Nashville Public Library Foundation

An Integral Partner in Nashville

The Nashville Public Library Foundation (NPLF) supports 21 libraries, two million cataloged items, 265,000 active cardholders, and 3.9 million child and adult visitors annually. With a tradition of strong collections, nationally recognized programs for children and teens, and innovative thinking, the NPLF efforts have nurtured and educated generations.
Throughout the years, NPLF has added resources and programs to meet the evolving needs of the community. As the availability of the public library’s offerings moves beyond bricks and mortar, the adaption of yet-unimagined technologies will be critical in carrying out their mission. NPLF seeks to offer services that reflect the most urgent needs in each neighborhood, programs for children and teens, partnerships with schools and other agencies to share resources, and ever-greater access to the library.

“In 2009, the Nashville Public Library completed a strategic planning process that identified a need for additional fundraising to enhance its impact on literacy and education in the Nashville community,” shared Tari Hughes, NPLF President. “In response, the Library Foundation sought help from Benefactor Group to determine the community’s level of support and passion for the public library.”

Chapter One

Lisa Buckley, Senior Consultant, led the Benefactor Group team in conducting a campaign planning study to evaluate the philanthropic support and leadership for a fundraising campaign. The consulting team helped the leaders of NPLF clarify campaign goals, plan for a campaign, and assess the likelihood they could attract contributions. “I was so impressed with the involvement and passion of the leadership and staff,” said Buckley about her early meetings with NPLF.
Benefactor Group worked closely with NPLF to develop the preliminary case for support and conduct confidential interviews to examine the ability of the foundation to raise funds. Buckley and other team members then met to analyze the findings of the interviews and to form recommendations to include in the final campaign planning study report.
Buckley presented the findings to NPLF and recommended that NPLF proceed immediately with a campaign.

Chapter Two

Nashville Public Library Foundation decided to progress with a $15 million campaign. They asked Benefactor Group to develop a comprehensive campaign plan and provide ongoing consulting throughout the campaign.
“After determining the Nashville community would support its public library system, Benefactor Group guided the Library Foundation through the beginning and more difficult stages of execution,” said Hughes.
Based on the study results and internal strategy meetings with NPLF, the Benefactor Group team developed a campaign plan to guide progress strategically and make the most of every opportunity for a successful campaign.
Throughout the campaign, Benefactor Group continued to provide NPLF with support and coaching on topics including how to: secure major gifts, develop a successful donor engagement strategy, and take the campaign public to garner support from a broader base of donors. “During the campaign, the board was engaged,” Buckley said. “Staff and leadership were very coachable and willing to try out-of-the-box strategies.”

Chapter Three

In the final aspect of the campaign, known as the Public Phase, NPLF set a goal to raise $1 million to reach its $15 million goal. During this phase, Benefactor Group provided best practices for peer-to-peer and crowd-funding techniques to launch the Public Phase and complete a successful campaign.

“We are getting close to the finish line, and for the first time, are inviting the entire Nashville community to support the library with gifts of any size,” shared Hughes. “We look forward to stewarding new donors and inviting the public to be part of the story! Benefactor Group has been with us every step of the way providing guidance, best practices, and fresh insights.”