Try a Cash Donation Box for Easy Fundraising

ImageA question was posted on the PUBLIB discussion group asking, "Has anyone experimented with fundraising by having cash donation boxes inside library locations (like what might be seen in a zoo, museum, or simliar)? We are looking for pros and cons of such a set up as well as potential vendors for secure boxes."

Here are some replies that include ideas you might want to try in your library:

  • We had a big water cooler bottle on the counter with a picture of the new library building on it. We had an anonymous donor who each month dropped in three $100 bills.
    Before the big campaign I had an Iron Bowl challenge. If you don't know it's the BIG game between Alabama and Auburn Universities and nothing moves in Alabama during the game. I had two smaller containers that represented each team. After the game we would count the money and which ever team won we decorated the circ desk in that team's colors. People lurved it. I may bring it back next year.
    I have a member of the Friends who wants to sponsor a coin funnel ( http://hyperbolicfunnel.com/). I've said no. The Board has said no. She keeps insisting. We may ask her to sponsor a nice donation box that will be next to our donor wall (visible from the welcome desk). [post by Paula]
  • We put out a jar on the circ desk when we were fund raising for a building expansion in 2002. After the expansion was finished in 2004, inertia left the jar on the counter and the money (about $50 a month) continued to come in. We funneled the funds into our Museum Pass program. I've been retired for eight years now, but the jar is still there on the desk every time I go in. It's totally passive and brings in a small steady stream of funds. [post by Judi]
  • We have a clear plastic donation box on our circ desk. It has a sign that says "no fines, donations" and we seed it with a couple of dollar bills to begin the day. This is very small library, and we collect about $2,000 a year with that. [post by Lisa]
  • We have had a donation jar out on the front desk for years. It was originally a repository for change found on the floor, and for patrons insisting they pay for a paper clip or staple. The current one is a large old-fashioned canning jar decorated up with ribbons. We also put it at the door of the community room when we have programs. The change really adds up!  [post by Rosalie]
  • Speaking from experience--make sure the collection boxes are located so staff can easily keep an eye on them and bolt the boxes down.  [post by Larry]

Photo credit: Kathryn Harper via Flickr, (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)