Friday, October 12, 2012

Meet the Castle Pines Staff!


Meet the folks who work hard to create the Little Library that Could. Starting back in the early days of library services in Castle Pines to the present.

Original Opening Day Crew: Kyra Hahn, Amy Long, Sarah Tweed, Beth Dalton (not pictured), Jill Swanstrom, Lori Sanchez, Joanne Fields-Daley, Cherie Ellingson, Diedre Van Ry, Sharon Lauchner.

New Team members for 2012!
Kate Prestwood, Jill Swanstrom, Joanne Fields-Daley, Lori Sanchez, Aspen Walker, Emily McCabe, Sarah Tweed, Cherie Ellingson, Deidre Van Ry, Aimee Oldenburg, Kyra Hahn, Reta O'Rear (not pictured)

Meet the Volunteer Committee

The Castle Pines Fundraising Campaign Committee was created in 2011. Made up almost entirely of community volunteers, the members had all had a hand in the original fundraising efforts of 2008.

The group was made up of volunteers from the Chamber of Commerce, Local businesses, community members, members of the City Council, members of the library staff, and library volunteers.

Members of the group are: Mayor Huff, Sharon Kollmar, Carla Kenny, Warren Lynge, Darren Everett, Linda Day, Vicky Kellen, Sarah Tweed, Joan Milspaugh, Terri Wiebold, Aspen Walker and Amy Long. 

In 2011 Sharon, Carla, Joan, Linda, Vicky and Warren won a DOVIA award (Directors of Volunteers in Agencies) at their annual "We Count on You" awards luncheon for the Denver Metro Area. We were able to honor their contribution to the community and thank them for all their time and hard work they dedicated to keeping the Castle Pines Library going!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Thank Yous

Here's the oscar-like speech of thanks to the people who were integral to making this experience within the Castle Pines community possible:

  • Warren Lynge
  • Vicky Kellen
  • Linda Day
  • Joan Millspaugh
  • Carla Kinney
  • Sharon Kollmar
  • Castle Pines Chamber of Commerce
  • Sarah Tweed
  • Sandy Dempsey
  • Lindsay Kamel
  • Don Bobeda
  • Margie Woodruff
  • Jamie LaRue
  • Library Board of Trustees
  • Castle Pines Branch Staff
  • Amy Long
  • Peg Hooper
  • Susan O'Brien
  • Sharon Lauchner
  • Aspen Walker
  • City of Castle Pines
  • Maureen Shul
  • Jeffrey Huff
  • Terry Wiebold
  • Tim Gamble
  • Castle Pines Connection
  • Castle Pines Arts Commission
  • Darren Everett
  • Canyons Development

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


Here's a chronology of progress for how we travelled from humble mobile beginnings, ventured over a slightly bumpy unmarked road, to end up with a 2,300 square foot leased storefront branch.  This goal was successfully achieved during poor economic conditions, without tax increases, all while serving to bring people together and build community!
  • 2009 -- Storefront library opens in Castle Pines North (September)
    • Community raised $50,000
      • Pancake Breakfast (Fall)
      • Author reception (August)
      • Community Book Sale/Swap (August)
      • Children's Book Swap (August)
  • 2011 -- Fundraising continues with new goal of raising $90,000 to cover branch operation costs
    • Library fundraising campaign committee formed to coordinate volunteer efforts
    • Fundraising committee organized a variety of activities
      • Dining events
        • Dine Arounds at local restaurants (August / January--May 2012)
        • Pancake breakfast
      • King Soopers gift cards (ongoing)
    •  Library fundraising campaign committee wins Volunteer Group of the Year "DOVIA" award [Directors of Volunteers in Agencies] (September)
    • City of Castle Pines donates $50,000 over 3 years [$25,000 in 2011 / $15,000 in 2012 / $10,000 in 2013]
  • 2012 -- City visually demonstrates partnership with and actively promotes library
      • Universal library signage on main road
      • Window film graphic design installation at library with city logo (May)
    • Chamber of Commerce "Sponsor Library For A Day" (ongoing) -- celebrating and promoting community events and honoring donors on flat screen display monitor within the library
    • Fundraising goal of $90,000+ achieved more that 1 year ahead of schedule (September)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Castle Pines Library needed $90,000 raised for the next three years of operations. This was no small challenge, in fact, it was pretty massive. The community had come together in 2009 and raised $50,000 but how were we to raise twice that much in the same community only a few years later?

Enter the Castle Pines Library Campaign Committee. These dedicated volunteers spearheaded multiple types of fundraisers and organized not only the events themselves, but also the marketing and popularity of the events.

Here are some of the things that worked for us! Maybe they will work for you too?

