Thank you for being a literacy champion in your community. The information below explains what is involved to organize local literacy operation. Here is a list of three tasks that we need our literacy teams to be really good at:
1. Assess local literacy needs and register literacy programs to receive magazines and comics
2. Collect, sort, and bundle recycled magazines and comics for delivery to literacy programs
3. Raise funds – 100% gets new and recycled magazines and comics to at-risk readers via literacy programs
Let us know if you can do one, two, or all three of these tasks. Even one person like you can get started with them, but invite others to help you too.
There is some information and links below to get started and we can help with some follow-up guidance, as needed. It’s a lot of information, but we want you to have a full idea of what’s involved. Don’t hesitate to email us if you have questions about any part of it. We are also setting up collaboration tools online where our team members can share information and ideas.
1. Assessing Local Literacy Needs
Our project is entirely driven by the needs of literacy programs. Statistics show that, in the U.S. alone, over 12 million children in poverty have no books at home. Each night 35,000+ women, many who are moms with children, seek the safety of a domestic abuse shelter. There are over 1 million homeless students and near 400,000 children and teens in foster care. This is basically a task to find and register the programs in your community that would like to receive new and recycled magazines and comics to meet their literacy needs. We know that magazines and comics are special and powerful literacy resources, but we defer to the expertise of local agencies to define their needs. So they can focus on their own missions, we want to support literacy agencies without creating additional burdens for them, so we try to keep our processes simple and streamlined.
Our local literacy ambassadors conduct outreach to identify, engage, and monitor agencies and organizations in their area that would like to receive new and recycled magazines and comics for their literacy needs. The most important step is to get the agencies registered with MagazineLiteracy.org, so we know their contact information, their magazine delivery address, and what magazines they would like to receive. We also like to get feedback from literacy agencies at least twice a year.
Use this link to register literacy programs in your community. You can collect and enter the information yourself or you can share the link with the literacy programs in your area: Literacy Agency Registration
We only provide magazines and comics via agencies or organizations, rather than to individuals. Literacy needs can easily outstrip our supply of magazines and comics, funding, and volunteer time, but, want to support any community literacy initiatives that provide reading materials to at-risk children and families. The following are the priority focus areas where there are significant unmet needs and where we can have the greatest positive impact: Literacy Focus Areas
2. Getting new and recycled magazines to literacy programs
Recycled magazines and comics – Read, Recycle, Reuse: The second, very valuable source are those magazines and comics recycled from individuals, groups, schools, and businesses. Local teams collect, sort, and bundle the magazines and comics for delivery. There are many ways to collect magazines and comics, including:
- collection bins in convenient public locations that people frequent, such as apartment lobbies, grocery stores, coffee shops, offices, schools, churches, and libraries
- asking stores and local suppliers to donate their surplus magazines and comics each month
- conducting magazine newsstand drives at supermarkets and bookstores, which are like food drives
- collections organized by community groups
Our goal is to get every person, family, school, group, and local business involved in recycling their gently read magazines and comics to new readers. We want every home and business to have a collection box near their other recycling containers to make recycling their magazines and comics to new readers effortless and convenient.
Creating Literacy Bundles
We only want to provide gently read magazines and comics that are in good or very good condition, so new readers can have an enjoyable, dignified experience receiving and reading them. Very good condition is like new. Good condition means no torn, cut, or crumpled covers or pages; no damage from water or moisture, or yellowing or mustiness.
Some magazines have paper or ink mailing labels, which are OK to collect, but need to be carefully removed or blacked-out with a permanent marker to protect the privacy of the original owner. For those, we like to put on an opaque white mailing label or a MagazineLiteracy.org “gift” label to cover any glue residue or black ink, again, to provide the new reader with a nice, clean, good quality magazine.
Here are step-by-step instructions for creating magazine bundles.
3. Raising Funds to Get Magazinesand Comics to Kids and Families
Whether we are providing new or recycled magazines and comics to literacy programs, and whether near or far, there are costs. We can only serve literacy needs to the extent that we have magazines and comics, volunteers, and funds to do so. We keep a promise that 100% of funds raised from individual consumers, and from local groups and business are used directly to get magazines to at-risk children and families via literacy programs. Zero dollars are spent on the administrative or operating expenses of our organization.
We provide the new and recycled magazines and comics at no expense to literacy programs. While we strive to keep all our expenses as low as possible, and get lots of support to do so, some of the costs are the magazines and comics themselves, labels, packaging, and shipping. It costs between about $15 and $25 to provide magazines and comics to one or more readers. It’s a modest sum and the return on that investment for the new readers, their families, and for society is enormous.
Without funds, our supply chain comes to a halt. We need the individuals and the teams that support our local literacy work to also help with ideas, plans, and events to raise these funds. We need your help raising funds.
We hope this information is helpful. We definitely want to spotlight your literacy work, so send stories and photos early and often. Don’t hesitate to be in touch if you have questions or ideas.