needs and interests of Friends of the Library. Full panel details will be made available this summer; registration opens August 1.

We sincerely hope you will join library staff, administrators, and Friends from across the state in Saint Cloud at the River’s Edge Convention Center. MALF members pay a reduced rate of $71 for entrance on Friends Day – if booked before the early bird deadline of September 5. Price for one-day Friend of the Library admission jumps to $93 after that date.

How Friends Attract Younger Donors, Pt. 1

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Posted by jim under Fundraising

MALF is pleased to present this three-part miniseries on Millennial donors, adapted with permission from a piece originally prepared by and for Library Strategies, our office management firm. We know that this is a topic of great interest to our membership.

Nearly 85 percent of employed Millennials (age 18-34) donated to a charitable cause last year, according to a recent Millennial Impact Report. That’s impressive in itself – and doubly so when you factor in that America’s youngest working generation is also its largest. Eighty-five percent of Millennials translates to 67 million donors!

Furthermore, data from a recent, “buzzy” Pew Research Center report certifies what front-line librarians have been saying for years: Millennials are active and proud library users, and (on the whole) use their local library more often than older generations. In short, if your Friends organization is not courting the largesse of these younger donors, you are almost surely leaving money on the table.

What’s the catch?

Millennials choose their causes, and how much to give, based on patterns and preferences that may come as a curveball to any fundraiser versed in what’s “tried and true” among older givers. Savvy library support organizations must learn both the best practices and faux pas of this new giving landscape.

Offer “Participatory” Giving Opportunities.

According to the Millennial Impact Report cited earlier, an astounding 64 percent of young people have participated (actively or passively) in a walk, run or cycle event for charity. Collectively, nonprofits netted an estimated $1.2 billion through such events in 2012 alone. That’s nearly double what participatory giving opportunities brought in back in 2002.

Young donors are disproportionately represented here, and the reasons for that are twofold. Young adults are not as affluent as their parents and grandparents. Participatory giving opportunities along the “Fun Run” model allow young people to give as little as $5.00 to a friend’s race fund, and still feel the peer affirmation and vicarious commitment of the person they are donating “through.” Under other circumstances, the donor might not view such a gift as appreciated or worth the effort.

Second, participatory giving opportunities allow a young donor unable to contribute substantial funds to have a comparable impact by freely offering their time and enthusiasm instead. (Unsurprisingly, parents and grandparents are oftentimes big contributors.)

Ramsey County Public Library in Minnesota and Person County Public Library in North Carolina are among the many who have had recent success with “Fun Runs.” Others add a fresh, library twist. Read-a-thons and overnight lock-ins have proven equally effective at marshaling pledges.

Emphasize Cause Over Organization.

This is a generation who thinks critically about who they give to and what impact their dollar is having. Furthermore, compared to their parents, few young donors are “brand loyal” – they will jump ship if another charity with an allied mission looks to be more effective.

For these reasons, mammoth nonprofits with multi-pronged missions have had trouble attracting and retaining younger donors in recent years. It’s not always easy for an organization like United Way to trace a clear line between donation and dividend.

Library support organizations should not expect young donors to rally to them “because libraries need our support.” Instead, cite the added value the Library is able to offer to the community because of private donations routed through the Friends or Foundation. For example: “Your donation of [$x] will allow us to add [x] new titles to our recently expanded children’s area.”

Assuming the money will be put towards the same purpose regardless, employing special asks for specific needs is the perfect way to harness this “cause over organization” mentality.

Hypothetical examples are sometimes appropriate, if based on sound math. In an end-of-year appeal, this might take the form of “In 2016, you donated [$x]. That’s the cost equivalent of [xx] one-on-one tutoring sessions at the Library or [xx]…”

2018 Innovations in Reading Prize: Apply Today!

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Posted by jim

Untitled.jpgLast year, entrepreneur and social justice speaker Alvin Irby made waves with “Barbershop Books”: a grassroots movement to encourage young boys of color to read to their neighborhood barber in exchange for a free or discounted haircut. CNN, MSNBC, NPR and a host of other media outlets recently ran glowing stories on the positive community impact Barbershop Books is having. Irby and his colleagues owed that boost, in part, to the National Book Foundation, who bestowed its 2017 Innovations in Reading Prize to Barbershop Books.

Has your Friends of the Library group created, or contributed to, a new and innovative reading initiative over the past year? If so, the National Book Foundation wants YOU to put forward your program or project for consideration as part of the 2018 Innovations in Reading Prize cycle.

Parameters are relatively broad, provided your program “sustains a lifelong love of reading.” Five groups and projects will be honored at the 2018 Why Reading Matters Conference. Top prize also receives $10,000! Applications can be submitted online. Submit yours by February 28.

Minnesota Library Legislative Day Registration Opens!

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Posted by jim

In today’s uncertain budgetary climate, it is more important than ever to advocate for the public resources we hold dear. If you are reading this, it’s safe to assume that libraries make your personal list!

We hope you will join MALF, MLA, and library supporters from all across the state on March 5-6 for 2018 Minnesota Library Legislative Day. Held each year at the Capitol, this is our best opportunity all year round to turn out in force and state a case for robust library funding in front of our elected representatives.

