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Annual Fund Programs for Academic Libraries.


ANNUAL FUND PROGRAMS ARE THE BUILDING BLOCKS for every other major funding program of the academic library. Keys to library annual fund success include identifying the library's constituents, developing a compelling case for support, and determining how the solicitation message can be delivered most effectively subject to existing internal and external barriers. Examples of effective strategies used to overcome these barriers are provided from U.S. and Canadian academic libraries. With the annual fund program firmly established, the academic library is then well positioned to seek the major funds required for growth and innovation.


Annual fund programs are frequently called the foundation or the base of the giving pyramid. It can be tempting to focus solely on major gift programs at the middle of the pyramid or to singularly contemplate the vast intergenerational transfer of wealth awaiting those who focus on planned giving at the top of the pyramid. However, "Pyramids," as Greenfield (1999) observed, "are built from the bottom up" (p. 98). So essential is annual giving to the total well being of the development program that Rosso (1991) has called the annual fund "the cornerstone and the key to success for all aspects of the resources development program" (p. 51).

According to Nichols (1986), major or capital gift programs produce "funds to grow by" (p. 253) while annual fund programs provide equally crucial "funds to live by" (p. 253). In spite of the fact that annual funds bring in the "immediate dollars that help the college or university close the gap between revenues and expenditures" (Welch, 1980, p. 2), there is a popular myth that annual giving programs are somehow less important to the development program than major giving programs.

Nichols (1986) asserted that such thinking is myopic and mistaken for several reasons. First, annual giving dollars often provide income that is many times greater than the size of the endowment required to generate comparable funds. Second, annual giving provides a wide base of supporters and, hence, its frequent identification as the base of the giving pyramid. Third, "annual giving solicitations are important cultivation events in the life cycle of major donors" (p. 254). Sadler (1995) advised:
 It is through the annual fund that relationships with donors are built. ...
 It is difficult to have a successful campaign when your organization has no
 giving history from which to identify people who can give at appropriate
 levels. Cultivate relationships through the annual fund. Build trust and
 confidence in the organization's ability to manage resources well. (p. 33)

By their very nature, annual fund programs are conducted at least on a yearly basis and often more frequently. Although what distinguishes an annual gift from a major gift varies by institution; typically these annual gifts are contributions of less than $10,000.

In the past, annual fund solicitations have been targeted toward unrestricted gifts. However, the Council for Aid to Education (1998) reported: "For the past 15 or more years, unrestricted gifts to current operations have been roughly flat in constant dollar terms" (p. 13) and as a percentage of gifts received for current operations have steadily declined. In the last five years, unrestricted gifts have fallen from 31.2 percent of funds received for current operations in 1993 to 25.7 percent of the funds received for current operations in 1998 (Council for Aid to Education, 1999a, Table 7; Council for Aid to Education, 1995, Table 7). Greenfield (1999) concluded: "Moire and more, donors prefer specific projects, tangible items, and results whose value they can appreciate" (p. 102).


Annual fund programs are the building blocks for every other major funding program of the academic library. Given the trend for academic library development programs to be created by the pressure of impending institution-wide capital fund-raising campaigns, it is not surprising to see some libraries bypass an annual fund program in an attempt to move directly to major gift fund-raising. While such a strategy may be successful in the short term, it does not bode well for a consistent growth-oriented library development program in the long term. What will nurture and help grow all other development programs is a well-designed creative annual fund program.

Kemmis (1998) observed that: "The fund-raising experiences in libraries parallel those in the nonprofit sector" (p. 196). We maintain that, while the principles of annual fund programs are the same for academic libraries as for any other campus academic unit, academic libraries may face barriers to creating a successful annual fund program from inside the library as well as from within the institution. Fortunately, academic libraries are in an excellent position to build partnerships within the institution and can offer donors giving opportunities that are truly unique. The remainder of this discussion will examine the keys to a successful library annual fund program, will describe creative ways in which barriers have been overcome, and will report on some productive annual fund campaigns in U.S. and Canadian academic libraries.


Perhaps the biggest challenge to, and most important key to, annual fund success is identifying the library's constituents. Clark (1986) stated:
 [M]any institutional development professionals feel that the university
 library presents a real challenge in garnering support. They argue that the
 colleges have a ready-made constituency in their graduates, whereas the
 library offers no degree and has difficulty building a loyal base of
 support. On the other hand, the library supports all academic programs.
 Gifts to the library, therefore, indirectly benefit the colleges and their
 students whether in engineering, business, or liberal arts. (p. 20)

In addition to the natural constituencies of current and former students, faculty, staff, and other groups (such as community members and corporations) use the academic library and should be identified as potential contributors. Once identified, each of these constituencies should be segmented into definable and distinguishable campaigns within the annual fund program. Greenfield (1999) stated:
 Unfortunately, most organizations do not give much time or thought to
 identifying their more likely constituents as potential partners and
 candidates for active participation. Nor do they make an effort to
 understand their needs, wants, and desires to learn if the organization's
 mission, vision, and values are a match. The all-too-common short-sighted
 view is to just ask as many people for money as you can afford to and do it
 as quickly as possible. (p. 102)

For instance, the benefits a contributing student will want are different from those which will appeal to faculty and staff and different again for a company or community member. The solicitation should reflect the differences in library use and the needs for that particular group.

