ALCTS Acts to Address Weakening Corporate Support

Frank D’Andraia, ALCTS Fundraising Committee

Corporate support for ALCTS events from both domestic and foreign sponsors fell in 2002, largely because of retrenchment by firms affected by the economic downturn.

Since U.S. firms are the dominant source of support for ALCTS events, the current economic situation presents challenges for ALCTS planners. In addition, corporate mergers and acquisitions have lowered the pool of available firms, and the number of ALCTS activities for which corporate support has been solicited is on the rise. To address strong demand for support and fewer corporate contributors, the ALCTS Fundraising Committee is acting to strengthen the association’s standing with corporate supporters.

Using focus groups, surveys, and other methods, the committee learned that corporations contributing to ALCTS see a need for the association to consistently and positively recognize donor support at events and during programs. Our competition for support is increasing, as state professional organizations and regional groups have redoubled their fundraising efforts and in many instances have identified the same corporate core ALCTS has traditionally looked to for support. The competitive environment among library organizations has made fundraising all the more problematic. But the committee uncovered additional information that indicates positive support for the recently developed ALCTS Membership Business Plan for 2002–2005.

The committee’s Marketing Survey/Questionnaire and a summary of the survey results are available on the ALCTS Web site. The findings of the survey mirror and reinforce the considerations discussed in the Membership Business Plan, that ALCTS needs to become more visible within ALA and project an innovative image with “sizzle” in this electronic age. Then results of the survey, whose return rate was slightly more than 20 percent, will help the Fundraising Committee shape and refine its strategies in the future. The committee makes regular reports and recommendations to the ALCTS executive board and plans to provide an update on corporate giving patterns during the 2003 Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia.

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