As published in the Red Rock News
Summer is upon us, and many of us feel hesitantly hopeful. We are growing more comfortable visiting with family and friends and going to places where we have not been in so many months. It’s great to see smiling faces and to hug our loved ones!
On the other hand, the heat waves, the drought, and the resulting fires are taking their toll. Celebrating the great outdoors is not as simple as it used to be, even in beautiful Sedona. But I’m leaning into the hopeful, and being part of Sedona Public Library makes that an easy thing to do.
It’s a new fiscal year for the Library, so in addition to thinking about what I’ll read this summer, where I’ll hike, and when I can get to my favorite swimming hole, I’m also thinking about philanthropy. As the Library’s development director, it’s what I’m here to do, after all, and I’m particularly pleased to say that the Library had a successful year. We are grateful to all of our supporters—thank you!
When I shared my fundraising plan with the Library’s Board of Trustees at this time last year, it was, well, dismal, as so much was a year ago. The philanthropy periodicals and experts I follow shared little in the way of positive projections, or at least in consistent projections. Things across the globe were changing every day, and philanthropy was no different.
But I am proud to say that Sedonans, and Americans, have again shown themselves to be very generous and conscious about how they support the services provided by the nonprofit organizations they love. As a nation, we simply take care of each other, and our community helps take care of this library. That makes me very hopeful.
When you think of philanthropy, the names MacKenzie Scott, Melinda Gates, and Sheryl Sandberg, or other headline-making personalities and foundations might come to mind. But did you know that, in large part, it is people just like you and me who bolster our national reputation of generosity? According to Giving USA, in its recently published annual report, 69 percent of gifts made across the country in 2020—to the tune of a total of $324 billion—came from individuals.
During a year that we know was extremely economically challenging for so many, to say the least, it is very hopeful to know that many families and individuals undergoing those challenges made up a large portion of the philanthropy our nation experienced. I am feeling more hopeful with every paragraph I write!
We are proud to note that not only is it people like you who make gifts, but it is institutions like libraries where you are highly likely to direct your gifts. In fact, libraries received repeat gifts at a rate higher than any other sector in 2020, and libraries receive gifts of the highest average size, according to Bloomerang, a research group that tracks nonprofits. We’d like to think that when you make a gift to your library, you know it’s a gift that keeps giving!
You told us as much last year, and we appreciated the feedback. You felt safe when you visited the Library to use our services, and if you weren’t ready to visit us, you were grateful that you could receive our services through our website or with our curbside pickup program. Your appreciation is continually motivating.
Giving USA also noted that giving grew 5.1 percent across the nation. Between the stock market turnaround at the end of 2020, and the remarkably generous giving across the nation, “2020 is the highest year of charitable giving on record,” according to the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.
Everything we do at Sedona Public Library—our services, programs, facilities, collection, etc.—is to help you in some way. We help you research carefully, we help you connect easily, care broadly, understand clearly, speak confidently, relate genuinely, laugh wholeheartedly, and think deeply. Considering all that we have all been through with the pandemic, we think that our work has added a bit to your feeling hopeful.
Thus, "what comes around goes around" seems pretty red rock solid. The Library works to engage and enrich the community, the community is grateful and supports us, which makes patrons feel good, and makes us feel good, which makes us work harder to engage and enrich the community . . . you get the picture. That’s philanthropy. It just keeps telling a hopeful story. Thanks for being part of ours.
Please visit sedonalibrary.org to learn about all that we do to make you feel good, and hopeful, and how you can give online, so you can feel even better. Thanks, and have a great summer!
Sedona Public Library
Column for July 9, 2021
Written by Anne Marie Mackler, Development Director
Library News appears each Friday in the Red Rock News.