19 February 2021
Champagne glasses

The staff at the Princeton Public Library held a New Year’s Eve Non-event fundraiser this past December. We thought it would be an apropos way to bring a laugh to the community and say goodbye to 2020.

A non-event stresses the benefit of staying home over the inconveniences and expenses of attending traditional formal events. The invitations highlighted such things as not having to worry about hiring a babysitter, buying a new dress or finding parking, suggesting that the contributor instead make a donation in the amount of one or more those extra "night-out" expenses. This year we were able to add the benefits of not having to suffer an evening with sticky hand sanitizer, wearing a mask, or struggling to communicate across social distance boundaries.

We sent a small mailing of about 200 of our most reliable contributors. The mailing contained the invitation, an RSVP card and self-addressed stamped envelope. Fliers for the event were placed in patron pick-up bags in the library lobby. In addition, we ran a save the date and a non-event reminder in the local newspaper. The only cost to hold this fundraiser was the printing, postage and advertising.

Prior to New Year’s Eve, we decorated the meeting room with existing props, including lifesized cutout figures of famous people and characters. We recorded the onset, the middle and the end of the fictional fundraiser with each clip getting progressively rowdy. Those clips were then scheduled to be shown at pre-determined times during New Year’s Eve on the library’s Facebook page. We also featured the videos prominently on our web site home page.

We had a blast doing it and received over 30 RSVPs back, most between the suggested $25 and $100. We also received a lot of positive feedback about how much people enjoyed the humor behind the effort. After the roller coaster year of 2020, people welcomed the opportunity to put it behind them and start the new year off with a chuckle.

Julie Wayland, Director Princeton Public Library