Category Archives: FAQs

Getting a local or school project started for recycling magazines to new readers

Thank you Tiffany for helping organize this Getting Started article for our local teams. Join us to start recycling magazines in your town for new readers nationwide.  Here’s another article for those collecting magazines at home to donate.

The Magazine Recycling Process

Hello and welcome to MagazineLiteracy.org where magazines are our specialty and our mission is to change the world—one magazine at a time!  A brief overview of what we do:  We collect and donate new and gently used magazines to the various programs we work with to share the magazines we love and to support literacy:  domestic violence and homeless shelters; foster care, youth mentoring centers, etc.  In this article, you will read just what we expect from you to help us spread the joy of reading with thousands of families all around the world!

We say “…The process of recycling is easy as 1, 2 3!…” and we really do mean that!  The first step is to start collecting magazines.  This can happen at the local grocery or book store, at your school, club or business, or even in your own home or apartment building.

 The magazines we share with new readers should be in good or very good condition – clean, with no torn or cut covers or pages.

An important step is to remove any mailing labels, to protect personal information and to allow a more dignified experience for the new magazine owner.  Carefully remove paper labels and black out ink labels with a permanent black marker.  Then cover the spot with one of our “gift” labels.   Contact us to get some.   Simply place the “gift” label over the blacked out information or where the paper label once was.  Repeat this with every magazine.

Next, sort your magazines by age group and topic.  Once your bundle is ready, we’ll help get it posted where literacy programs can find it and request it.  Be in touch for more information about this step.

That’s it!  You have just helped a child, their family, or a few dozen children and their families experience the joy of reading!  What a wonderful feeling that is…I hope you found this article informative and if you have any problems or comments, don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Tiffany

Stakeholder financial support for operations allows us to dedicate 100% of public donations to literacy

We strive to raise dedicated funds for operations from private donors and magazine industry champions, so we can reach our objective to spend 100% of the consumer and local business funds we raise on direct literacy programs and services – getting new and recycled magazines into the hands, homes, and hearts of the children and families we serve.

Dedicating 100% of public donations directly to address our literacy programs is an audacious goal and bold statement.  It’s only possible with generous corporate, magazine industry, and stakeholder support.

The Magazine Publishers Family Literacy Project (MagazineLiteracy.org) is a 501(c)3 charity.  We rely on financial support from any and every magazine industry stakeholder throughout the supply chain – editors, publishers, circulation pros, printers, distributors, fulfillment shops, ad agencies, and other champions to pay our administrative and operational expenses.

We know that your financial support is precious and greatly appreciate every bit.  We strive to use those dollars in a responsible, effective, and efficient manner.  Every organization has administrative and operating costs to sustain their missions, and we are no different.  We have to “keep the lights on” to conceive, plan, execute, and manage our literacy projects and to grow to our full potential to meet our responsibility against enormous literacy challenges.

With private, corporate,  and magazine industry stakeholder donations covering our operating expenses, we can achieve our goal of dedicating 100% of public donations to direct literacy programs and services, inspiring even more giving by the consumers and local businesses who support our community programs.

To stretch those operating dollars far, we run our operations extremely lean and achieve a very high rate of return on the funds invested in our operations.  Here’s how:

  • We leverage advanced technology, open source software, cloud-based services, crowdsourcing, and strong partnerships with technology and media powerhouses, such as Google Apps, Salesforce.com, Automattic, the inventors of WordPress, Crowdspring for pro bono graphic design, Texterity, Auryn Creative for web design, Publish2Profit,  Texterity, and many others for communications, volunteer support, community organizing and collaboration tools, and social media.
  • We actively develop and train a network of thousands of volunteers in hundreds of communities and campuses who deliver all of our essential activities from grassroots outreach to magazine collection and delivery logistics to public relations and fundraising.
  • We manage our project online from virtual locations, and utilize cost-effective shared cooperative “coworking” office space, as well as partnerships with other agencies for handling logistics.
  • We collect and process financial donations online in a partnership with Network for Good – a very effective and efficient method for engaging the consumers and businesses who support our literacy programs and operations.  Network for Good is a turnkey solution with tremendous experience in the charitable market and excellent, reliable fundraising tools and customer service.  Most important, their 3% transaction costs are at or below any alternative for credit card processing.

Why we use Network for Good to process our online donations

Most importantly, Network for Good’s 3% transaction costs are at or below all alternatives for credit card processing and they provide an option for our donors to cover the transaction cost, leaving us with 100% of their donation with no fees.

We know that your financial support is precious and greatly appreciate every bit of it.  We strive to use those dollars in a responsible, effective, and efficient manner.  We run our operations very lean and leverage technology, volunteer support, community organizing, and strong partnerships with magazine industry stakeholders to stretch those dollars as far as we can to serve the literacy needs of at-risk children and families and community literacy programs.

Collecting financial donations online is a very effective and efficient method for engaging the consumers and businesses who support our literacy programs and operations.  We strive to raise dedicated funds for operations from private donors and magazine industry champions, so we can reach our objective to spend 100% of the consumer and local business funds we raise on direct literacy programs and services – getting new and recycled magazines into the hands, homes, and hearts of the children and families we serve.

Network for Good

We have selected Network for Good to process our online donations for some very important and good reasons:

 

  • Most importantly, Network for Good’s 3% transaction costs are at or below all alternatives for credit card processing and they provide an option for our donors to cover the transaction cost, leaving us with 100% of their donation with no fees.
  • Their solution is turnkey and comprehensive, allowing us to raise online funds from anyone, anywhere, anytime.
  • They have an enormousness wealth of experience serving the fundraising needs of non-profit, charitable organizations, so we can rely on them for reliable fundraising tools, services, and advice, while focusing all our bandwidth on our literacy mission.
  • Their robust suite of online fundraising tools are well-tested and maintained with excellent and expedited customer support.

