How to Shoestring an Author Donation Box

Like most authors, I love to support my local arts organizations and sometimes fantasize about writing a big check to endow an alliance, sponsor a scholarship, or underwrite a performance. Unfortunately, I am not at the big-check level of success, but that doesn’t mean I can’t contribute in my own way.

To benefit the Newark Arts Alliance, and its upcoming Bohemian Night fundraiser, I offered to put together a box of books by Delaware authors. It’s an easy way to help the area arts scene and to promote work by writers living and working in the state.

How complicated is it to put together a box of books for donation? Not complicated at all!

First, you buy an attractive box:

NAA box, closed

Second, you contact writers who have benefited from the work of the arts group. You remind them of all the good works and ask for a donated book–autographed, if possible–to support the group and its plans for the future.

I used email (bcc!) to reach out to my author contacts. After the initial go via email, I made a follow-up announcement on Facebook in case I’d missed anyone. I kept all communication private. Not all authors can contribute or respond to every request, and no one likes a guilt trip.

Next step: Once the books start rolling in, store in the box. If you are like me, you cannot simply stack books in a box. I employed the doily method of prettying up the book box.


NAA box scarf

When all of the books are gathered, add a few extra goodies, such as blank journals, a collection of vintage area postcards, some note cards created by area artists.

Finally, arrange in an irresistible display for the silent auction goers.


NAA box open

A few late books may drop into the box before Saturday, but this is the quick and painless result of putting together a donation that will help a group dedicated to helping area artists. Win-win!

Thanks to the many Delaware authors who contributed to the author box!

7 thoughts on “How to Shoestring an Author Donation Box

  1. My niece Holly is serving in Afghanistan. LARA members (The L.A. chapter of RWA) donated over a hundred books which I shipped in 4, unattractive boxes overseas. The girls get to keep what they want and the rest will end up in the rec center on the base for others to read and enjoy. Donating books is a good thing!



  2. Since I have little manual dexterity, I never have anything to donate for silent auctions. This is a great idea. The doily is especially nice–beats the stuffins out of tissue paper.


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