The person selected to lead the annual fund campaign for a particular constituency should also reflect these differences. Some universities have ties with coaches who want to demonstrate their commitment to academics by supporting the library. Coaches as chairs of annual fund campaigns can work well with alumni and community campaigns but may not be a good choice for university employee campaigns. Presidents and provosts of the university may be a more credible match for campaigns targeting employees.

The second key is having a compelling case for support. Martin (1998) affirmed: "To persuade individuals or organizations to invest in the library, the library and university must articulate their goals, priorities, and therefore their funding needs" (p. 4). A project with a clear goal or definitive outcome will motivate current library donors to continue giving and will encourage prospective donors to make the first gift. At the University of New Mexico (UNM), Richard Peck, the former president of the institution, set a goal for the university libraries to break into the top fifty libraries in the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) as part of an institutional goal to seek membership in the American Association of Universities. At the time, the UNM Libraries were ranked 108 of the 111 member libraries. A lofty yet attainable goal and a clear rationale for seeking financial support from a broad base of the university's constituents combined to create a nearly irresistible case for support. Ultimately, the library and university achieved this decade-long goal.

Although a challenge, raising unrestricted funds may be a high priority for the library dean or director and will require a very strong case for support. At the Oklahoma State University Libraries, raising unrestricted funds has been a top priority for the Friends of the OSU Library since the group's inception ten years ago. Stewardship updates throughout the year that demonstrate a great "return on investment" to Friends members and potential members, as well as the opportunity to have gifts of a certain level recognized with personalized bookplates in new library materials, have helped make the Friend's annual fund campaign a vital source of these important funds. Nichols (1980) noted that:

"In this age of philanthropic competition and accountability, the function of all worthwhile funds must be explained fully and well" whether the funds sought are for a specific project or are unrestricted in their purpose (p. 10).

Knowing where constituents are geographically located in relationship to the institution is another key to success. For example, academic libraries located in urban settings are more likely to find success in raising annual fund dollars through campus-based special events than libraries located in rural areas. Libraries in rural areas may have to rely more heavily on direct mail and telephone appeals to raise annual support and may find some constituencies such as corporate users to be a rather small group. By itself, location will not determine success. A plan that fully recognizes both the limitations and attributes of location will succeed.

A fourth key is to determine the optimum time during the year in which to run each campaign. Some library annual fund campaigns will be dictated by the university calendar. For instance, Mary Stanley, library development officer at the University of Waterloo, has found that appeals to the parents of graduating seniors to buy a book in honor of their graduate seem to get the best results if they are sent out at least six to eight weeks prior to graduation (M. Stanley, personal communication,June 16, 1999). At Oklahoma State University, an otherwise sound appeal to the analogous group had a tremendously low response rate when a university official determined that the solicitation letter could be sent only to a list of the parents of students who actually were certified to graduate--a list produced almost a month after the excitement of graduation had passed. It was an expensive and frustrating lesson that timing can make or break an annual fund campaign.

The final key is to determine how the solicitation message can be delivered most effectively subject to existing internal or external barriers. Fundamental to this key is assessing who drives annual fund programs at the institution. At institutions with a centralized development structure and/or no development program at the library, the college or university may be in the driver's seat with respect to the library's annual fund program. In such cases, it is not unusual to see less specific and creative annual fund programs for libraries. Typically, the library is represented as one of the check-offs in a comprehensive campaign for the whole institution. Many institutions, even with an established library development program, feel fortunate to get this one inclusion to occur through central development offices. Unlike library-initiated campaigns, the central development office usually pays for solicitation materials and staff salaries. It is our observation that these campaigns are not as successful as library driven efforts with regard to numbers of new contributors and the amount of money raised toward the library's greatest needs.

At institutions with a shared or decentralized development structure and/or a library with an established development program, the library may have a great deal of control over its annual fund program. When the library is in the driver's seat, the annual fund program may consist of multiple annual fund campaigns in a variety of formats targeted at different groups.


How Can We Afford This?