FAQ – can you provide more details about volunteering?

Whole Foods Magazine Drive

Whole Foods Mag Drive

Some of the best blog posts originate from your inquires. Today, we were asked for more details about our volunteer needs.  As you will see, there are endless ways to be involved in our literacy work in your community, school, and even your home. Volunteers are our lifeblood and our literacy champions.

The easiest and most important way to help is to follow us on twitter and facebook.  Ask your friends and family to follow us too.

Organize a local team: We are an all-volunteer organization with many ways to be involved, depending on your availability and interests. We need community and school leaders and teams to be successful. We would very much like to set up sustainable magazine recycling operations in communities and schools – where once or twice a month, collected or donated magazines are delivered to local shelters and literacy programs. That involves setting up a lasting team to organize and keep the effort going. The team may grow and shrink and the members of the team might change, but with good leadership and guidance, the torch can be passed from year to year to keep the local project going strong.

Harvest magazines at Whole Foods: We are making a concerted effort to collect magazines at every Whole Foods store in the U.S. and other locations for delivery to new readers via nearby literacy programs. Whole Foods has been a great partner in this effort.  Each store has to be organized individually, and requires a reliable, sustained effort to succeed.

Sponsor magazines for homeless peers: Also, there is a very serious problem in every community relating to homeless young people and students. Every school district has a program that focuses on homeless children. We’d like to organize teams in schools to “adopt” a group of peers – perhaps in their own or another school district anywhere in the U.S. and sponsor new magazine subscriptions for those readers – the idea is to share the magazines we love to read ourselves and the wonderful experience we enjoy reading them with others who do not have ready access to them.

A Mag Drive to feed families hungry to read: Another project – which is more of a one-time effort or could happen periodically, is to organize a magazine drive at a supermarket or book store – that’s like a food drive, but you’d collect magazines for a local domestic violence or homeless shelter or for distribution to families with groceries they receive from a food pantry.  A food drive can be combined with the magazine drive to feed hungry bodies and minds and to easily put reading materials into homes that have few.

Ship us your magazines: Another great way to be involved at home or in school is to collect your magazines at in a medium-sized USPS box or to organize an event with your friends and ask them to bring their magazines to ship. When the boxes are full, they can be shipped for only about $11 to our magazine distribution center.  Help us to spread the word about doing this to as many people as possible.

Help us find and serve local literacy agents: With the local collection and delivery projects – an important first step is finding agencies that would like to receive the magazines.

Go viral: With all these ideas, we love to gather photos and stories to post to our blog, twitter, and facebook page.

Hope this helps stir your imagination.

Magazine Recycling Lessons Learned

From time to time, I like to share responses I’ve sent to questions in emails, so our stakeholders benefit from the lessons we learn everyday.

Today I was asked, “Where did our Magazine Harvest program originate? Is it fairly new?”

Well, to make a long story long…

The idea for Magazine Harvest, our magazine recycling program, originally came to me back in 1994… Since 1985, I had been conducting food drives… standing in front of supermarkets to collect groceries for food pantries with empty shelves. I could stand in front of a store and collect 2,000 pounds of groceries in a single day. My kids were growing up and getting their magazines… I realized that the hungry families we were feeding could not afford magazines and most did not have many reading materials at home.

I wanted to change that.

For a few years, I organized magazine sponsorships between donors and schools, so I set out to grow that success to other communities, on a national, then global basis. As the internet developed, I knew I could leverage technology to accelerate our growth. Fast forward to 2004, I founded MagazineLiteracy.org. A couple of years ago, around Earth Day, it occurred to me that we could collect gently used magazines the same way food drives are organized. With research, I learned that there had been a few wonderful efforts in Seattle, North Carolina, and Hawaii, but no national or global effort. So with the help of many passionate volunteers, generous donors, and appreciative literacy agents, we’ve been collecting magazines ever since.

We have learned some important lessons since our start, and are working to improve our reach and our operations every day:

  1. moving magazines around is hard work that requires help from lots of caring, passionate people
  2. before collecting magazines, it’s important to know where you will be bringing them
  3. it’s important for agencies and new readers to receive good quality magazines.

Join us to change the world – one magazine at a time!

A Lucky day for magazine literacy

Thank you Conde Nast for shipping us 11 boxes of Lucky magazine, which will be recycled to new readers in homeless and domestic violence shelters, and in bags of groceries delivered to families by food pantries.

The question is often raised whether a homeless, or hungry, or battered person can really appreciate or enjoy a lifestyle magazine like Lucky, filled with page after page of glorious, though seemingly irrelevant or unattainable trinkets. My reaction? Though I may never pilot a futuristic jet into space, I love to read about them blazing through the pages of Popular Science magazine. I may never own a 75 foot yacht, but my smile widens at the sight of a magazine cover filled with a classic sailing vessel bent windward. Are these things any more relevant or attainable to me outside my pure joy discovering them in magazines bought from the newsstand or that arrive in my mailbox? (In the spirit of full disclosure, and much to my family’s dismay, I did purchase my own wooden sinkhole at auction on ebay – a classic 25 foot folkboat – $80 to own it… $800 to move it to my backyard for restoration).

For ourselves, we may wish to see things, not as they are today, but as they can be tomorrow. No matter our current station in life, we can hope and dream, and set goals, or just simply enjoy the world around us without expectation – whether a raindrop sliding down a window pane, a pretty weed flowering in a sidewalk crack, or a wonderful magazine. These are all gifts.

It is not necessarily so much in their colorful, material glamor that magazines of any type create value for new readers. But, in in the access; the availability; the reach; and the freedom to read about those things that bring knowledge, pleasure and joy. In this, we are created equal.