Missions Media Fair—Great for Preparing for the New School Year
A media fair is a wonderful way to get new books for children or for an agency that serves children. It gets many people involved, and provides exactly the books needed.
Before the Event
Make a standup card for each book or other resource that shows the individual price and the quantity desired.
- If your church has a library, ask the librarian to work with you on this project. You may also have in your church a librarian or elementary schoolteacher who will be a helpful resource.
- Select an agency or group of children to receive the books and other media. Discuss the types of resources needed. If the books are for the children themselves, you may want to purchase multiples of one title. If the books are for an agency, you may want more variety. If the books and other resources are for an ethnic group, you may want to select books that depict that ethnicity or books in two languages.
- Select a bookstore that will work with you. Ask for a discount because of the nature of the event and because of the quantity of your purchase. Libraries often have a prearranged discount. Plan to use the church’s tax-exempt number for the purchases. Explain that you want to select books to display for persons to purchase. A few pieces may not be purchased and will need to be returned. Other resources may be selected for multiple copies and may need to be ordered.
- With personnel from the receiving agency, select the resources you would like to purchase. Or if the books are for individual children, work with the bookstore to select books at the appropriate age levels. Read or carefully scan every book to ensure that the message is appropriate and compatible with your purposes. Select media in a variety of prices. If the resources are for an agency, you may want to include more expensive sets of books, CDs, and DVDs. Resources for individuals may include less expensive activity books, for example.
- Select a date and time when many people from your church can view and purchase the media. A Sunday or Wednesday is best, of course. Find a location in the church where media can be displayed and people can browse and look at the selected media, preferably in or near a busy part of the church.
- This time of year suggests several themes for promotion and decorations:
- Promote the fair. Encourage all age groups to get involved. Individuals, classes, or children may collect money.
• Give the Gift of Literacy (a Christmas theme)
• New Books for New Readers in a New Year (a January theme)
• Love, Literacy, and Learning (a Valentine’s theme)
- Determine how you will receive payments—cash only, check (have it made out to the church), or credit card (if someone from the bookstore can attend, you may be able to include this option).
- Coach students to interact with purchasers to tell about who will receive the books, how they are to be purchased, and to help customers make their selections. Consider running a video on a TV monitor about the agency or children being helped. It will draw attention and get more people involved. The video may also be used in pre-event promotion.
- Prepare a designated area for purchases to be made. Provide receipts. Select only one or two adults and older students to handle purchases.
- Don’t serve refreshments. Accidents are bound to happen. Remember to treat the books gently since they will either be given as gifts or possibly returned to the bookstore.
During the Event
- When a book is selected, remove it from the display area. If multiple copies are needed, have students ready to mark on display cards, the number still needed. (For example, you may want to purchase 20 children’s Bible storybooks. This is indicated on the display card next to the book. Someone purchases 5 copies. A student will be asked to mark through the 20 and to write 15 on the display card.)
- Photograph and video the event.
After the Event
- Keep a record of the titles and quantities purchased and use that information when you report to the church about the success of the media fair.
- Follow through quickly with the bookstore to return any media not purchased, order additional books, and complete the payment process.
- Plan an event to deliver the books. Take photographs and/or video the event to show the church.
- Report the success of the event to the church and thank everyone involved.
- Evaluate the event. Determine whether it should be repeated in the future, and, if so, what changes you will make.