Bazillion Book Drive Big Event Planning

Big Event Overview

Each District is encouraged to have a central location and time for congregations to bring their collected new books together and to celebrate, sort and prepare the new books for distribution to book-receiving agencies. 

The day will allow as many people as possible to have a “hands on” mission experience connected to the Bazillion Book Drive. There should be activities (and jobs) for people of all ages! Your District Team should carefully plan and have lead volunteers at the ready to make sure the day goes smoothly. 

Some Districts may choose to have several Big Events – led by individual or groups of churches - so they can be geographically closer to churches and encourage more participation. 

 

Set Goals

Your District Team should determine your goals in advance. Some questions to consider are:

  • How many attendees do we hope to have? 
  • What exactly do we want to accomplish?
    • Just get all the donated books in one location and celebrate our District’s generosity? (We’ll let smaller groups of volunteers to sort and deliver in the days following the event.)
    • Sort the books by age level and other criteria to be prepped for distribution to agencies? (Later that week other volunteers can make the deliveries.)
    • Collect, Celebrate, Sort and end the day by actually delivering all the new books to the agencies?
  • Will we reach out to the community beyond our congregation and invite them to be part of the big day?
  • Do we make a financial collection part of the day’s events to enable us to purchase even more new children’s books following our Big Event?
  • During the Big Event, do we want to feature specific projects or agencies as moments of celebration and testimony?

Make sure you have leaders from your District Bazillion Book Team and trained volunteers in place to oversee the work needed to meet each of your goals!

 

Choose the Date

Each District should hold their Bazillion Book Big Event prior to Annual Conference 2016. The suggested time to hold your Big Event is in April or early May.

  • What is a date and time when we can get the most participation from local churches?
  • Will we be up against a popular event in the area?
  • What time frame best fits our District’s context – a weekend event? a multiday come and go event? multiple events in different locations at the same time?

 

Choose the venue for your event.

  • Where should we hold our big event?
    • There will need to be enough space to accommodate all the people and books as well as room to sort and prep the books for delivery. We also need space for fun and fellowship.
    • If we will not end the day by delivering books, we need a place to conveniently store them until they will be delivered in the days following our Big Event. 
    • Venues to consider include a local church, one of the agencies who will receive books, a public library, a community center or other public space.

 

Choose the time frame for the day.

  • How many hours will it take to accomplish our goals?
  • Do we invite all the volunteers for the entire time frame or do we set up shifts for specific jobs?
  • What is our plan for storing undelivered books?
  • What is our plan to follow up in the days following our Big Event to ensure all the books are delivered so they can make a difference in the lives of under-resourced children?

 

Think through Logistics

  • How are we going to involve all our District’s local churches?
  • How can we best involve all ages – from toddler to senior?
  • How can we coordinate with the book-receiving agencies in our area? 
    • Are they are part of the Big Event?
    • Do we deliver books in the days following the event?
    • Does each agency connect with an individual or small group of congregations?
  • Are there specific groups we should reach out to and ask them to take on specific book sorting and delivering related tasks?
  • If we collect more books than we will distribute, how can we get them to a nearby District for them to distribute? For help, contact Lori Feist:Lori Feist—lfeist@umcna.org or 205-910-2140
     

?Make the Big Event Big Fun!

  • Will we serve food or snacks?
    • Who will provide the food?
    • Is there a possible donor?
    • Is there a group who would love for this to be their contribution to the day?
  • Will there be music?
    • Is there a live band or performer who will come play for free?
    • Should we feature multiple acts for variety?
  • Will there be activities for children?
    • Can we offer games, story time, bouncy houses? Who will lead them?
    • What are some jobs we can let our children do to help with the book collection and sorting?
    • Are there jobs parents and children can do together?
    • How will we follow Safe Sanctuary procedures during this event?
  • How else can we add fun? Here are some ideas…
    • Invite everyone to dress as their favorite children’s book character
    • Invite a Children’s author to speak
    • Invite a storyteller to entertain as books are sorted
    • Invite children or youth to participate in an essay contest about why they like to read
    • Stop the work each hour for a reading of a favorite children’s book by a beloved leader in our District
    • Set up rocking chairs for people to sit in during breaks and encourage them to read children’s books aloud
    • Let teams and/or individuals vie for prizes in a literary-themed trivia game 
    • Use a children’s book to create a theme, like an Alice in Wonderland tea party, or serve Green Eggs and Ham
    • Ask local businesses to donate prizes for any of the contest we hold.
       

Keep the focus on the mission

  • How can we feature the agencies receiving the books?
  • How can we help local congregations form on-going missional relationships with an agency in their neighborhood? How can our Big Event be an invitation to that possibility?
  • Who can best express words of gratitude to the volunteers and local churches?
  • How can we make connections with non-church people who show up because they are excited about the project?
     

Create Excitement

  • Encourage local congregations to talk about the Big Event in church each week leading up to the event. 
  • Encourage church members to spread the word among their friends and community.
  • Use social media to create awareness. See pages 10-11 or visit www.bazillionbookdrive.com.
  • Use customizable templates at www.bazillionbookdrive.com to create flyers and posters. Use the Print-on-Demand option to print what you create. 
  • Contact local media outlets and invite them to the event, and ask them to do a feature story on the Bazillion Book Drive in advance of the Big Event. Conference Director of Communication Danette Clifton can guide you through this process: Danette Clifton— dclifton@umcna.org or 205-226-7973

 

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