The following infographic recently appeared in our email inbox from CompareCards.com.Since many of the financial assistance applicants we hear from have some level of credit card debt, we thought we would pass it along. Even if you have “just a little” credit card debt, paying it down is a good idea and can prevent a bigger problem in the future.
Financial assistance from Binc is designed to be a one-time, short-term boost to get a bookseller through an immediate crisis. Rather than providing on-going, long-term financial support, Binc financial assistance is meant to get the bookseller onto a firm footing and allow them to address the bigger problems facing their household. Having that as the goal, we realize that the underlying problem which causes a hardship is often larger than our assistance can cure. For that reason, Binc’s help doesn’t stop when our check is mailed. When a bookseller comes to Binc for assistance our immediate concern is to help to get the household stabilized. Only after a bookseller and their family is out from under the immediate danger of losing their home or having the utilities shut off, are they able to focus on longer term changes that need to take place within the household. Getting each applicant back to a place of financial equilibrium is our goal for each individual case.
We are excited to be named a Top-Rated 2014Nonprofit, and are proud of our accomplishments this year. The Foundation is helping an ever increasing number of booksellers through some very tough personal hardships. The recent addition of homelessness prevention and funeral expenses to the financial assistance program are helping Binc reach more booksellers in a real and meaningful way.
Over 300 book industry employees took our recent Marketing Survey and shared thoughts, ideas and wishes with Binc. This included a mix of bookstore owners, managers and employees, publishers and publishing company employees, freelancers, librarians, bloggers and others in the industry. Respondents chimed in with suggestions for new programs, ideas for improving communication, questions about donating to Binc, possible partnerships, additional information the Foundation could supply, and more. Once the results were analyzed, three main points stood out.
While the Book Industry Charitable (Binc) Foundation has made great strides in getting our message out to the book world, there is still much to be done to improve awareness across the industry. If your store would like to help, please post this “badge” on your website and link it to Binc.
Booksellers overwhelmingly want Binc to provide relevant programs to booksellers, by continuing what is already in place and adding new programs. Watch our website, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages for the announcement of upcoming additions to our current program roster.
The third big take-away was to provide easy ways for booksellers to donate and get involved, to help continue the work being done by the Foundation. We have posted on our website, the simple procedure for setting up automatic payroll deductions at your store.
Booksellers are in agreement that the current financial assistance program offered by Binc is a necessary safety net for booksellers. A number of interesting suggestions for expanding assistance were presented and Binc spend the next few months reviewing and researching these. The present scholarship program (offering both higher education and professional scholarships) was also seen as having great value. Binc recently announced the award winners for the 2014-15 academic year.
The respondents wondered if Binc could partner with other vendors for things like insurance, discounts, and services. Some are not compatible with our 501(c)3 status, but others hold promise. We will take a look at all of the suggestions and weigh the possibilities.
In an effort to reach a greater number of booksellers struggling with financial difficulties, the Binc Foundation has expanded their Financial Assistance Program to include two new categories. Now, booksellers in need of help to stave off eviction or prevent homelessness may be considered for a financial assistance grant. In addition, a bookseller struggling with the funeral expenses for an immediate family member, may also apply to the Foundation for a grant. In a recent survey booksellers provided input as to what types of assistance would be helpful and these two categories ranked high. With these two new qualifying events, Binc hopes to make a meaningful difference in the lives of an ever increasing number of bookstore employees.
The Binc Foundation knows that the staff of a bookstore often feels much like a family. Having a colleague struggle with a financial hardship is made more difficult when there seems to be no way to help. The Binc Foundation understands this, and is introducing a new Matching Grant Pilot Program. Now there is a way for booksellers to harness the goodwill of the book people in their community to assist a local bookstore employee in need. Your store can raise funds (by any method they choose) and the Foundation will match those donations dollar-for-dollar up to a maximum of $2,000.
As summer storm season heats up, Binc would like to remind you of some basic steps to take. Whether your community is prone to hurricanes, floods, tornadoes or fires some planning will go a long way to being prepared. The time to think about a potential natural disaster is not when they are imminent, but beforehand, when there is still time to work out a plan.The Red Cross’ Emergency Preparedness Playbook is a great place to start when getting ready for anything Mother Nature may throw at you. Use this Red Cross site to prepare your home plan as well. The Institute for Business & Home Safety also puts out a thorough planning booklet. These are valuable tools to use when getting your disaster plan in place.
One of the things we were struck by in the results from our recent marketing survey was how many booksellers want to donate to Binc. Again and again, booksellers asked to have a method for easy, no-fuss monthly donations, with a preference for paycheck deductions. The Foundation is aware from our beginnings as the Borders Group Foundation that this method is both easy for the donor and successful for the Foundation. For the first 15 years the Foundation received an average of $2.17 per paycheck from bookstore employees across the country. All those small amounts added together formed a significant amount for financial assistance and scholarships. We know from experience that the strength of many, giving a little makes for a very strong Foundation.
In August of 2012, independent bookseller Clarey Rudd required emergency surgery after complications from cancer caused his throat to close to the size of a small wire. Thankfully, Clarey made a full recovery, but was inundated by over $100,000 of medical bills. This video tells how the Binc Foundation helped Clarey and his family by eliminating 100% of his medical debt and ensuring the future of his bookstores.
The Book Industry Charitable Foundation is proud to have been able to provide a safety net for Clarey and his family when they were faced with a potential crisis. With your support, Binc will be able to continue in our mission of supporting booksellers like Clarey through times of financial hardship.
Last year at this time, the Binc Foundation had received and approved two financial assistance grants, both were related to medical expenses. This year, with industry support, Binc has seen a steady increase in requests, receiving 17 requests during the same period. And this year’s requests have been for a wider variety of qualifying events including utility shut-off prevention, loss of household income, homelessness prevention, as well as serious medical expenses. These requests, which average $1,900 are coming from booksellers across the country, working both for independent bookstores and bookstore chains.