In February I wrote a YALSA blog post about how, during tough economic times, opportunities arise for trying out new ways of providing services to, and connecting with, teens. What if every library took to heart the idea that economic challenges are an opportunity to improve service and take chances? What if teen librarians started to say, “OK, lets start thinking completely differently – or at least a little bit differently – about what we do and how we do it? What if, as we struggle to make ends meet, we don’t just try to maintain but we try to rethink? What if, we don’t think small but actually think big?” It sounds risky, doesn’t it? But, maybe it’s the perfect time to be risky. Take a chance, walk with me on the edge for a few minutes: (more…)
Once you’ve identified the areas of need for your community/school teens, it is time to put the parts together for the grant. There are usually parts of a grant that work together as a whole, but these parts explain to the grant committee how the grant will work: the narrative and the budget. The narrative is the overview and will describe the “big picture” in a way that explains the grant goals, objectives, and how the grant will benefit your target group, teens. It will have sections that you will need to address such as describing how the grant will be implemented, who is willing to donate time and funds for “cost sharing,” and how the success of the grant will be evaluated and the results disseminated. The budget is a tricky piece that is a detailed accounting of how all monies will be spent, and if this is a federal grant, there will be rules that have to be strictly followed.
For successful writing, remember that your “data,” how it will be collected, analyzed, and evaluated, will be critical because data is the only thing that will show if the grant has been successful, and the grant committee members will be closely examining how you will show that their investment will be used to benefit the greatest number of teens in the most efficient way. The narrative will be more credible when you use the data from your needs assessment to justify the need for the program you and the grant committee/network envision for the community/school. (more…)
Yesterday Beth Gallaway wrote about Return on Investment (ROI) and how to make sure to get a good bang for your buck. Beth’s specific focus was on how gaming provides great opportunities to demonstrate ROI.
Continuing on the theme of ROI, how do you:
- Make sure that administrators, community members, foundations, grant makers, etc. understand the value of all aspects of the job that you do?
- Demonstrate that the full scope of services for teens is an invaluable part of what the library offers?
- Guarantee that those who have the bucks will make sure that you have dollars that you need when you need them?
In order to prove that the money spent in teen services is a good investment, it’s important to have data and stories that you can present to others. How do you do that? Focus groups, circulation statistics, door counts, and surveys are traditional methods libraries use. But, in the web 2.0/social networking world, there are several other techniques to employ in order to find out what other’s have to say about your services and their value: (more…)