Most of the barriers to successful library annual fund programs can be viewed within a framework of resource scarcity. From the smallest state-assisted four-year college to the most well-endowed private research university, there is a widely held view on campuses that there is a scarcity of critical resources. First and foremost is money, which falls far short of covering ever-expanding programmatic, personnel, and plant needs of the typical institution. Also included as resources are alumni and friends, who provide private support; students, who pay tuition; legislative appropriations, which comprise a continuously shrinking piece of the pie for state-assisted institutions; and staff, who can develop and manage effective fund-raising programs.

Casual observation suggests that the more money and staff, time the library is willing to dedicate to acquiring external resources, the more autonomy it will have over its development program and thus its annual fund program. In a resource-scarce environment, the commitment of financial resources to a well-conceived library development program is perhaps the single most important action a library dean or director can take. This decision sends a clear and indisputable message that the library is serious in its desire to seek and obtain private support.

However, making a short or one-time commitment to fund-raising in general, and annual fund support in particular, is not enough. To be successful, academic libraries need to make at least a three-year commitment toward raising money, with an adequate budget for identification and cultivation of donors, solicitation materials, and recognition items. The library dean or director should make the commitment with the attitude that this investment will pay off. Annual fund programs can be very expensive relative to other fund-raising projects. Even with seasoned programs, it can cost fifty cents to raise one dollar. Library administrators need to be aware of the initial costs and accept that these programs build the support base that will lead individuals to contribute more over time. The relative costs associated with raising these dollars will decrease over time.

Most internal resistance to library fund-raising is encountered in the effort to set priorities. In a climate where inflation in monograph and journal budgets consistently and significantly outpaces general inflation, academic libraries find it difficult to divert funds that are already inadequate for current needs and to invest them in projects in which returns may not be immediate and substantial. The mantra for any fund-raising effort is that it takes spending money to raise money. The most promising fund-raising programs are responsible for costs and stay within their budgets. Taking the time at the outset to prepare clear, written, and realistic expectations for the overall library development program is essential. Such an exercise will help define the qualifications of those who are selected to be involved with the program, will provide unambiguous criteria for evaluating results, and will offer the accountability requisite for internal support.

Whom Can We Ask?

Another critical barrier to overcome is obtaining access to the university's database of donors. This means not only being able to physically view the database but also, more importantly, having an opportunity equal with other academic units on campus to solicit donors and potential donors for the library. Hood (1993) urged: "The library should push for access to the university's central donor base, and make sure that this access is granted at the highest possible university level. Access will enable the library to identify, cultivate relations with, and solicit funds from alumni and other donors" (p. 2).

As previously noted, although the academic library supports all degree programs, no one receives a degree from the library--not even the alumni of graduate programs in library and information science. Many libraries have been successful in inviting other schools and colleges to permit the libraries to ask their nondonating alumni to contribute to the libraries. That alumni are the focus of these efforts is no mistake. The Council for Aid to Education (1999b) reported: "Alumni contributions continue to comprise the majority of all giving [to American colleges and universities]man estimated $5.5 billion in 1998, or 30 percent of total contributions" (p. 1).

The University of Illinois Libraries brought numerous nondonating alumni into the fold of giving alumni by soliciting them for the library. And once they began giving to the library, many expanded their giving to include other areas of the university (Hood, 1993, p. 2). A similar approach by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Libraries netted a number of new alumni donors for the libraries, including a $5,000 gift from one of these first-time donors (A. M. Michel, personal communication, March 6, 1997; LIBDEV listserv communication, April 18, 1997). In spite of the strong feelings of some college-based development officers, not all alumni feel a great affinity for the department or college from which they received their degree. Soliciting them for the library may be a highly effective way to involve them philanthropically in the life of the institution.

As academic libraries gain more experience in soliciting alumni with no prior giving history at the university, it is becoming clear that, even among these groups, selection and segmentation is important. The University of Pennsylvania Libraries have found that targeting non-donors who are Penn graduate degree recipients is far more productive than targeting nondonors with undergraduate degrees from their institution. According to Amelia Schmertz, assistant director of development: "It is clear that, at Penn at least, the grad students feel much more linked to the library than do undergrads" (A. Schmertz, LIBDEV listserv communication, June 11, 1999). The age of non-donors may also be a factor. Adam Corson-Finnerty, director of development for the University of Pennsylvania Libraries, reported that a mailing to nondonors who had graduated more than twenty-five years ago was "a bust." He indicated that, in the future, he would direct such mailings to nondonors who had graduated ten to twenty years ago (A. Corson-Finnerty, LIBDEV listserv communication, May 7, 1999).

