Membership has been down for the last few years. Our finances have been iffy. Previous Boards worked very hard to get us back into the black. Unfortunately we did not have a large cushion in our savings account, when I became President in April.
Fundraising has always been a part of our culture; t-shirts; vests, etc. Did I mention T-shirts? When I became MERC-President we still had a couple of boxes of T-shirts from past years. We now have sold them.
Our treasurer came to a board meeting with a possible fundraiser - coffee. Not just any coffee. Coffee with our own private label "The Readers' Blend". We entered into a partnership with City Brew and bought 1/2 pallet of ground coffee - 320 bags. Choice of Bold or Medium blend. We had 30 days to pay for the coffee. City Brew is a great company to work with, and is expanding their partnership venture to other non-profits and schools.
The way it works is that for a specific donation you get a bag of coffee. It sounded like a winner. We had the Montana State Reading Conference coming up. I felt confident that we would sell at least 150 bags and would be in good shape. Reality, we sold 50 bags at the conference. Since then we have sold more. We still have plenty left.
A portion of the money we raise will go towards Hands for Haiti our International Literacy Project. The rest of it will go towards our Young Writer's Conference.
You guessed it, neither my board nor I, have ever planned and put on a Young Writers Conference before. It has been at least 10 plus years since MERC sponsored a conference. We have a tentative date of May 2012 for the conference. Very little capital and only good intentions.
If you are interested in the "Readers Blend" coffee you can order it online by following this link