Volunteer with First Book

Team First Book

ecard4Team First Book is a community based volunteer fundraising program at First Book. Each year more than 1,500 philanthropic volunteers in the U.S. and Canada host local fundraising events to get critically needed new books and educational resources into the hands of children from low income families in their communities. To date, our volunteers have raised over $20 million for new books and educational resources.

Why You're Needed

A nonprofit social enterprise, First Book is tackling one of the most pervasive problems facing educators working with children in disadvantaged communities: the profound lack of high quality books and educational resources.

The simple reality is: children need books to learn to read. A meta-analysis of over 11,000 studies on the impact of access to reading materials confirmed that correlation.i A rich supply of books improves reading performance regardless of a child’s economic status or even the parents’ literacy levels.ii But the disparity in reading scores between low-income children and children of means remains a stubborn gulf. Over 80% of low-income children are ‘below proficient’ in reading by fourth grade.iii

The need is enormous. More than 45% of US children – over 32 MILLION - live in low-income households. And, in the poorest communities, there is only one book for every 300 children.

This is a problem we can fix. By pioneering innovative, sustainable models, First Book empowers educators with access to free and low-cost, high quality brand new books and classroom materials. First Book is also serving as a catalyst to increase the diversity in children’s books, working with publishers on stories and content that is culturally relevant, so that all children can see themselves in books.

Your Impact

firstbook getinvolved volunteerFirst Book volunteers believe in the power of books to help children read, learn and succeed. As a First Book volunteer, you’ll be doing your part to get new books and educational resources into the hands of children who critically need them. Remember your favorite character or children’s story? Help us get those stories to other children. As a First Book volunteer, you’ll be part of a dedicated network of action -oriented, passionate volunteers who believe that all children, regardless of economic circumstances, should have the same access to quality resources. Whether you host one of our signature events or create your own, your efforts will help raise awareness and get books into the hands of children who need them most.

What You Can Do? Fundraise! How? By:

  • Hosting your own event (e.g. gala, receptions, art auctions, 5k run, Book Bash, bake sale, etc.).
  • Applying to host a First Book Literary Event. These signature events feature local celebrities and community leaders bringing to life characters from children’s literature.
  • Creating an online campaign and rallying your friends and family to give the gift of access to books via an online Virtual Book Drive.
  • Expanding your network: Join the Story Book Society geared to young professionals between the ages of 21-35 committed to hosting three social fundraisers during the year. These social events include happy hours, restaurant nights, paint nights, raffles, etc.

How First Book Will Support Your Efforts:

  • Toolkits and playbooks for creating and executing a successful event. Resources include promotional materials, sponsorship materials, and media tools.
  • A personalized fundraising page and champion center to set up your own online Virtual Book Drive.
  • The support of First Book’s Giving department throughout your fundraising efforts.
  • First Book branded materials, national partnerships and collaborations to support local efforts, award-winning, high profile national First Book leadership, and a 20+ year history of success.

Please Join Us

Share your love of reading with others and join us today. Contact us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and follow the work of our other volunteers on Tumblr.

i. Learning Point Associates. Children’s Access to Print Material and Education-Related Outcomes. August 2010. http://rif.org/documents/us/RIFandLearningPointMeta-FullReport.pdf
ii. M.D.R. Evans, Jonathan Kelley, Joanna Sikora, Donald J. Treiman. Family scholarly culture and educational success: Books and schooling in 27 nations. Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, Volume 28, Issue 2, June 2010, pages 171-197. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0276562410000090
iii. Annie E. Casey KIDS Count Data Center. http://www.datacenter.kidscount.org