Leslie DiBona, director of development for the San Diego State University (SDSU) Library, reported that soliciting nondonors can be an effective way to get the library "on the radar screen" at the central development office. At a time when the SDSU library was not included in the mainstream of the institution's annual fund program, DiBona devised a simple, yet effective, plan from which the library and participating colleges benefitted. Deans from the colleges of Arts and Letters, Engineering, and Sciences gave permission for their nondonating alumni to be called on behalf of the library. Gifts received were placed in a library materials endowment fund restricted to the donor's college. Both the library development officer and the college development officer received a report listing these new donors. Donors from this campaign were treated as LYBUNTs (donors who made a gift last year but not this year) for the college and were solicited by the college the following year. In a one-year period, the SDSU library received gifts from well over 300 alumni who had previously been nondonors to the institution, with the average gift around $25.

In part because of this very respectable showing, the SDSU library has since been included in all aspects of the institutional annual fund program. The library now appears as an option on all annual fund direct mail appeals and is offered as a choice for those contacted by the telefund program. DiBona has even received a verbal commitment from the annual fund director that the library will be the focus of a spring 2000 calling program in which donors who have already made a gift to the institution during the fiscal year are solicited for the library (L. DiBona, LIBDEV listserv communication, April 17, 1997; and personal communication, July 13, 1999).

A number of academic libraries have put a new twist on the definition of "alumni." On many campuses, only the college or university food service employs more hourly student workers than the library. Treating former student employees as alumni and cultivating current student employees can have big payoffs. The Oklahoma State University Libraries have received two gifts of over $100,000 from former student employees who were identified through library annual fund solicitations. One of these donors established an endowment that provides two (and soon four) annual awards of $500 each for student employees selected as outstanding by their supervisor and a selection committee. At the Indiana University Libraries, each graduating student employee is recognized through the selection of a book plate in his/her honor. These programs allow the libraries to thank this vital group of employees and, at the same time, cultivate future library donors.

In one of the more ambitious annual fund campaigns directed at this constituency, the Indiana University Foundation called approximately 8,000 former student employees of the Indiana University Libraries and invited them to make a gift to the libraries. According to Beverly Byl, executive director of library development at Indiana University and the person who initiated this campaign, the effort was a modest success in terms of the funds raised, but the libraries may reap significant financial rewards in the future. She was successful in having this group of former students coded as library student employees in the university's donor database and has also added many names of people with a natural affinity for the libraries to their mailing list. She has further opened the lines of communication with this group by adding a feature on a current and former student employee to the libraries' donor newsletter (B. Byl, personal communication, May 20, 1999).

The University of Georgia Libraries found that current library employees can also be a fruitful target of an annual fund campaign. In launching an ambitious $20 million campaign for the libraries, Chantel Dunham, director of development for the University of Georgia Libraries, determined that their campaign should start from the inside out. Presentations were given to different departments within the library to explain the campaign and to encourage staff participation. Participation, not the size of the gift, was paramount in this campaign. To encourage a positive response, the library director and three assistant university librarians personally agreed to match the staff and library faculty gifts one-for-one over a five-year period. In addition, the libraries created meaningful recognition and benefit opportunities to inspire support. After the personal presentations, the library sent out a mailing encouraging participation and providing information on payroll deduction procedures as well as gift information. Campaign progress was updated monthly in the interlibrary newsletter. Dunham reported that the five-month campaign was a great success. Including the matching funds, they raised $30,000 from library faculty and staff with numerous gifts in the $500 to $1,000 ranges. More importantly to this campaign, combined faculty and staff participation reached 53 percent with 100 percent participation from the library faculty. In addition, the campaign, which is scheduled for completion in June 2001, is mentioned to new employees, and they are asked if they would like to have their name on a bookplate, which requires a minimum gift of $20 (C. Dunham, personal communication, June 2, 1999).

The University of Kentucky Libraries took the employee campaign one step further when they involved all University of Kentucky (UK) employees in a special solicitation for the UK libraries. The purpose of this campaign, conducted during the 1991-92 academic year, was to raise money to meet a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Challenge Grant for endowed book funds and to raise funds toward a new central library facility. Approximately 78 percent, or over 12,000 UK employees, contributed just over $1 million to the campaign.

Paula Pope, the UK libraries development officer, noted the techniques that worked in making this campaign flourish. The faculty and staff had never before--and have not since--been solicited for a university fund-raising campaign. In addition, the university president issued a moratorium on other college and department campaigns for the school year, denoting the importance of this match for the library. One staff member for every five was recruited and trained as a library campaign fund-raiser, and they were all assigned to solicit no more than five colleagues. Contributions could be made by payroll deduction and spread out over five years to maximize pledges for the match. Staff were assured that at no time would a list be published of donors to allow others to see who did and who did not give to the campaign. However, a specially designed UK pin was given to donors, and most donors wore it proudly--and still do.

