Local sponsors of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library (DPIL) are called Local Champions. The information in this article is about Local Champions in the United States, but DPIL is also active in Canada, the U.K., and Australia.
The Dollywood Foundation refers to what the Local Champions do as “replication,” which I take to mean replicating what The Dollywood Foundation does in Dolly Parton’s home county, where the program started. To replicate the program, the first step is to define the geographic area one’s organization wants to serve: a zip code, a town, a school district, a county, a state, etc.
The Dollywood Foundation will then assign a regional director to help the Local Champion navigate the process. There are regional directors in all fifty states and Puerto Rico.
o The eligibility criteria for the Imagination Library is defined only in terms of the child's age and residence
o Please do not limit registration based on socioeconomics, risk factors, participation in certain programs, parental factors or by any other means other than a child's age and residence.
On the topic of fundraising, the staff at The Dollywood Foundation can provide a Local Champion with a five-year “projected budget for your community's program using a ‘cost projection template.’” This is a tool that allows an organization to calculate “the average annual operating costs based on three key items.”
First, determine the total number of eligible children in one’s community. Second, take into account “the trends taken from other communities that have replicated the program.” Third, add up the average cost of the books and the average cost of shipping ($25 per child per year).
Once a local champion has a rough idea of how much the program will cost, the organization will need to identify and approach potential “financial supporters.” The Dollywood Foundation lists common financial supporters as United Way, Rotary, local businesses, civic groups, local governments, private citizens, educational foundations, churches, chambers of commerce, and school systems.
Local Champions have four responsibilities. First, to register children in The Dollywood Foundation’s database. Second, to publicize the program using The Dollywood Foundation’s customized registration brochures and other promotional materials.
Third, pay monthly invoices. The average monthly cost is $2.08 per child and $25 per child per year. Fourth, to pick up undeliverable books from your local post office(s) is possible.
The Dollywood Foundation states, “Local Champions are characteristically different across localities. In some communities a single group or individual takes on all of the coordinating responsibilities. In other communities, multiple groups and/or individuals divide the responsibilities.
…You must make sure that you have a 501(c)(3) agency on board as a key collaborator. Due to postal regulations, the return address on all books must be that of a local 501(c)(3). This same address must also be listed as the contact on the registration brochure.
There are four pieces of documentation that must be filed with The Dollywood Foundation before a Local Champion can begin registering children with the program: (a) a Memorandum of Agreement, (b) an Affiliate Information Sheet, (c) a Registration Brochure Order Form, and (d) a Mailing Regulations Form (filed directly with U.S. Postal Service). The Dollywood Foundation customizes registration brochures for each locality, as facilitated by Regional Directors.
To print registration brochures, The Dollywood Foundation charges in the range from $410 for 1,000 brochures to $1,410 for 20,000 brochures, including the cost of shipping within the continental United States. The Dollywood Foundation advises to “allow a 5% contingency.” If the Local Champion requires expedited shipping, the shipping fee will necessarily be higher.
The timeline for registration brochure design and delivery is that within seven days after the Local Champion has ordered brochures, a proof will be developed and sent for approval; and within four weeks of the time the Local Champion has approved the proof, the brochures will be delivered. The Dollywood Foundation charges $25 for each proof after the third proof.The cost of electronic registration brochures is $65 without the Local Champion’s logo and $110 with the logo. Electronic brochures are two colors (red and black). If a Local Champion opts to add a logo, it may only be added in black and white, but not in full color.