National Read Across America Day is an annual awareness and motivation program that calls for every child in every community to celebrate reading on March 2, the birthday of beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss. The event, spearheaded by the National Education Association (NEA), is designed to motivate children to read and inspire a lifelong love of reading and is traditionally celebrated in schools, libraries, and homes across the United States. It is also part of a larger National Reading Month in March, an effort to sustain the interest in reading throughough the month.
Many charities and non-profit organizations get involved in celebrating National Read Across America Day by providing books to children in need. These organizations may donate books to schools and libraries by holding book drives or providing funding for book purchases. They may also sponsor reading programs and events, such as book giveaways, to promote literacy and the love of reading. To promote the love of literacy, schools may organize reading-related activities such as guest readers, book giveaways, writing contests, and other such events to encourage children to read. Many schools and libraries also hold special events, such as read-a-thons or parades, where children dress up as their favorite book characters.
To support children in discovering the love and passion for books, nonprofits and charitable groups can let their literary imaginations run wild with ideas. NEA’s Read Across America program partners with organizations such as First Book, which provides new books to children in need, while other charitable organizations such as Reach Out and Read provides books to pediatricians to give to children during well-child visits. There’s no limit to where book donations can be given to be enjoyed.
But book drives can result in becoming a repository for people’s unwanted books that have been talking up precious space in their homes. Dusty, old, and sometimes tattered books find their way into donation bins whenever a book donation drive is kicked off as people see them as a place to discard their unwanted books. Careful planning of your book drive is essential for success and to cut down on, or even eliminate, the arrival of unwanted books.
Targeted book choices that benefit children are ideal for well-managed book drives. Books focusing on age-appropriate and relevant social themes and educational themes appeal to children—and parents—helping to promote literacy.
Book Donation Drive
To run a successful donation drive, here are a few book drive tips to help move you in the right direction:
- Identify your books or themes. Provide specific themes or titles to give donors parameters and build understanding. Themes may be interesting to donors who have some flexibility to pick titles that speak to them.
- Set a goal: Determine how many books you want to collect and set a deadline for the book drive.
- Spread the word: Promote the book drive through social media, fliers, and local publications. Reach out to schools, libraries, and community organizations to ask for their support.
- Collection points: Identify locations where people can drop off books, such as schools, libraries, community centers, and local businesses.
- Sort and distribute: Sort the books by age and reading level and distribute them to schools, libraries, and organizations that serve children in need.
- Say thank you: Send thank-you notes to individuals and organizations that donated books.
You can also seek partnerships with local organizations or schools, offer incentives for donors, or hold a special event to collect books. But also consider an online book drive option, where donors can purchase books online that will be shipped for distribution.
Online Book Drive
Online book drives are an efficient way to garner support and gather specified books. By operating an online book drive, organizers determine which books they want to collect based on interests, themes, or their book drive partners. For example, if a nonprofit or charity is partnering to collect books for a school, they may target Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) books, whereas books for children at a community counseling center may focus on bullying, self-image, and family dynamics.
Since there is no physical collection point like in a traditional book drive, potential donors are sent a link to view and purchase directly from the list. The books are then delivered directly to the organization, eliminating the need for collecting and inventorying books from collection bins.
To run a successful online book drive, we’ve put together some book drive tips to help you along the way:
- Identify Specific Books or Themes: Determine the need and/or theme for your drive. Sample themes are STEM, diversity/inclusion, and more. For example, to support and educate on topics related to diversity and inclusion, consider including books like We are Different, We are the Same.
- Set Pricing: Clearly identify pricing. Donors are more likely to give and support when they know the costs upfront. Be bold. You may be surprised at their generosity.
- Post your Online Drive: You can consider partnering with a group that already organizes online drives. Roonga is an organization that focuses on supporting nonprofits and charities with online donation drives, including book drives. Partnering with Roonga takes the pressure off by facilitating the creation of the online drive and hosting it for the world to access.
- Share Links: Once you have the drive set up, share the links far and wide to spread the word. Typically, the success of the drive will be determined by the reach of your outreach. Don’t relay on social media, and be sure to include email campaigns in your communications plan.
- Say thank you: Send thank you messages to individuals and organizations that donated books. Add a message to the purchase confirmation window to express your appreciation to the donor and, when possible, send a note of thanks.
There’s no better time to organize an online book drive. National Read Across America Day provides an ideal opportunity for charities and nonprofit organizations to support children’s literacy and education by providing access to books and promoting the love of reading.
Learn more about the support and services offered by Roonga by visiting www.roonga.com, abd take a look at some of the other drives Roonga has hosted:
Giving children the opportunity to discover a passion for literacy has never been easier. Your nonprofit or charity will have the best opportunity to reach children with Roonga. Kick off your online book drive today!