~ By Tamika Miller
You’re ready to have a collection drive…now what? What do you do first? Who do you contact? What types of donations do we accept? Wait a minute…slow down…take a deep breath. Planning a collection drive is not as hard as you think. It’s not rocket science! (Although rocket science is not hard, my eight year old can do it…it’s actually harder to balance a spoon on the tip of your nose.)
The truth of the matter is organizing a collection drive is quite fun and easy, but more importantly it’s a great way for your business, school or organization to support the community and local charities…but if you’re still a little timid, we’re here to provide logistical support and guide you along the process, step-by-step. Give us a call. We’ll help you get started…and get involved!—it’s truly that easy!
Step #1 Be picky!
In other words, pick the date. When selecting the date, you should consider organizing the drive around a particular event or time of year. For example, schools have tied their collection drive events to Earth Day Festivities and Spring Carnivals…our corporate partners have linked collection drives to their annual Day of Service …and the start of the spring season lends itself to inspiring people to clean out their cluttered closets and then donate. Holding a drive in connection with another special event can also help publicize your drive, and guarantee that it will be well-attended.
Impact Thrift will work with you to pick the perfect date. Once the date has been selected, allow 3-4 weeks for planning and promotion. We’ll schedule the truck to pick up the donations, once your drive is over.
- We’ll provide you with customized fliers
- We’ll make sure you have plenty of Impact Thrift brochures on hand to share the heart of who we are, and to answer any additional questions your supporters may have
- We’ll help you develop a marketing strategy to spread the word
Okay, step one is done…what’s next?
Step #2 Store your Stash!
So, where are you planning to store all the bags of clothing, boxes of books and bins of shoes that you are expecting to collect? Hmmm, that’s why step two is so important. If you are planning to accept donations over the course of 5 day (or perhaps, longer), then you’ll definitely need to designate an area to store donations as they come in.
It might be a good idea to have ‘pleasing-to-the-eye -popping’ collection bins set up by the entrances and exits of your building, or mai
n lobby. Maybe you have a storage room, or an empty office that’s not being utilized. The great thing is if you start to run out of storage room before your drive is over, you can always give us a call, and we’ll swing by with the truck to take some of those donations off of your hands.
Step two done? Ok, you’re doing great! Let’s move on to step number #3
Step#3 Don’t Promote!
Don’t promote? Am I crazy for saying that?
No! But let me explain. Don’t promote…INSPIRE! Don’t Promote…MOTIVATE! Don’t Promote…CREATE AWARENESS! A collection drive goes beyond asking people to donate items they no longer need. Yes, you’re asking them to donate, but ultimately what you’re asking them to do is help Impact Thrift change lives for the better.
People are more likely to support your event if they feel that it is a worthwhile cause. Let them know that their donations have power…the power to strengthen communities…the power to protect the environment… and the power to rebuild lives. If you need help with this step, feel free to invite a representative from Impact Thrift Stores to speak with your staff, students or church parishioners. We all love what we do here at Impact Thrift, and we enjoy rallying others to join in!
Step #4 Hocus Focus…not Hocus Pocus
In other words, keep focused. When planning the scope of your drive, it may be helpful to focus on just one type of item to collect. Instead of an “all out” collection drive, have a book drive… or clothing and shoe drive…or an “anything-with-a-cord drive” and recycling event. Keeping it simple may help to maximize the results.
Think of it this way…it’s already hard to get people to remember what they had for breakfast this morning, if your message is simple, then supporters will have an easier time remembering what to donate, and they won’t have to struggle with deciding what to purge from their homes.
Here’s another selling point… when it comes to books, clothing and shoes, Impact Thrift will accept those items in any condition. Donated items that are deemed un-sellable are responsibly recycled. The money generated from recycling is also used to financially support locally-based charities. So good or bad…don’t hesitate to donate and divert from landfills!
Need more tips…okay okay! It’s fine. We’re full of great ideas and we’re not afraid to share, so, here you go…
Take it to the streets!
Get local and neighboring businesses involved. Do your employees order from the same pizzeria every day for lunch? That pizzeria may be willing to be a collection site. Let them know that they can help your cause by offering discounts to anyone who drops off a donation. Make it a win-win partnership by offering their business promotion in return, i.e. add their logo your advertising materials, or company’s website.
Twit…Tweet… (you know what I mean)
Get techy with it. Set up a Facebook Page or blog site to capture all the behind the scenes action and energy buzzing around your drive. Upload a video to YouTube. Post fun pictures on Flickr. Provide info to all of your employees in a format that is easy for them to share on their own Facebook pages and Twitter accounts.
If you’re like me, (an analog girl in a digital world) and you don’t have a clue about this techy-mumbo jumbo, then reach out to a local college student, or even your own children to help you get started.
Have you run a collection drive in the past? What tips can you offer?
For more information, or to set up a drive today, contact Tamika Miller, Community Outreach Coordinator: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 267.387.0030 ext 5111