Other noteworthy factors were that no cash campaign goal was ever established. Participation and numbers of contributors were encouraged, and a number of departments had 100 percent participation. The most notable among these departments was the Physical Plant Division, a large unit of the university that includes janitors, carpenters, and campus maintenance employees. Through this campaign, a number of employees asked that their payroll deduction be continued indefinitely after the end of the campaign. They had discovered that they did not miss the money and liked the idea of supporting the library in perpetuity. Ultimately, the NEH Challenge Grant was met and the building campaign for the new William T. Young Library was successfully completed with over $23 million raised in the process. UK employees have the satisfaction of knowing that the beautiful new library, which opened April 3, 1998, would not have been realized without their considerable base of support (P. Pope, personal communication,June 8, 1999).

Some academic libraries have been very successful in nurturing and growing Friends groups that provide annual financial support to the library. Such groups may include faculty, students, alumni, members of the community, and even corporate users of the library. Membership categories with benefits associated with various levels of yearly giving are typical of these organizations. Although further discussion of these sometimes complex groups is beyond the scope of this discussion, Friends' groups can play an important role in building the academic library's fund-raising constituency. Clark (1990) and Dolnick's (1996) discussions of Friends of the library are particularly helpful for those seeking more information.

Making the library the focus of a new or existing program may provide another foot in the institutional door for library annual fund programs and afford access to an entirely new group of library donors. Reunion giving programs are one such avenue which the University of Connecticut (UConn) libraries have found to be profitable. At UConn, the last three fiftieth reunion classes have established monetary goals and raised money for the UConn libraries. Linda Perrone, director of development for the UConn libraries, noted that fiftieth reunion gift campaigns are a new development initiative at the university. Not only did UConn have no track record in working with reunion classes on gifts prior to this endeavor, but the libraries also had no experience in working with special interest groups to raise money for library initiatives. Although UConn's central development office formally assigned class gift campaigns to the Director of the Annual Fund, Perrone found that a strategic point person in the specified area of interest (i.e., the libraries) was necessary to map out and guide the solicitation process.

In 1997, the class of 1947 committed to raise $25,000 to furnish and equip a new conference room in the Homer Babbidge Library. The Babbidge Library, UConn's main library, was undergoing extensive renovations at the time. In spite of a late start and a class with a minimal record of philanthropic support for UConn, the class raised $29,000 in a six-month period. The class of 1948 decided to emulate the Class of 1947 by not only raising money for the libraries but also doubling its goal. They chose to raise $50,000 to equip one of two new information technology centers in the newly renovated Babbidge Library. With leadership from an experienced volunteer chairperson and several classmates who agreed to personally solicit other class members, the class of 1948 successfully achieved its $50,000 campaign goal.

The most recent fiftieth reunion class, the class of 1949, trumped the class of 1948 by pledging to raise $100,000 to furnish and equip the new dramatic arts and music library. Although this class fell short of its goal, it did succeed in raising $60,000 by its June reunion. The class fund-raising committee co-chairperson is currently soliciting several additional class members with the capability of making leadership gifts in hopes of still meeting the goal.

Perrone, while eager to cooperate and provide guidance, credited much of the success of these reunion campaigns to UConn's annual fund office. In addition to providing a comprehensive list of all class members with their addresses, telephone numbers, and cumulative gift histories, it assigned key annual fund student employees to make follow-up calls on behalf of the reunion campaigns and sent the blanket solicitation letter and pledge card to each reunion class member. Like most annual fund campaigns, this was a labor-intensive activity. However, class members, the annual fund office, and the library shared the work and the costs. For the UConn libraries, the results have made it a worthwhile partnership (L. Perrone, personal communication, June 14, 1999).

Working to have the library included in a wider institutional effort may be an obvious, but nonetheless effective, way to get the library message in front of a broad audience of potential supporters. At the University of Waterloo, the library is more than just a check-off on the institution's annual fund appeal. For the last two years, the institution's development office has administered a secure Web site that allows potential donors to make contributions online. Mary Stanley reported that the library was automatically included in this innovative program because it was already participating in the institution's traditional annual fund program. Visitors to the University of Waterloo Annual Fund Web site can navigate through the list of institutional priorities and click on the library priorities should they choose to do so. What Stanley suspected, however, was that the library was far more likely to be the beneficiary of gifts made online if library acquisitions were listed as a priority by the university's colleges. While library acquisitions have yet to be listed by all the colleges, her suspicion has been borne out. The majority of online gifts received by the library have come through the colleges' priority lists (M. Stanley, personal communication, June 16, 1999).

The common thread among all these efforts is that library and/or development staff have found a way to "sell the library" to one or to several groups. However, translating the academic library's goals, mission, accomplishments, and needs into a successful annual fund campaign can present another major barrier to success with library annual fund programs.

How Do We Sell the Library?

