I've spent most of this week talking to as many people as I can about ways to collect more books and reach more kids. I'm planning a public book drive (I hope!), and it's just not as simple as you'd think.
- I need publicity. I have a few leads on that, but before I pursue them...
- I need drop-off locations! What good is publicity for a book drive if you don't have anywhere for people to deliver their books? But before I can secure drop-off locations...
- I need a story, or a flier, or some references; anything that will help businesses take me seriously. I mean, how do they know Books for Keeps is legit? What proof do I really have? And...
- I need a plan. Dates for the book drive, an explanation of how/where/when the books will be distributed to kids. Right now I'm considering prioritizing schools based on the percentage of children on the subsidized school meal plan. I can't count on my little blog and my aw, shucks, I'm just trying to give books to kids story to convince anybody that Books for Keeps is for real and that what we're doing makes a difference. I've got to be a girl with a plan.
I've spoken to Hands On Northeast Georgia and have a pretty good understanding what it takes to be listed in their 211 service and to join their organization. I've obtained contacts at Whatever It Takes and the ABH Blueprint section. Again... I need a plan before I can even contact them. So I'm working on it!
In addition to laying the groundwork for a public book drive, I'm also reaching out to friends and family in Georgia for people willing to host a neighborhood or office book drive. I already have a few volunteers, some for neighborhood drives, some for work drives! I hope it proves to be an easy way to collect a large number of books. We'll see.
I've spoken to a CPA about what's involved in forming and maintaining a 501-c-3 nonprofit. Still mulling that one over. I believe it would give Books for Keeps more credibility, but it just doesn't feel right for now. So that's on the back-burner.
Finally, I met with Mary, my contact at Alps Road Elementary, to plan next year's distribution. We're going to build on what I learned from the YWCO distribution: kids need browse time. We're aiming for 20-30 minutes per group/class. I've got a better system for organizing the books, and with this much time to plan it should be a snap to give away 1200 books in 6 hours.
So there you have it: I'm slammed with things to do, but happy to have options and hopeful that this year will exceed our wildest dreams in terms of how many kids become book owners in May.