Festivities kick off at the Roseville Public Library on Monday, March 5 with an evening briefing focused on challenges and goals this congressional term. Optional dinner opportunities will follow. Registrants will meet in small groups with their reps on the following day, per usual.
 Click here to register!

In preparation for this year’s festivities, organizers have rolled out a brand new website. This new resource offers a wealth of valuable data: legislative updates, an itinerary, talking points, and a “tool kit” for success on the Big Day. Be sure to check it out!

MALF Seeks Treasurer; Help Spread the Word!

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Posted by jim under Volunteering

downloadsa.jpgHave a head for figures, and a heart for libraries? MALF’s treasurer is slated to rotate out of that important role by 2019, and we are currently seeking a replacement to assume those duties after a long transitional period. Read on for full details.

If interested in this – or in contributing to MALF’s board or committees in some other capacity – send a brief cover letter and resume to info@mnlibraryfriends.org. Our nominating committee will respond promptly!

Primary Duties
● Serve on the board of directors, and on MALF’s executive committee (alongside president, vice presidents, and secretary).
● Maintain the organization’s checkbook and bank account.
● Collaborate with MALF’s hired accountant to record expenses and income streams.
● Lead the Board of Directors in a quarterly review of financial reports created by the accountants.
● Chair MALF’s finance and investment committee.
● Collaborate in creation of an annual budget.
● Meet quarterly with MALF’s investment advisors.
● Participate in – and make data available from – annual internal audit.
● Renew MALF’s memberships with affiliated organizations (e.g., Minnesota Council of Nonprofits).

Requirements

● Must be able to commit at least six hours per month to above activities.
● Prior experience or great familiarity with library organizations is not required, but a commitment to MALF’s mission and values is a must.
● Strong communication skills, and timely responses to all phone and email queries.
● Must maintain a personal MALF membership (minimum $10/yr).

Additional

● All meetings of the full Board of Directors, executive committee, and finance and investment committee are held in the Twin Cities.
● Note: Accountants, not Treasurer, prepare MALF’s quarterly finance reports and annual tax forms.

Minnesota Seeks 'Letters About Literature' Volunteer Judges

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Posted by jim under Volunteering

hqdefault.jpgIn the coming weeks, thousands of Minnesota schoolchildren will pen letters to their favorite writers, living or dead, about how that author’s work has changed them or their world view. It’s not merely a fun creative exercise – though it certainly is that. All across the country, students 4-12 are tackling this writing prompt as part of “Letters About Literature.”

The Library of Congress kickstarted the program back in 2000, and continues to provide oversight. However, entries are judged and prizes awarded on the state level. Here in Minnesota, the state’s Center for the Book coordinates first- and second-round judging. With so many entries incoming, coordinators are seeking volunteers with librarian, educator or experience (professional or volunteer) to read and assess letters. ‘Workload’ is projected to be approximately 50 one- to two-page letters per judge.

Entrants are judged by age category (grades 4-5, 7-8 and 9-12). If you have preference(s), be sure to mention these in your email. Letters ranked highly by you will be considered for statewide (and ultimately national) award consideration. If interested, contact with Alayne Hopkins (alayne@thefriends.org) for more information or to put your name forward.

"Minnesota Libraries Transform Because…"

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Posted by jim under Advocacy

In the past year, frequent and attentive library goers may have seen tantalizing "Because" statements plastered to their library’s walls, doors, and shelf endcaps. ("Because access equals opportunity." "Because a library card is the most important school supply of all."). These messages are the output of a viral publicity campaign conducted by the American Library Association. “Because” statements answer the rhetorical but important question: Why are our libraries so important?

This month, in response to ALA’s phenomenal success on the national level, the Minnesota Library Association's new Legislative Working Group just announced a tagline contest of its own: "Minnesota Libraries Transform Because…"

Entering is simple! Complete the sentence, and post to Twitter along with #mnlibrariestransform. You are welcome to submit your entry online, instead. Collected submission may be used in collateral materials created for Minnesota Library Legislative Day and Virtual Library Legislate Week 2018 (scheduled for March 5-8).

One lucky winner will also receive a large, decorative print of their “Because” statement (and bragging rights, to boot)! Make sure you submit your entry by Friday, February 2. Good luck!

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Institute of Museum and Library Services Needs Our Help!

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Posted by jim under Advocacy

download.jpgYou may not know the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) by name. However, every time you visit a public library, you have the IMLS - in part - to thank for the amenities you used and the service you received. Among other duties, IMLS stewards Library Services Technology Act (LSTA) funding, the only federal dollars exclusively set aside for libraries.

LSTA is the pot through which 1,500+ state grants are funded each year. In recent years, Minnesota's population-based allotment has hovered around $2.7 million, so much is at stake!

In the coming months, IMLS is up for reauthorization (a piece of legislation passed by Congress certifying a program or department’s continued relevance). IMLS and LSTA were last reauthorized back in 2010. With a new and uncertain fiscal year on the horizon, authorization is perhaps more important than ever.

Constituents can contact their congressional representatives and encourage them to support bipartisan bill “S. 2271” (aka Museum and Library Services Act of 2017) in the Senate. You can read more about the renewal bill here.