January 11th, 2013
Whether you’re a parent at a school that wants to give back to the community with a warm coat drive, or you’re head of a scout troop that wants to help a local animal shelter, or anything in between, the idea of running a charity drive can be daunting.
But guess what? It doesn’t have to be. A simple grassroots drive can be as effective and even as much fun as a major event.
Believe it or not, not every organization can take every donation. So first know what they can accept and work your drive around that. This is from Voices.Yahoo on having a successful charity drive:
THE CONCEPT: If you’ve participated in a big fundraiser or collection drive, you may think they always have to be complicated, complex, and time-consuming to have an impact. This isn’t true. A simple, grassroots drive only involves contacting a charity, finding out what they need, organizing the logistics of the drive (what goes where when) and recruiting friends and acquaintances to participate in any way they feel comfortable. The results, yes, will probably not leave your non-profit of choice busting at the seams with donations, but you never know! And so what- the point of organizing a collection on a grassroots level isn’t to save every corner of the world; it’s help one corner of the world have it a little easier. One reason there are so many problems in so many areas of society is too many people think because they can’t do EVERYTHING there’s no use in doing something.
THE CHARITY: The first thing you need to do if you’d like to organize a simple charity drive is contact the charity you’d like to help and ask them the most simple but important question: “What do you need?” The whole purpose of having a charity drive is to get the organization things they need or want. Having a drive for toothbrushes when the local kids program really needs apples and bananas, for instance, isn’t going to do anyone any good. So contact someone at the charity/non-profit you’d like to help, explain you’d like to support them with a small, informal drive among friends, and say you’d like to know how you can be of use. Do they need volunteers, cash, equipment, publicity? Sometimes, the “what do you need” answer is available on the website or newsletter for the charity if they have a wish-list or ongoing drive of their own posted. Still, it’s a good idea to make a call, send an email, and/or stop by the place, and get a rough idea of the specifics involved.
You will want to ask the charity if you can bring stuff by as you collect it, or if they want it all at once. See if any of your volunteers has room in their garage or a spare room so you can spread out the goods.
If you’re having a clothing drive and it’s associated with a school, see if they will let you store the items there, or if you have to pick it up at the end of every day.
Some activities are a one time event like a bake sale or a car wash. Others may be spread out over a whole month. Decide what is going to be easiest for you to achieve your goal. And remember, something is better than nothing. If this is a success, you can always host more drives.
Get more volunteers to help you. Tell them about the event and ask if they can volunteer an hour or two of their time. Who could say no to an hour?
Tell everyone about the event, and not just the parents involved. Get out a press release to let the community know. Post fliers in your local markets and coffee shops. Ask your volunteers to spread the word to their network. Ask the charity to publicize your drive.
Once you have a date, time and location set, enlist the help of others. Don’t rely on yourself to do everything. This will help you ensure that your event goes smoothly and that participants have a positive experience.
- Generate interest in your event by writing a press release and distribute it to local newspapers and radio and television stations. Request air time to promote your event and encourage participation. Post fliers at churches, schools, workplaces and local markets, coffee shops, community centers and any other public bulletin boards.
Your volunteers will love seeing the end results of their hard work. Send out another press release as this will give more publicity to your charity, and possibly more donations will trickle in.
Then find a simple way to thank your volunteers. A simple handwritten card means so much more now in the time of quick emails.
How will you help your favorite charity this year?