What is Banyule Toy Library?
Banyule Toy Library is based in Rosanna, north of the Melbourne CBD. Toy libraries operate just like normal libraries but loan toys instead of books. For the price of a single toy, you can give a child a new toy every week – and save hundreds of unwanted toys going to landfill. With over a thousand toys from games and ride-ons to puzzles and learning toys, there is something for every kid to enjoy. Banyule Toy Library is a not-for-profit organisation run by volunteers that has been serving the community for 30 years. An annual membership is a great gift idea too!
Louise has been a committee member for two years and the co-president for the past year.
What drove you to join Banyule Toy Library?
My son was 6 months old and I already had problems both finding space for the toys he had and what else to buy him (as well as how to afford it all). Finding the toy library was great for all of us. I learnt how we needed more people to help run the organisation and felt I just had to volunteer.
What’s been your proudest moment?
Every time I go to the Toy Library and see kids excited with the new toys they are taking home.
What mistake have you learned most from?
Assuming that people will do stuff just because you have asked them. Everyone on the committee is a volunteer and all have a variety of competing priorities for their time. This makes it hard to devote as much time to the Toy Library as they’d like.
What would you say is the recipe for success in your sector?
You need to reach out and constantly engage with key stakeholders. Focus not just on your members and potential members but organisations that can help, like Bendigo Bank with their fantastic grants program and the local council with facilities/promotion. Not-for-profits typically have great stories to tell about the work they do in the community, so don’t miss an opportunity to tell it.
What have you learned about yourself?
That being part of a community not-for-profit organisation is something I feel really good about. It’s great to know you are helping other local families give their kids a never-ending supply of smiles from their new toys.
Who would you most like to employ in your business – famous or otherwise?
Lots of kittens and puppies! People love them and so they would be a great way to share our story on social media, entice people to come to borrow toys and get committee members more involved! (I know it sounds silly, but it would definitely raise our profile massively)
Best piece of advice to other Not-for-profits?
Recognise that everyone has lots of other things to do and don’t always have the time to help. Create a culture of response and honesty, so people quickly tell you if they do not have time to help. Also, make sure you have some clear goals about what you want to achieve e.g. number of members, fundraising targets (and why).