Restaurant Nights:

Vicky Kellen went door to door to the restaurants around the Castle Pines Library with a great partnership idea. If the restaurant would sponsor a "Dine out for the Library" night and donate a portion of their proceeds to the Library, we would promote the heck out of it and they would get a huge turn out on a night that normally isn't very busy for them. We did two rounds of these events and they were very successful for the campaign!

Tips for pulling this off:
  • Select one figure either 15% or 20%, we did a mixture and it was confusing!
  • A series ever week (like you see in the advertisement) actually worked better than spreading it out over months and months.
  • 4-6 restaurants are ideal
  • To promote: ads in the paper, flat screen ad inside the library, Chamber of Commerce eblast to members, small fliers stuffed in the holds and available at self check, fliers on windshields, posters at all the businesses in the area, word of mouth! Getting people talking about it is the best way!
  • Ask the restaurant to keep a record of what they brought in, don't forget to include drinks as well as food!
  • Follow up right away to get the check or provide a pre-addressed stamped envelope to make it easy on the business owners.

School Change Drive:

Linda Day was contacted by Candy Palazzo from Timber Trail Elementary about having the four Elementary Schools in Castle Pines sponsor a change drive for the Library. She coordinated with Linda, but essentially Candy organized all four school drives with the help of parents and kids at each school. Representatives from the schools came for a check signing after all was said and done, they raised an impressive amount- over $3,900!

Kings Soopers Gift Cards:

Within the first week of discussing fundraising again, Linda Day suggested utilizing a program offered by our local Kings Soopers (a Kroger Company). They have a program that allowed us to purchase gift cards loaded with a 'starter amount' then handed out to community members. Individuals would reload money onto the gift card and use it to purchase groceries or gas, and the Library received 5% of everything that was reloaded onto the cards! This fundraiser was very easy to set up, brought in money steadily every month, and continues to be successful for the library!

Letter Writing Campaign & Mail in Donations:

Most of our donations came from local and neighboring businesses. The largest donations came from corporations nearby or that do business in Castle Pines. Warren Lynge and Sarah Tweed began a letter writing campaign sending a direct letter to each and every business that was a member of the Chamber of Commerce. This resulted in quite a few donations!

Once we had seen success from this, Warren decided we should do a direct mail to the citizens in Castle Pines and a neighborhood right near by. He purchased a list of addresses and mailed them not only a letter, but a pre-addressed envelope that they used to mail back their donations. This generated more giving than we expected! In addition, Warren made up an envelope that we kept by the Self Check and that we also took to community events that folks could take with them, fill out and then drop in the mail. People sent checks, credit card info, and sometimes cash. This was a great way to make it easy for folks to donate!

How did we do it?

We couldn't have done it without the support of the local community! The volunteers, local paper, Chamber of Commerce and City Council were immensely helpful. And of course, a community that loves its library!

We raised money through a variety of events, letter writing campaigns, and plain old donations that the volunteers generated. Check out the breakdown of how we reached our goal! The City of Castle Pines donated $50,000 to support the library and they are listed in this chart with the business donations.

Lessons Learned

I had absolutely zero experience with fundraising when the Castle Pines Library Campaign Committee started in 2011. I was as a library representative, but I was as far from an expert as you can get! I learned a great deal from those who had been through it before as well as from those in the Library who did have a fundraising background. I learned a great deal about donor relations, asking for donations, and how to collaborate with the community on a common goal. Here are some of the most important lesson I learned from those around me:
  • Harness your resources! Look for community volunteers to be your advocates- retired professionals, Chamber of Commerce, City Council members, etc. Form a committee of Library and Community folks to facilitate communication, create a strong relationship and provide feedback from both groups.
  • Dream big! Talking about the goal from a big picture ($100,000) was more successful than talking about $30,000 a year for 3 years. We were able to frame conversations in terms of 10% of our goal which is $10,000 vs. $3,000 by changing way we talked about our goal.
  • Control the message! Craft carefully the message you send with each fundraiser. Incorporate key players in the planning meetings to avoid miscommunication. Make sure that any messages about what will happen if the money isn't raised are consistent. 
  • Report accurately! People will get easily frustrated if the numbers don't add up. Make sure you tell them what the net result of each fundraiser is and that it is easy to find out exactly where the fundraising is at any time.
  • Follow up! create a donor package that includes photos, clippings, and news stories resulting from their donation. For the City we will create a folder with copies of every news story, check signing, big screen slide and more!
  • Celebrate Success! Check signings, promotional opportunities, articles in the local paper, and more! Make it an event with food and drinks. Shower the donors, the volunteers, the fundraisers, the staff and the community with appreciation.