For those who love libraries, the idea that the library needs to be "sold" to make it a worthy recipient of financial support is a foreign idea. Unfortunately, marvelous collections, outstanding service, and even a scholarly ambiance may not be enough to attract financial support. Creative partnerships, noteworthy special events, and fund-raising programs that capitalize on the academic library's unique role within the institution may be necessary to move the library's development program--and especially its annual fund program--forward.

A number of academic libraries have developed well-publicized fundraising partnerships with their institution's athletic department or with an outstanding coach. The Pennsylvania State University Libraries' long collaboration with football coaching legend Joe Paterno and the Indiana University Libraries' relationship with Hoosier basketball coach Bob Knight are just two of these well-known efforts. Such partnerships can provide academic credibility to athletics and visibility and excitement to the libraries.

Since few people in New Mexico could rally fans like then Lobos' basketball coach Dave Bliss, he was asked to chair a campaign to raise money for the University of New Mexico General Library. The "Build a Future with Books" campaign was organized in 1995 to raise $1 million over two years. As part of this campaign, the "Books and Baskets" program, created by Bliss, raised $100,000 in pledges and cash for library acquisitions and for renovations at the Lobos' basketball facility, the Pit. Bliss started the program to link athletics and academics in a team-motivated fund-raising effort. Symbolically, the 1995 Lobo basketball team photograph, used in the poster for the team's season game schedule, was taken inside UNM's Zimmerman Library to demonstrate the partnership between the library and athletics.

Bliss signed annual fund appeal letters to alumni and co-signed with other UNM administrators for faculty and staff mailings. Through "Books and Baskets," he created an annual fund campaign that provided new sources of revenue as well as visibility for the UNM libraries' bid to be within the top fifty ARL institutions. Bliss's association with the libraries conveyed the notion that libraries are as competitive as athletics and that the similarities between the organizations could work together to create a better university for all students. Not only was this message very potent in direct mail solicitations, but Bliss's name was also enormously valuable. Many people who otherwise never would have considered making a contribution to the UNM libraries did so upon receiving a letter from Bliss asking them to give.

As powerful an alliance as athletics can be for an academic library's annual giving program, it is certainly not a partnership that will appeal to all constituencies. For the last few years, the University of Guelph Library has partnered with parents of Guelph students to benefit the library exclusively. Parents of incoming students are called by the university's central development office and invited to make a gift that will benefit current and future generations of students--a gift to the library. In addition to this group, parents who contributed to the fund in the past are also asked to consider another annual gift to the library, and many of them take the opportunity to renew their support.

According to Michael Ridley, chief librarian at the University of Guelph Library, contributions to this important program have increased each year since its inception and now average between $80,000 and $100,000 annually. Unfortunately, the library's pre-eminent spot in this partnership has come to a close with the start of this academic year. The library will now be one of several options to which parents can designate their support. Scholarship programs, representing one of the alternative options, have received newfound emphasis with matching funds provided by the Ontario provincial government. Ridley expects that, without such a multiplier for the library, proceeds for the library from the parents' partnership will diminish at least temporarily (M. Ridley, personal communication, July 19, 1999).

Many academic libraries have seen the advantages of leveraging fundraising dollars through challenge grants. While challenge grants are one of the oldest and most traditional techniques fund-raisers have used to maximize financial support, there is nothing traditional about the partnership the University of New Mexico libraries have forged. For the last five years, the UNM Regents have been the source of challenge grant funds for the UNM libraries. During this time, over $1.5 million has been raised for library collections, helping the libraries and the university meet the goal of significantly improving the library's ARL ranking. Matching dollars have varied throughout this effort and have ranged from an initial 1:1 match to a final 1:3 match as the campaign gained momentum.

Extremely positive media coverage about the partnership made the UNM Regents want to continue this relationship with the libraries even after the goal of a top fifty ARL ranking had been achieved. Because of inadequate space to accommodate growing collections and the need to cut journal allocations by $900,000 over this decade, the UNM libraries went back to the Regents and requested a different type of challenge grant this year. The proposal was for a three-year commitment to provide $100,000 from the Regents Challenge Grant annually to match the $200,000 the libraries committed to raise for journal acquisitions. Thus, in a three-year awards period, $900,000 will be raised for electronic and paper journals. The goal is to make up for a decade-long loss within the first three years of the new century. Although the UNM libraries will continue to raise money for books, this new Regents Challenge Grant offers another opportunity to educate the public about the library's needs, mission, and accomplishments while making up for lost ground in journal acquisitions.

Like the University of New Mexico Libraries, the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) Library saw the advantages of using a challenge grant to initiate a new fund-raising effort. With help from a California foundation, the UCSC Library was able to launch its first-ever telefund campaign with outstanding results. In a program the library has simply called the "Buy-A-Book" program, former and prospective donors to the library are asked to make a gift that will purchase a book. Margaret Gordon, assistant to the university librarian at UCSC, reported that, during the first years of the program, potential contributors were advised that their gifts would be matched through the generosity of a local foundation. This added impetus to make a gift helped get the program off the ground.

