5 Tips for a Successful Info-only Campaign

What happens if the measure fails? The public needs to know and, if you show them an honest Plan B, can decide between it and Plan A (what happens if it passes) as informed voters.

#1 Talk about your Plan B

What happens if the measure fails? The public needs to know and, if you show them an honest Plan B, can decide between it and Plan A (what happens if it passes) as informed voters.

What's next if the measure doesn't pass? You control this messaging. It's not leverage as much as transparency and civic engagement.

# 2 The day of the vote is likely the biggest funding day of your year - or for a generation

Your funders in your Friends group and Foundation want to see their donations sit on top of better taxes.  Tell them what passage would mean for making their donations go farther.

# 3 Refocus your communications on the people who work there

Voters, like donors, want to see exactly who is going to spend their taxes.  They want to see the librarians doing transformative work in the community.  Put more names - staff names - and pictures into your outreach online and in print.

For example, "The young people's librarian [your name here] points out 'what to read' on the list of Books for Young People, published by the [your library here]."

#4 If you are worried about opposition, engage them early

It is your responsibility as a public body to tell the tax payers how their money is being spent.  Invite the opposition - either active or nascent - in early to look at the books and ask/answer their questions. You have to do more than post it.*

#5 Election day is not the end of your campaign

Focus as much on the day after the Election as you do on the Election by building a new coalition in town for the library.  If it passes, you have a community who made it happen. If it fails, you’ll need a lot of new friends because it’s Plan B time.

*if you don’t think you have opposition, ask other people who they think will be opposed. You’ll get a lot of wisdom from the crowd.  And maybe you were right….

This week's Lib Elections News

The New Hampton (IA) City Council has tabled a request from the library board to put a $1.7 million bond on the March ballot. The library board commissioned a needs assessment showing that the current building is inadequate for program space, public seating, and staff work space among other basic functions. The library has about a fifth of the money needed for the project and is continuing to approach major donors. Garner Public Library (IA) will have a $400,000 bond on the ballot in the May election. This would be used to fund a remodel and addition to the current building. A 60% vote is needed to approve the bond. No additional taxes will be needed, the city already has city funds earmarked and grant funds available for this project.

Other Happenings

The EveryLibrary board members will be at ALA Midwinter 2015 next week in Chicago and we invite you to one of our drop-in sessions at the ALA Networking Uncommons. Drop by Saturday or Sunday between 4:30 p and 5 p with your questions or to learn more about us. Come say hello! No appointment needed. We will also be holding our annual board meeting on Friday from 12 p - 2 p. We have a few spots available please email [email protected] to RSVP. See our blog post for more details and other Midwinter events our board members are involved in.

On Tuesday, we released our plan to commission artwork in support of a national Vote Libraries campaign. With your help this has the potential to be huge. We need $10,000 to create a suite of high-quality, high-impact, copyright free images to be used in library campaigns. We are looking for 25 $100 donations to get us started or new $10 per month donors will get their own commemorative print of the image of their choice.

We have more exciting news coming soon. Join us next week for another round up. Happy trails!


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  • John Chrastka
    published this page in News and Updates 2021-01-31 03:13:52 -0800