Written By Greg Barber:
Over the past summer, our Alpha Epsilon Omicron chapter of Phi Theta Kappa undertook one of the book drives sponsored by Better World Books. We filled sixty-five boxes, and totaled approximately 900 textbooks. No one in our chapter thought we would collect that many, and it would be an understatement to say that our expectations were greatly exceeded. We were stunned by our own success. But looking back on the whole experience, it is apparent that this book drive wouldn’t have been the success it was if it weren’t for the presence of several key components.
Making the campus aware of the project, of course, is one of the keystones. Beginning in the early stages of the project, we sent out emails and put up flyers to notify our fellow students about the book drive. Even before the collection boxes were out, all three campuses knew that this project was going to begin soon. The time we put into the advertisement portion of this project definitely paid off. Students knew exactly when and where to donate their books, and contributions started coming in as soon as we put the boxes up.
Also, thoughtful placement of the boxes increased our donations tremendously. We placed them in high traffic areas such as the library entrance, frequently traversed hallways, and the bookstore. The bookstore location was an especially important collection spot due to the time of the project. Book-buy-back week was underway, and by placing the box adjacent to the buy-back center, it was ensured that any surplus books would be donated.
Contributions from faculty are also something that is definitely worth looking into. About half of our donations were from the college’s faculty and staff. All it took was an email from our advisor notifying the rest of the faculty that this project was coming up. To make it easy for people to donate, we designed one day a campus-wide “Book Blitz,” when chapter members and volunteers made the rounds to collect books at faculty and staff offices. The response was enthusiastic, and plenty of our people were more than willing to get a few old books off their hands.
And lastly, the most important factor that resulted in this successful book drive was dedication. A committed team of people can go a long way. We started the project, and kept with it all the way until the end. Everyone stayed positive, were supportive of each other, and were always ready to offer assistance in any way possible.
Basically, thoughtful planning, willingness to dedicate time, and a team of committed people are really all that is needed to put on a successful book drive.