Today, donors who pledge a minimum of $50 are able to have a personalized bookplate placed inside the book and may recommend the subject area. What is notable about this program is that appropriate titles are quickly selected from the library's current acquisitions area and donors are notified in the pledge confirmation letter about the book(s) that have been added to the collection because of their gifts. Gordon noted that this strategy is quite effective. The library has the highest pledge fulfillment rate--more than 85 percent--of any unit on campus. According to Gordon, people who pledge pay because they see almost immediately the tangible results of their gift giving (M. Gordon, personal communication, June 11, 1999).

Another academic library that has used books (and bookplates) at the center of its appeal is the University of South Florida (USF) Library. Through a direct mail solicitation, USF library supporters at the Tampa Campus are offered a lasting and meaningful way to celebrate a birthday, honor a graduate, commemorate an anniversary, or remember a loved one. Contributors can choose the wording to inscribe on a bookplate, which is placed in a book chosen in the subject area of the contributor's interest. A personalized bookplate requires a minimum gift of $50, a fairly standard contribution amount for many annual fund donors. Additionally, the mailer describing the bookplate program is included with other library correspondence and in folders of information prepared for community groups who visit the library as well as being placed at strategic locations throughout the library. Lizabeth Sismilich, director of development for the USF Tampa Campus Library, acknowledged that, for the USF libraries, the bookplate program has been the entryway into larger and more significant gifts. A number of the major gifts the library has received toward its $6.5 million goal in a $220 million institutional campaign have come from donors who made their first library gift through the bookplate program (L. Sismilich, personal communication, May 17, 1999; July 14, 1999).

Any discussion of efforts to market the academic library for the annual fund would be incomplete without at least a brief mention of special events. Special events that receive "quality direction and professional management" (Greenfield, 1999, p. 136) can provide an avenue for increased library awareness while bringing in annual fund gifts and prospective annual donors from new sources. Kelly (1998) advised:
 [S]pecial events can play a critical role in fund-raising management;
 however, they are among the least efficient of all techniques when used to
 solicit annual gifts. Solicitation events generally cost a great
 deal--often one half or more of the money raised. They are extremely labor
 intensive--often requiring thousands of hours of staff and volunteer time.
 (p. 471)

Yet Kelly also reached the conclusion that many directors of annual fund programs for the academic library know: "If selected and implemented strategically ... [special events] do have their place in the solicitation mix" (p. 473).

The University of New Mexico General Library has two signature events that provide high visibility, build and revitalize the library donor base, and add the spice and variety that helps maintain interest in their total development program. Both events utilize corporate sponsorships that contribute toward the expenses, so all ticket sales and other proceeds directly benefit the library. Norwest Banks has been a major sponsor of academic exhibits in the library as well as the primary sponsor of the library's benefit fashion show, the only haute-couture runway show in a university library in the world. KOOL 102, an Albuquerque "oldies" station, has been a major sponsor of a library benefit sock hop which has featured the talents of such entertainment legends as Chubby Checker and Mary Wilson of the Supremes. These events were very successful, annually netting $15,000 to $20,000 in expendable funds for the libraries while pumping out information throughout the broadcast day about the library and the needs of the university. Although both events were extremely time consuming efforts, many of the individuals and companies that participated would not have known about the needs, mission, and goals of the library if they had not been asked to become involved in these affairs.

What Do We Do about Capital Campaigns?

It is not uncommon for annual fund programs to be stopped or side-tracked during a capital campaign. Nevertheless, in today's campaign fundraising environment where extraordinarily large goals are the norm, more and more institutions are counting annual giving in campaign totals. Should the library be in the fortunate position of deciding its own fate on this issue, Anne Lechartier at the American Library in Paris identified three reasons why it is so important to continue the annual fund program while a capital campaign is in progress. First, donors for the two types of appeals tend to be quite different with little overlap in giving. Those who give to the annual fund give smaller gifts than those who give for the capital campaign. Second, through the yearly--or more often--repetition of an annual appeal, giving to the annual fund becomes a habit. Individuals become accustomed to receiving the annual campaign letter, which serves to update and educate the public, and they get used to writing a yearly check, which ultimately helps the library with current needs. Finally, Lechartier observed that annual fund returns almost always increase yearly, despite the continuation of the building campaign (A. Lechartier, LIBDEV listserv communication, May 21, 1999).

This clarification of the difference in purpose between the two types of fund-raising programs demonstrates the need to provide a comprehensive program of fund-raising options. The annual fund provides an avenue for smaller and more frequent gifts. Major and capital projects allow larger contributors a way to give toward naming opportunities and other high profile projects. A wide range of projects that can appeal to individuals, companies, and foundations at many different giving levels is also important.


