April 2015

Warm Up: Read-a-Thon-ing for Charity

One of the things that is so amazing about Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon, besides the way it brings the book blogging & reading community together, is the tremendous amount of support that individuals and companies give to the event. Andi and Heather, in particular, donate incredible amounts of time to organizing everything and everyone; bloggers chip in leading up to and day-of to cheer (it’s not too late to sign up as a cheerleader!), man the Readathon Twitter account account/Goodreads group, and collect prizes; publishers, authors and bookstores contribute said prizes.

In honor of this spirit of support, I’ve often used my own Readathon participation to in turn support a literacy or reading charity. There are any number of ways you can tie your participation in the event to a cause of your choosing; below are just a few ideas:

By the Page: Set an amount to donate per page read, per ten pages read, or per 100 pages read during Readathon.

By the Book: Rather than tracking donations per page, consider a larger donation per book completed during the 24-hour period.

By the Hour: Give yourself some extra motivation to hit your goal of hours read by tying your charitable donation to the number of hours you read. (Kudos to you if you’re going for the full 24 hours; I know I’ll need more sleep than that would allow for!)

A Combination of the Above: Historically, I’ve set myself a donation amount to make per page read, with a bonus donation for each book completed, but you could combine the metrics in any way to challenge yourself throughout the day.

(And remember, if you plan on listening to any audio books during the day, your donation goals would need to account for time listened.)

If you’re looking for ideas reading-related charities to donate to, consider searching for a literacy council in your area, or donate to your local library or library foundation. There are also great charities doing work across the United States and internationally to get books into the hands of kids who might otherwise not have access to them, such as FirstBook, Room to Read, Book Aid, and Reading is Fundamental. Check out Book Riot’s finalists for their annual giving (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015) for more giving ideas, or just do a quick Google search on literacy-related charities and you’ll be astounded at the number of results you’ll see.

So much of what makes Readathon fun and inspiring is the fact that it comes with no rules, no boundaries, and no must-dos. Because of that, tying charity into your reading is easy, no matter what your budget: set goal and corresponding donation amounts that fit into what makes sense for you. Maybe that’s a penny a page, or maybe it’s a dollar a book, or maybe it’s $20 for every hour spent reading. Maybe it’s 5 cents for every page under your goal for the day (if you have a page goal!), or $10 for every hour under your goal, or a dime for every cheer you receive on your Readathon updates. It doesn’t matter how much you give, or even if you give—it’s an event we can all make our own.

Soooo much thanks to Kerry from Entomology of a Bookworm for these fantabulous and inspiring tips as well as all her help in wrangling prizes for this year’s event! 

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