Books as Fundraising Tools

September 14, 2015 by Irish Beth Maddock

Why use your book as a fundraiser?

If authors feel led to offer their published work as a fundraiser, not only does it “give back”, but it may be an additional way to gain exposure and promote books. Fundraising may also offer writers an extra outlet of income, which can add to royalties and regular book sales.

How Do You Pitch a Fundraiser?

Let the people and groups you support know about the option of using your book as a fundraiser. Create mail outs, emails, signs and promotional material, sharing that you will allow your book to be used to help create income. Share this news via your website, social media and community outlets. If you have the opportunity to be interviewed, whether that be by a news outlet, radio or television, make certain it is mentioned that you offer your book for fundraising purposes.

Some Fundraising Do’s and Don’ts:

Firstly, make certain you are offering your book as a fundraiser for the right reasons. Corinthians 9:7 speaks about how the Lord loves a cheerful giver. Are you offering your book in the right spirit?

Ensure the causes you wish to help fundraise for believe in your book and that your story is in line with what they support. Also ask yourself: do you in turn support the cause you want to help raise money for?

Be clear to prospective fundraising groups regarding what you can give them per book sale. Is it only partial proceeds, or full proceeds? Let causes know up front what you are prepared to offer. For example, I’ve come across some organizations who were not interested in using my book as a fundraiser unless I offered them full proceeds of my book sales.

In addition, don’t be discouraged if parties you approach do not wish to use your book as a fundraiser. This has happened to me and initially, this “no” was surprising to me. Who wouldn’t want an opportunity to raise money? Yet each entity, charities especially, have their own rules as to what fundraising needs to look like. Creating funds with books may not be within that particular organization’s mandate or best interests. For other organizations, it is simply too much red tape to go through.

How does a Fundraiser Work?

When an organization or individual gives you the green light to use your book to help raise funds, here are some ideas to potentially implement:

  • Set up a book table at the fundraising event (if there is one). If it is a speaking event, see if you might have an opportunity to share a bit about your book and why you wish to use it to help raise monies. After the event is over, the funds raised can then be allocated to the benefactor.
  • Have the individual or group represent you by selling your book for you at their counter, events, or one on one to possible readers. Make certain you have an agreement in writing as to how many books you have given for them to sell on your behalf and how much will go back to you from every book sale, if any. Arrange a later date to drop off more books and/or pick up your share of your book proceeds.
  • Create fundraising book order forms that can be handed out at gatherings and collected back at a set time, with the understanding that people can pick up their books at a certain date. Funds can be allocated to the benefactor after the books are delivered to their purchasers. Be clear on details such as name, phone number etc. on the form so you know who gets which book and that the right amount of books/money have been given.

    NOTE: Ensure you have a written agreement or contract in place with the organization you are going to support, stipulating how the fundraiser will proceed. Make certain that it is signed by yourself and the representative of the organization you are raising money for, so there is no confusion or hard feelings when funds are dispersed.

    Payment Methods: Cheque or cash works great. However, using an electronic form of payment such as Square or PAYD, (particularly at public fundraising events), can help people to pay via credit card or debit right from your iPhone or iPad. Talk to your bank if you need help getting this additional method of payment set up.

What is a Good Audience for a Picture Book Fundraiser?

Depending on the message of your book, you may be limited as to where you can use your story as a fundraiser. My picture book, The Great Carp Escape, thus far I have found, can be used almost anywhere as a fundraiser, yet ideally, anywhere kids congregate is the best place to start!

What Has Been your Favorite Fundraiser so Far?

My favorite book fundraiser I’ve done to date is at a church in Ontario where fundraising has been ongoing since April 2015. The Great Carp Escape has now raised $500.00 for this church’s benevolent fund! The church has asked for their third shipment of books to continue on with this method of fundraising.

I am also very excited about teaming up with Chapters/Indigo on September 17th, 2015. I have been given the honor of selling my book as the author in store for their FUN-draiser Evening for the benefit of Calgary Christian School. Chapters/Indigo is contributing 20-30% of all book sales from this event to the school. What a wonderful opportunity to help give back!

Interested in using The Great Carp Escape as a fundraiser for your cause? Contact Irish Beth to learn more.

Is your book involved in any fundraisers? Tell us about it in the comments section!

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About this Contributor

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Irish Beth Maddock is the author of The Great Carp Escape, an award-winning, inspirational fish “tail” based on a true Canadian experience she had as a child growing up on Okanagan Lake in Vernon, B.C. back in the 1980s. Learn more at irishbethmaddock.com.