Our colleagues in the political sciences spend considerable time studying voter behavior. They have identified several key reasons that people do or don’t come out to the polls. Human factors like self-identification with a candidate’s issues, personal familiarity with the candidate, and the voter’s own sense of civic responsibility set a baseline for likely support. Whether the voter trusts the election process and government in general, is knowledgeable about the issues and not just personalities, and whether there are barriers to his or her enfranchisement are also significant drivers. Finally, is the voter motivated to go to the polls to punch a chad, or does the campaign need to activate him or her? Over time, candidates have leveraged and shaped these human behaviors into the modern Get Out the Vote (GOTV) campaign. GOTV approaches becomes best practices for us to follow in library ballot campaigns.
Walk Your Precinct: Use Campaigns Techniques To Activate Library Advocates and Voters | Advocates’ Corner
Thus far in 2013, the federal budget picture has been quite grim. Since March 1, the United States government has begun to adapt to the harsh reality of across-the-board budget cuts to particular categories of federal spending. This series of cuts—now commonly referred to as the sequestration—were enacted as part of the Budget Control Act [...]
If you make one small change to the way you contextualise your marketing efforts, it can yield big results. It’s subtle but important, and here’s how to go about it.
Marketing libraries is a tough business, for all kinds of reasons. Lack of time, lack of funds, lack of other resources. The fact that public perception of what libraries actually do is about 15 years behind the reality in a lot of cases. But also the fact that there’s often a fundamental misunderstanding about what marketing should actually achieve.
Since Kickstarter launched in 2009, everyone from indie bands to technology developers to non-profit organizations has asked themselves, “Will crowdfunding work for me?” Libraries, which often turn to more civic-minded crowdfunding sites like Indiegogo and Fundly, are no exception. But the question remains: does it work?
Filling the Advocacy Gap: How Millions of Dollars Are at Stake on Ballots and What We’re Doing About It | Advocates’ Corner
Regardless of what The West Wing may have told us, elections are always a numbers game. Let’s say your public library serves a community of 10,000 people and you are fielding a $15 million bond measure to build a new library next November. If we run the “national average” numbers for a Congressional election cycle, you will likely have around 7,000 people of voting age in your jurisdiction. Voter registration runs as high as 60 percent for these biennial elections. However, turn out will be as low as 42 percent in a general election. If your bond measure looses by 4 percent, a not unheard of margin, you will have lost by 141 votes. If you are on the primary ballot—where turn out is in the 22 percent range—you lose by just 74 votes. Multiply that by five or by ten for bigger towns and cities and counties and we’re still talking about small numbers of voters.
Will marketing result in increased funding? According to Library Journal’s November survey, most libraries think not—unless your library is serving a population of 500K+. Then 70 percent of the participants believe marketing helped. Interestingly, the majority of those surveyed from libraries of all sizes believed marketing increased their perceived value to elected officials and the community at large. If libraries could apply the influence of advocacy to their marketing strategies, they might see an increase their funding.
(Editor’s Note: LJ’s Lead the Change program will be offered in eighteen additional cities in 2013 and will be in the Rochester, New York area on March 28. The upstate/western New York program is being hosted by the Rochester Public Library and Monroe County Library System and will take place at the Greece Public Library, Greece, [...]
Everywhere you turn in the world of libraries these days, you hear people talking about the need for private fundraising. ALA conferences have multiple concurrent sessions on fundraising, articles dealing with fundraising in library publications abound, and listservs everywhere are dissecting the pros and cons of private fundraising.