Campaign Results

Library Giving Day 2020 Campaign Results

Through the hard work and vision of the Seattle Public Library Foundation and Carl Bloom Associates, what started as an idea has turned into an exciting and successful day of nationwide library support. But the real success is due to the many library organizations across North America that responded to the opportunity, took advantage of the positive momentum and launched their own #LibraryGivingDay campaigns and celebrations, even in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

The results have been compiled and are listed below.


The 2020 Library Giving Day was celebrated, April 23, 2020, weeks after the wide-scale impact of the pandemic was felt around the world.

Our own Library Giving Day promotions to library organizations were temporarily disrupted as we worked to find the proper messaging and tact to take going forward.

We are overwhelmed by the resiliency of public libraries around North America, many who also struggled with how best to move forward with their own Library Giving Day fundraising initiatives.

Since the inception of the first Library Giving Day in 2019, 298 library organizations from 41 US States and 4 Canadian Provinces have joined the #LibraryGivingDay movement.

Of those that joined, 93 submitted 2020 campaign results and 85 reported positive fundraising revenue.

Unsurprisingly, the main reason for lack of revenue was organizations cancelling fundraising campaigns due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

What was the total dollar amount raised?

Of the 85 organizations that reported fundraising revenue, the total projected fundraising revenue goal was $800,390.

The actual amount raised was $1,108,512 – 38.5% higher than projected.

How did 2020 compare to 2019?

Overall fundraising revenue year-over-year increased from $741,456 in 2019 to $1,108,512 in 2020 – a 49.5% increase.

How many people donated?

Total number of donations increased from 5,002 in 2019 to 9,516 in 2020 – an 90.2% increase. Average gift for 2020 was $117.

How did organizations celebrate 2020 Library Giving Day?

Organizations reported conducting multifaceted fundraising campaigns, with a variety of fundraising initiatives and activities. The COVID-19 global pandemic had an enormous impact on organizations’ ability to utilize the actual libraries to promote Library Giving Day, hence the decrease in library display usage of 46 in 2019 to only 5 in 2020.

This is a breakdown of the different channels, methods and marketing materials organizations used to promote 2020 Library Giving Day:

Social Media Platforms Utilized

Facebook topped the list of social media platforms used by 81 organizations that reported revenue. Twitter (37) and Instagram (42) had similar usage. Instagram usage increased in 2020 compared to 33 organizations using it in 2019.

What impact did more planning time have on campaign success?

Of the organizations that submitted their fundraising revenue results, as in 2019, only a handful were able to start planning their campaigns well in advance. The COVID-19 global pandemic likely played a role in some organizations ability to plan and mobilize earlier in the year.

There’s a direct connection between how much time was put into Library Giving Day campaign preparation and the amount of money raised.

The average amount of dollars raised in comparison to the amount of time spent on campaign preparation indicates that more time yields greater results.

Note: Seattle Public Library Foundation (SPLF) was one of five organizations that got started early — 8–10 weeks — planning their campaign, which brought in a significant fundraising revenue. If we removed their revenue from the total for that category, the average fundraising revenue for that category would still be $30,600 across the remaining four organizations.

How many organizations were able to secure a matching grant?

Most organizations were not able to secure a matching grant, most likely due to lack of time or fear and concern brought on by COVID-19. Of those who were able to secure a matching grant (20), 16 or 80% achieved or surpassed the match goal. Of the 93 total organizations who responded to requests for 2020 Library Giving Day results, 73 or 78.5% do not have a matching grant.

Thank you to all the organizations who participated in the 2020 Library Giving Day!

Given the unprecedented circumstances, disruptions and overall unknown as a result to COVID-19, the 2020 Library Giving Day initiative and the day of celebration was a huge success.

For 2021, plan ahead, work on obtaining a matching grant, build upon what worked in previous years, consider additional fundraising channels, share ideas and success stories and reach out to other organizations for inspiration. Collectively let’s continue to make a difference for public libraries everywhere!

Library Giving Day logo

Together, we can make it a success!