Caulfield Community Toy Library Annual General Meeting 13th March 2018
2017 was an incredibly prosperous year for the Toy Library and I’m very pleased and proud to state that through the very hard work of our committee and volunteers we increased memberships, increased our income, enhanced our toy collection and created numerous process efficiencies.
Here’s a summary of what we’ve achieved...
At the Toy Library
We kick started the first half of the year facilitating working bees with a group of volunteer students from Holmesglen Tafe to help improve the appearance of the Toy Library both inside and out. The Holmesglen Students were aged between 18 and 23, with varied learning difficulties.
The working bees were set up to execute a humongous declutter both the inside and outside of the Toy Library. The results achieved from the sessions have made an incredible impact to the look and feel of the Toy Library, and we have received many compliments from our members on how amazing the place is looking.
Before & after the internal de-clutter
The face lift at the Toy Library didn’t stop there and was continued throughout the year with a much needed re-organisation of the spare parts room and a new workstation in the back room with the introduction of our first stand up desk, which has enabled volunteers to catalogue and re-bag toys on a desk, rather than the floor!
New stand up desk & working station
Our Toy Collection
At the start of the year 50% of our 2,000 toy range had images stored on our online system. Over the past year we have managed to upload 580 toy images and now only have have 420 toys without images. A tremendous effort, and we are hoping to continue to build on that in 2018 so that our members are able to browse the entire range online.
300 toys were added to our collection in 2017, 93 new toys and 207 donations. The new toys have helped lift the standard of the overall quality of our collection and the donations have refreshed our current collection. Thank you to all of those who have generously donated throughout the year.
We purchased a colour printer, which has enabled us to print new labels for our toys, which includes a picture of the toy and coloured picture cards/instruction sheets. We had numerous toys that were stored in open tubs without lids - a missing piece nightmare! These were all put into new tubs with lids and picture labels added to the tubs so that members can easily see what is in the tub without having to open it.
In addition to the new toys and donations we have printed new labels and re-bagged an additional 200 toys. Just so you can understand the effort involved with this, on average it takes 20 minutes to catalogue, number and bag each toy. So based on 500 toys that’s approx 170 hours spent across the year.
Continuing to purchase new toys is going to be a key priority for 2018, along with ensuring that the current collection is quality. Toy quality is something we are continuing to focus on to retain our members. Our reports show us a clear correlation between the number of new toys in the collection and the number of new members. New toys = new members, and vice versa so this will continue to be an incredibly important focus for us.
New storage tubs with labels
New toy labels with photos
Our membership continues to build year on year and currently sits at 230 members, a considerable increase of 30% yoy. We are now only 45 members short of our 2010, 275 membership high, which is a great achievement.
To support the growth of our members we have extended our open hours and are also open during the school holidays, only being closed for Easter, public holidays and the Christmas break. An additional 6 hours of admin has also been added each week through volunteers.
In our 2017 survey our members told us how much they love the toy library and found the toys easy to locate. Online member login access has been set up for them, which allows them to log into their accounts, put their name down for roster duty, renew their toys and browse new toy arrivals. This has helped reduce all the manual work that was previously involved with members only able to put their names down for roster duty whilst in the toy library, and also helped keep our roster duty full with minimal efforts. We also automated our roster duty SMS reminders, which has helped to ensure our members turn up for their duty, and means our coordinator doesn’t have to manually text message each member. New duty tags were also created for members on duty to help encourage and remind members to do their duty - and they look great wearing them!
New member duty tags
Marketing & Promotions
Throughout the past year we have continued to work towards increasing awareness of our organisation within the local community.
Our social Instagram channel has grown over the year by a whopping 170% from 139 to 370 followers, and our Facebook channel has grown from 191 to 236 fans. We continue to post imagery of new toy arrivals, events and news through these channels.
Our website also continues to be updated with all our latest news and events throughout the year and on average we have 330 visits per month to our website. We ditched the paper and joined members up online via the website during open sessions, which has helped reduce the double handling of having to enter all new members into the system once they had entered all their details on paper.
Talks & information sessions have also been conducted at Maternal Child Health Centres with new parents groups, with $10 vouchers offered to new mothers groups. We also created a new Toy Library presentation booklet which showcases all of our toy categories, party packs and offers.
Our ‘refer a friend’ campaign continues to be successful, particularly with mothers groups sharing the word amongst their friends and receiving free months in return.
Our annual Open Day was held in November and saw an all time high of 15 new members sign up on the day, which we were thrilled with!
We also participated in Party in the Park at the start of last year, which was great to raise awareness and managed to sign up our new secretary Megan on the day.
