After five years of hosting their Dickens of a Dinner Dance, Penn Wynne Library board members and event attendees decided it was time for a change. The dinner dance had been slightly exhausting because of the extensive nature in planning the event so a change was welcomed.
The Welcome Summer Wine Party was classy, yet casual. Tickets were only $30, which was less then the Dinner Dance. One of the library board members who works in real estate arranged to have the event at a model home in the posh Haverford Reserve development. Guests enjoyed live jazz, light hors d'oeuvres, and wine. A small buffet was set up in the kitchen so it felt more like a family party than a fundraiser. Guests mingled throughout the luxuriously decorated home. The model unit made for great conversation as people took a quick peek throughout the mini-mansion and maybe got a few new decorating ideas. Other guests decided to take advantage of the summer-like weather and had a glass of wine on the deck, which overlooks the development.
The lower level of the home (because it definitely can't be called a basement) held another wine bar, exercise room, hot sauna and more importantly the silent auction.
The silent auction had a nice variety of donated items which all seemed to match the same classy level as the evening. Board Member Don Richardson was hoping for a big turnout in general, but knew a bigger group of guests would increase the bidding for the items—meaning more money for the library.
Guests could bid on decorative crystal, designer window accents from In The Fringe, a handmade glass mosaic cheese plate by Judy Katz, and even free pet walking. There were also many gift certificates, from Target, Walmart, Whole Foods and the Ritz Carlton. Two big items included a membership to the National Constitution Center and Phillies tickets (with parking, of course).
Richardson said the community was eager to donate items for the auction. Board members didn't even have to approach some. In fact, several community members just saw the sign in the library advertising the event and wanted to donate.
A day prior to the wine party, Richardson was pretty confident with the amount of pre-sales, but already felt the event was something they would seriously consider doing again. Fundraising is always daunting and difficult, but the overhead for the wine party was significantly less then the dinner dances.
Fundraising is also a key element to the survival of the Penn Wynne Library because it is one of only two in the Lower Merion Library System that are owned by their boards. This library board members are responsible for the financial and capital costs of the library and the property. In a few years, the library will need new roof and a new HVAC system, which will be costly. Another surprisingly large cost? The books themselves.
"A sizable portion of that cost [of books] is paid for by each library," explained Richardson. "Our budget for books over the last several years, including this year, is $42,000, and that is half of what we have to raise each year just to keep the library operating at the same level it is operating now."
The other major fundraiser the board will hold will be in the fall. For the 11 years it has been sponsoring a 5K run on the first Saturday in October, with a large spaghetti dinner the night before. The library also asks for donations through mailings and newsletters.
Missed the event ? You can still donate to the Penn Wynne Library.