UgCLA depends on the following sources of revenue:
- Member payments. As from 2013 each member library is asked to pay an annual subscription of 50,000 Uganda shillings. From 2017, those who send a representative to the conference are asked to pay 25,000 shillings towards the conference costs. In 2019 this contribution has been raised to 50,000 shillings.
- Payments for donated books. UgCLA covers the transport and clearing costs for the books it receives from Book Aid International. It recoups these costs from the libraries that receive the books, at a rate of 30,000 shillings per box.
- Volunteer contributions. Each independent volunteer is asked to raise $1000 for the Association. Volunteer sponsoring organizations pay $250-$300 per month for each volunteer.
- Grants from organizations. Such funding is generally designated for projects in particular libraries.
- Contributions from private donors. Those who wish to support the Association’s work send their contributions to Friends of African Village Libraries who forward the funds to UgCLA as needed.
- Contributions in kind. Ka Tutandike generously provided UgCLA with office space from 2007 to 2012, Professor A. B. K. Kasozi provided the same between 2012 and 2014, and the National Library did from 2014 to 2015. Each of these donors also provided wireless internet access. UgCLA paid no rent for these facilities. From June 2018 Kawempe Youth Centre has provided office space for which UgCLA pays a small contribution to rent and utility costs. UgCLA’s Board members are also generous with their time, carrying out tasks for the Association without payment.
UgCLA is a frugal organization, operating with a minimal administrative base. The vast majority of its revenue goes to its member libraries, whether in the form of direct grants or in the form of training and encouragement provided through conferences, workshops, and visits.
UgCLA has done well so far in expanding its membership and building its members’ capacity, and it is confident that it will continue for the foreseeable future to be able to raise funds for special projects. As it grows and undertakes more projects, however, it will need to expand its administrative structure, and it has already experienced difficulty in raising funds for administration. To continue and expand its operations, therefore, UgCLA proposes to pursue the following strategies:
- Make a concerted effort to obtain grant funding for developing its capacity so that it can improve its office facilities and employ an assistant for the coordinator.
- Include in the budgets for grant-funded projects carried out in individual libraries sufficient funds for related workshops (including the annual conference) and for UgCLA staff’s related travel, communication, and office expenses.
- Require member libraries to pay subscriptions high enough to support UgCLA. A step was taken in this direction at the Annual General Meeting in January 2012 when members agreed to increase their payments from a 30,000 shilling annual subscription to a 50,000 shilling subscription together with a conference contribution. The conference alone, however, costs at least 100,000 shillings for each representative, and it is extremely difficult for most member libraries to raise so much money. To be able to pay a realistic subscription that will cover the Association’s administrative costs, member libraries need considerably raised revenues. UgCLA aims to help them achieve such revenues by:
- Soliciting funds from donors for capital projects that can generate income for individual libraries. Examples are provision of solar electricity, erection of buildings that can be rented, purchase of computer and ICT equipment, and provision of water tanks.
- Forming partnerships between libraries and foreign institutions such as libraries, schools, or churches, which would be willing to support their partner libraries’ running costs, including UgCLA subscriptions and contributions.
- Asking local governments to institute a line in their budgets to cover salaries for librarians so that any other revenue that the libraries raise can be used for purchasing books, developing programmes, and supporting UgCLA.
- Encouraging libraries to form partnerships with local schools under which the schools pay subscriptions in return for regular delivery of books.
- Build up more relationships with institutions in North America that are interested in placing interns in libraries.