Fundraising & Grants
We’ve had multiple initiatives which were undertaken in the past year. Thank you to those who organised, ran and volunteered at the following events:
2 x Bunnings BBQs
1 x Carnegie BBQ
Party packs has been a great revenue driver for us, generating a whopping increase of 200% year on year. To help streamline the check in / check out process a new party pack booklet was created where every single (yes every single) piece of every single party pack was photographed and added to a check in / check out booklet.
We had one grant application which was successful for us in the past year:
Glen Eira Council Community Grant - Used to purchase new imaginative play toys and shelving for our games section.
Our committee and members of 2017 have contributed so many hours to the Toy Library throughout the year. A special thank you goes to all the committee members and volunteers who have also donated a substantial amount of their time to achieve all that we have over the past year.
Committee members; L to R: Megan, Lisa, Christine, Ted, Leonie, Mel
In no particular order a BIG THANK YOU must go to the following:
Jeffrey, Ailesha, Joanna & Sophie, our non member volunteers who turn up every Wednesday night and work with me to get through what feels like tons of re-cataloguing, bagging, photographing, contacting, laminating, assembling and finding missing pieces for our toys. You have helped to make a huge impact to the overall quality of our toy collection and I can’t thank you enough.
Michael, who also comes every Saturday to our open sessions and is a tremendous help each week, helping out with a number of varied tasks.
Ted our toy repairs and BBQ coordinator - I honestly cannot thank you enough for everything you do on a weekly basis. All the toy repair work, installing shelving and the hours that you spend working on the Bunnings BBQs, shredding the onions, buying all the meat and sausages and setting up the stall. You are such an indispensable asset to the Toy Library and I am forever grateful for everything you do.
Lisa our Publicity and promotions manager, and everything in between. Thanks so much for all your help decluttering the toy library and making it such a great useful space. You also helped with so many tasks over the year such as the toy selection for the Glen Eira grant, new noticeboard out the front, Billboards, organising new shelving working bees, events and getting replacements for all our faulty raeco bags. It’s been so great bouncing ideas off you and having someone so hands on in times of need, and you always remain so calm!
Pia our media officer - Thank you also for your assistance with our PR & Media, Grant writing, emails for donations, working bees with the Holmesglen students and ongoing social media - not to mention filling in during open sessions and lending us your esky for our Bunnings BBQs!.
Bob, our longest standing committee member of 16 years! For being so reliable and popping up in times of need to help with shelving, events and BBQs.
Kat our secretary who worked well beyond her role of Secretary promoting the work of the toy library at Maternal Child Health Centre talks to new parent groups and helping with grants, working bees and events.
Megan, our new secretary who has recently taken on the role and been amazing at handling all the admin components of the Toy Library, endless emails from members, party pack bookings, selling our toys and helping out with our Open Day.
Melissa our new treasurer who makes finance look ridiculously easy as she effortlessly manages all of our funds and reports throughout the year. There’s been so many transactions over the past year, and so many transfers and payments, and you are so reliable with all the payments. You’ve also worked beyond the role of treasurer helping out with open sessions and the Open Day event. Thank you.
Sarah our vice president who has been very supportive and had such a positive attitude throughout the year, and helping out with the Glen Eira grant and entertainment for the Open Day.
Kim, who attends all our maternal health talks and helps to spread the word about the Toy Library.
Stephen & Mamta who photographed every single piece for the party pack booklet.
Liana who photographed all of our 300 puzzle collection!
Last but not least, Christine our Co-ordinator and Megan who has been covering Christine’s Maternity leave. Thank you both for all of your hard work managing our open sessions during the year. You’ve both been so open minded with all the radical change that’s been taking place within the Toy Library and helped feed into refining and improving our processes.
I’ve loved our Wednesday night chats each week, getting totally lost in the world of toy library banter, and having someone to bounce ideas off on how to constantly improve things. You both always remain so calm and friendly to all our members even during the busiest sessions!
So what’s in store for 2018?
So, onwards and upwards for 2018! It’s already shaping up to be a prosperous year and I am super excited about what the future brings.
Our focus will be
● Improving the presentation of toys in the library
● Enhancing our toy range
● Increasing member numbers and member retention
● Training and sourcing non member volunteers
● Building on our social media presence
● Continuing to market the toy library through events & PR
● Grant applications and processes
I’m grateful that we have new committee members and volunteers joining us in 2018 and I encourage and warmly welcome more community members to share their existing skills or learn a new set of skills to enable the continuation of the Toy Library service; whether it be embracing a role on the committee or undertaking individual tasks to experience how rewarding and enjoyable a committee role can be.
Leonie Cavagna President, Caulfield Community Toy Library