Annual fund programs are notoriously high cost and low contribution activities, but they continue to be "annual" programs because they are repeatedly worth the money and the effort. Each year they bring in new contributors who become "family members" of the library and the institution. Greenfield (1999) stated: "In time, these faithful donors may commit assets acquired over their lifetime to the organization through major gifts, endowment gifts, planned gifts, and bequests from their estate. All these good things become possible from a comprehensive program of annual giving" (p. 99).

Identifying constituents, preparing a compelling case for support, and determining the right message for the right audience at the right time are the challenging keys to a successful long-term annual fund program. The barriers to success are not insurmountable, as has been shown by the academic libraries used as examples throughout this text.

Building the annual fund program, the base of the total resource development program, provides academic libraries with opportunities to clarify their vision, focus on priorities, create new strategic alliances, and capitalize on unique strengths while raising significant funds for current needs. With the annual fund program firmly established, the academic library is then well positioned to seek the major funds required for growth and innovation.


Clark, C. K. (1986). Private support for public purposes: Library fund raising. Wilson Library Bulletin, 60(6),18-21.

Clark, C. K. (1990). Getting started with annual funds in academic libraries. In D. F. Burlingame (Ed.), Library development: A future imperative (pp. 73-88). New York: Haworth Press.

Council for Aid to Education. (1999a). Voluntary support of education 1998. New York: CAE.

Council for Aid to Education. (1999b). Private contributions to higher education soar to record-breaking levels in 1998 [Press release posted on the World Wide Web]. New York: CAE. Retrieved July 10, 1999 from the World Wide Web: 1998PressRelease/vse1998.htm.

Council for Aid to Education. (1995). Voluntary support of education 1994. New York: CAE.

Council for Aid to Education. (1998). Voluntary support of education 1997. New York: CAE.

Dolnick, S. (Ed.). (1996). Friends of libraries sourcebook (3d ed.). Chicago: American Library Association.

Greenfield, J. M. (1999). Fund raising: Evaluating and managing the fund development process (2d ed.). New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Hood, J. M. (1993). Fundraising for libraries: Four important elements. Library Issues, 13(6), 1-2.

Kelly, K. S. (1998). Effective fund-raising management. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Kemmis, B. (1998). Changing trends in library fund raising. Library Administration & Management, 12(4), 195-199.

Martin, S. K. (1998). The changing role of the library director: Fund-raising and the academic library. Journal of Academic Librarianship, 24(1), 3-10.

Nichols, S. G. (1986). Annual giving programs: Responding to new trends and realities. In A. W. Rowland (Ed.), Handbook of institutional advancement (2d ed., pp. 253-267). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Nichols, S. G. (1980). Precampaign planning. In P. A. Welch (Ed.), Increasing annual giving (pp. 7-13). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Sadler, P. (1995). It's good to learn from a mistake ... but it's better to learn before. Fund Raising Management, 26(10), 32-34.

Welch, P.A. (1980). Annual giving: An overview. In P. A. Welch (Ed.), Increasing annual giving (pp. 1-5). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Jennifer Paustenbaugh, Library Development and Outreach, Oklahoma State University, 216 Edmon Low Library, Stillwater, OK 74078-1071

Lynn Trojahn, Bosque School, 4000 Learning Road NW, Albuquerque, NM 87120

JENNIFER PAUSTENBAUGH is Director of Library Development and Outreach for the Oklahoma State University Libraries. Since she has been in that position, the libraries have become the first of six priority areas to achieve their goal in the university's first comprehensive fund-raising campaign, a six-year, $206-million undertaking. She is an active member of the Academic Library Advancement and Development Network and has chaired the ACRL Public Relations in Academic Libraries Discussion Group and the LAMA-FRFDS Development Issues Discussion Group. She participated in the Snowbird Leadership Institute. Ms. Paustenbaugh serves as an advisory member to OSU's nationally recognized Women in Philanthropy program and to the Oklahoma Commission on the Status of Women.

LYNN TROJAHN is currently Director of Advancement at the Bosque School in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she has raised over $1.4 million for capital projects. She was also the first Director of Development for the University of New Mexico General Library system. Ms. Trojahn is treasurer of the UNM Friends of the Libraries, Inc., and president-elect of the New Mexico National Society of Fundraising Executives. She is also a founding member of the Academic Library Advancement and Development Network, an organization supporting library development officers worldwide. She has published in the College and Research Library News and won the UNM Gerald May Staff Recognition award. Ms. Trojahn speaks extensively on library development topics and has won numerous public relations, marketing, and advancement awards for her innovative library fund-raising initiatives.
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Publication:Library Trends
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Date:Jan 1, 2000
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