About The Nashville Public Library Foundation
The Nashville Public Library has inspired reading and supported learning in and around “Music City” for decades. With its collection of more than two million items, and a calendar filled with engaging programs, the library captivates an audience of over 350,000 library card owners each year. Residents frequent its 21 branches nearly four million times per year.
The Nashville Public Library Foundation (NPLF), the library’s fundraising arm, has helped to make these accomplishments possible by mobilizing philanthropy to fuel the important work of the library.
The Nashville Public Library Foundation wanted to elevate its impact. Leaders of the organization desired a roadmap that would capitalize on exciting opportunities (e.g., a menu of new, upcoming projects with the potential to inspire donors) and minimize challenges (e.g., a changing fundraising landscape, a staffing model in need of renewal). The foundation selected Benefactor Group to develop the plan.
Nashville Public Library Foundation President Shawn Bakker reflected on the factors that contributed to the plan’s success. Ultimately, the plan was driven by “three p’s”—partnership, perspective, and persistence.
Benefactor Group developed major-, middle-, and broad-based giving strategies firmly rooted in a deep understanding of the Foundation’s goals and leverage its strengths. After concluding the project, Foundation staff were comforted by the fact that they could reach out with questions and valued Benefactor Group’s continued guidance.
“Benefactor Group really understood us.”
Benefactor Group helped the board understand and embrace the change, such as a new staffing model—restructured to ensure that NPLF’s major individual and institutional donors were given the focus they deserved.
“Benefactor Group demonstrated how the proposed model was informed by data-driven insights…it’s helpful for a major change like that to come from an outside entity with a proven method.”
Benefactor Group helped turn what could have been an overwhelming task into a manageable plan by helping NPLF determine priorities, set deadlines, and assign owners. Looking forward, Bakker shared her excitement for the plan’s potential.
“We have a roadmap! As with most change, it can get a little messy. When you clean your house, you have to pull everything out before you put it all back. Benefactor Group’s work gave us the guidance we needed to put it all back in the right place.”