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Annual Appeal (Fiscal Year 2009-2010)

Hartford Public Library

Innovation Leader: Mary Crean, chief development officer, mcrean@hplct.org

Problem Statement

For the past 15 years Hartford Public Library focused its fundraising efforts on its now-completed capital campaign, and did not concentrate on raising funds to support its annual appeal.

Innovation

The Library’s fund-raising approach was segmented into multiple categories for the first time: non-donors, top donors, general donors, donor corporators, non-donor corporators, board members and an acquired/purchased list of high income residents in Hartford County.

Letters were personalized and told a specific story about how the Library is a “third place” for one young man named Simo Schmitt- Anderson, age 16. Simo has been coming to the Library for six (6) years to receive homework help and to use the computers. The story emphasized his relationship with Assistant Youth Librarian Lina Osho-Simmons. It also illustrated how the Library played a major role in Simo’s success in high school and how the Library helped to shape his personal goals and aspirations to finish high school and attend MIT.

Additionally, we offered examples of how their donations might be spent. For example: $50 buys two books or school supplies for 1 month at a branch; $250 purchases wooden blocks or alphabet puzzles for three (3) branches; $500 funds two part-time teen leaders for one (1) month; and $1,500 can buy two (2) lap tops for students to do homework or for parents to search for jobs or apartments while their children enjoy the Library’s books and activities.

Progress

Our messaging change and targeted segmentation has been very successful. The Library increased giving by 30% this fiscal year-to-date and there are three (3) more months left before the fiscal year ends on June 30, 2010.

The Yield: for every dollar spent in the campaign $2.87 was earned versus last year’s appeal where the yield was $1.15 for every dollar spent. The average gift increase by 73.74% and the number of donors increased by 33%.