Bringing the Magic: Planning My First Vino & Libri

This month we’re featuring a special guest blog post from Book Trust’s Development Coordinator, Lily Melblom-Prosser.

It’s hard to believe that four short months ago, Book Trust was not a huge part of my life.

From the moment I read our mission statement in the job posting for Development Coordinator, I was hooked. It read: Book Trust’s mission is to help elementary school children with little or no access to books fall in love with reading and become lifelong learners.  I was instantly inspired because I have always loved stories and couldn’t imagine a childhood without books for anyone. I immediately wanted to be part of an organization that gives books and the joy of reading to all children.

My first day at Book Trust was exciting and a little overwhelming- and every day has been the same. Vino & Libri was just around the corner, even in January. Planning a fundraising event has been an amazing learning experience. My biggest takeaways (so far) are:

Don’t get lost in the details.

The logistics of any event are complicated, and my laundry list often felt never-ending. Losing sight of the reason behind Vino & Libri was easy to do if we let ourselves get in the weeds of the myriad details and logistics. Each day it was vital to remind myself why we host a gala each spring- it’s all about the students. Book Trust imagines a world in which literacy removes barriers for all children, and Vino & Libri is all about making that happen, not the menu. When our guests arrive at Vino & Libri every detail is handled, so that they can join in the celebration and focus on the mission, helping to bring more books to more students.

Discover a new appreciation for the word “yes.”

Spending my days asking for donations, I became accustomed to hearing “no” or “not at this time.” That’s why when someone said “yes,” it was the best part of my day. To me, it seems impossible that Book Trust doesn’t have a line of potential donors around the block who are excited to support our amazing students around the country. So each “no,” tough as it was to hear, made the “yeses” a thousand times better. Seeing a confirmation for a ticket sale, receiving an auction item in the mail, or adding a logo to the sponsorship page was always a boost in the day. Knowing that more community members are excited to be a part of Book Trust’s mission and join our Vino & Libri celebration made every “yes” even better.

Learn to Delegate.

Raising over $200,000 in a single evening is no small task, so delegating is not only necessary, it empowers more people to share in the joy of being a part of Book Trust. Seeing the event committee and staff take on tasks and bring Vino & Libri together was inspirational. To make this, and every aspect of Vino & Libri work, delegation was key. Luckily, I had the great team here at Book Trust to support me with any challenge.

As the last details fall into place, I have had time to reflect on what will truly make the night magical – and I am convinced that it is the people behind it. Every student speaker, every donor, volunteer, and staff member is key to making the night a success. Thanks to them, we’re about to experience a truly magical night, filled with books, wine, fun, and impact! I hope to meet many of you there!


Book Trust