The holidays are right around the corner, and while gifts for family and friends are certainly top-of-mind, you may also find yourself thinking of ways to give back. With plenty of holiday energy in the air and retail dollars being spent, a donation drive is a great way to give back during the season and help your local community.
But there’s a lot that goes into making a donation drive successful. These tips will show you how to host a successful holiday donation drive, from start to finish.
#1: Figure Out Who You Want to Help
What are you passionate about? Are you a dog lover looking to save the shelter? Want to make a difference in your community by helping the homeless? Eager to help young families feel welcome in your town? Ask yourself what you’re passionate about, and you’ll find a very clear path to an organization in need of help.
#2: Ask the Big Question: How Can I Help?
It’s easy to assume that, for example, a homeless shelter needs blankets. But the shelter you’re looking to help may already have an expected donation of blankets, and may need winter coats instead. There’s only one way to find out: ask the organization what they really need. Better yet, sit down with some of their team and ask them to show you their wish list. Every nonprofit has things they want, but haven’t been able to get because of the cost. Sometimes, it’s as simple as a food bank needing food, but other times, they need items that are more specific: a shelter may need cat litter, a health organization may need medical supplies, and some organizations may just need volunteers.
Asking them what they need will not only set up a great working relationship with their leaders, it will ensure that whatever you raise is actually used.
#3: Find a Place in Your Network Best Suited for Your Donation Drive
To get the most donations possible, you want to host your donation drive somewhere that is easily accessible and visible. Parts of your life that involve large groups of people–like your office building, local school, or house of worship–are a great place to host your holiday donation drive. Talk to the managers, whether it be the property managers of your office or the principal of your child’s school, and get permission to host the drive here. Make sure you understand when and where donors will be able to drop off goods.
#4: Announce Your Donation Drive Ahead of Time
The holidays are a busy time, both in the real world and the virtual one. People are bombarded with emails, advertisements, and social media messages encouraging them to buy this or try that. Getting the message out about your donation drive early and often will help it reach as many people as possible. Post in local community groups, announce it in your neighborhood NextDoor, text your family and friends…there are hundreds of ways to tell the world about your donation drive. One creative place to look for ideas is Pinterest, where you’ll find thousands of boards full of unique ways to announce fundraisers.
#5: Be a Diligent Holiday Donation Drive Manager
Is it easy to just leave a box marked “donations” somewhere? Yes. Is that going to ensure a great donation drive? Nope!
Advertising and marketing shouldn’t stop once your drive starts–in fact, that’s when you should be pushing it full steam ahead. But that is only half of what organizing a donation drive entails. Keep stopping by to check on your donation site, and keep the charity partner you’re working with updated on the progress. Consider making a Facebook page or Facebook event for your holiday donation drive where you can update both your nonprofit partner and fellow donors regularly.
#6: Count Your Donation Totals
When your donation drive ends, take the time to count how much you’ve gathered. You wouldn’t want to host the event in future years and have nothing to compare to. Plus, it’s fun to see what you’ve achieved with your team of donors, and giving them the final count of donations is an impactful way to say thanks.
#7: Deliver Your Donations the Easy Way with Dolly
The donations have rolled in and your drive was a success! Now what?
You may be tempted to leave it up to the nonprofit to come collect their donations, but taking the extra step to take care of delivery gives time and money back to your charity partner. That may sound intimidating when you’ve collected thousands of cans of food, or hundreds of blankets, but with Dolly, it’s not only possible, it’s easy. Book a Dolly and we’ll connect you with local community members who own pickup trucks. They’ll come pick up the donations and deliver them to the donation center when it’s convenient for you and your charity partner, and they’ll do it at an affordable price.
Whether you gather one hundred coats for the homeless or ten pounds of kibble for your local animal shelter, when you host a holiday donation drive, you’re getting into the holiday spirit and the giving spirit. And that’s one spirit that’s always needed.
Miranda is the Marketing Coordinator at Dolly. She’s moved nine times in the past six years, and while she’s grateful for the moving expertise, she’s hoping she doesn’t need to move a tenth time anytime soon.