Fundraising Ideas for Your Film Program
You are allowed to raise as much funds as possible during movie screenings as long as the funds collected are not called "admission". If you do charge "admission", you may recoup the cost of the license but that is all that can be collected. Below we have compiled a list of ideas for your library to fund film programs.
Partner with local group:
Other Movie Licensing USA customers have partnered with a local law library. They split the cost of the license and hold movie screenings inside the public library that have to do with legal issues. A representative from the law library holds a discussion after the movie to review what legal issues were illustrated in the movie, etc. They call the series the "Reels of Justice".
Invite local organizations to display their information and host a movie night:
Each month a different community organization can display their information in the library. Their goal may be to increase awareness about the work they do, raise funds, attract volunteers, etc. These groups can also host a movie night in the library during their assigned month. They can open the event with a 5-10 minute introduction about their group, and stay after to answer any questions attendees may have.
Organize a community garage sale:
Invite community members to donate gently used items at your next movie night for a huge community sale. Ask your Friend of the Library group or library volunteers to help price and set up merchandise. Advertise the sale on your website and in local media. Be sure to tell patrons about the programs your library offers at the event!
Set out a “Turn Copper Into….” Penny Jar:
Place a large clear jug or container on your circulation desk along with a sign telling patrons their donations are going towards a mysterious new library item. Encourage patrons to bring in as many pennies as they can to fill it. Hold a movie night to celebrate “the big reveal” when you reach your goal. You could also hold a competition between other local branches to let the winner choose and host the next movie night.
Host a read-a-thon:
Encourage patrons to sign up for a read-a-thon in which donations can be received in the form of pledges for the number of books read. Create levels of success in the program and reward each level with a small prize as a motivator to keep reading. Kick this event off with a free book-to-movie marathon featuring The Time Traveler’s Wife, Charlie St. Cloud and Eat, Pray, Love.
Set up an inventory sale:
Clean out your shelves and make money by selling old books, CDs, DVDs and other materials from your collection at your next movie night. Old computers, furniture and video projectors also make great items to sell, and you could also ask your audience for donations.
Have a Bridge tournament:
Encourage patrons to sign up for an afternoon bridge tournament with a movie night sign-up showing classic movies like Some Like It Hot or Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Players can pay a modest entry fee in order to compete for locally donated prizes and gift certificates. This is a great way to encourage library patrons to make new friends for a great cause.
Host a “Food for Thought” evening:
Invite a published author or artist from your town to discuss his latest work at a special ticketed “dinner and a movie” event. Charge for tickets to the dinner and keep the movie free. Show a food themed film like Ratatouille, Dinner Rush, No Reservations or Julie and Julia and ask a local culinary school if they would be interested in catering the event to keep costs low. Silent and live auctions are other ways to raise extra funds during the event.
Arrange a golf tournament:
Work with a local golf course to plan a golf event with a “Mingle and a Movie” event afterwards at your library. Ask for a specific suggested donation for those who are interested in playing and offer prizes for the longest drive, lowest score and more. After the tournament is over, invite your players to watch a golf themed film like Happy Gilmore,Caddyshack, Tin Cup or The Greatest Game Ever Played.
Organize a bingo game with cards based on scenes from your favorite movies. As the movie plays, have attendees mark their cards when a famous line is said, a certain prop is showed or a specific actor appears. Concessions and a low per game cost game let everyone join in on the fun! Make sure players know that with every round they purchase, their chances of winning donated prizes like gift cards for coffee, movies or restaurants get even higher. Choose scenes from classic movie like Rocky or feature some more current blockbusters like Despicable Me, The Social Network or The King’s Speech.
Hold a teen night:
Calling all Guitar Heroes! Host a special night for only teens that includes a movie showing like Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, Super Mario Bros., Scott Pilgrim vs. the World or Tron Legacy, snacks and a video game tournament. Pick a favorite video game and sell positions in a tournament bracket for a video game showdown. Award the winner with a copy of a new video game to master.
Check out our list of creative fundraisers in Check It Out magazine! You’ll also find downloadable materials to help track your fundraising progress.
Local Business Sponsorship
Have a local business sponsor your program in exchange for a sign at their business such as “This business supports our local library” or a sign at the library which states “this Books to Movie program was sponsored by XYZ business.”
Friends Group Sponsorship or Fundraiser
Visit the ALTAFF (Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations) Friends Groups page for fundraising ideas.
Grants are available through various organizations such as:
- ALA Grants and Fellowships www.ala.org
- State Grants such as www.californiastories.org
- Institute of Museum and Library Services
- The Libri Foundation
- National Education Association (NEA)
- Poets and Writers Society funding grants
Fundraising Fact Sheet
Download our Fundraising Fact Sheet for tips on asking for help in funding the cost of your library’s public performance license.
Can't find what you're looking for? Visit our FAQ Page .