Abundance has become one of the most obvious signs of our standard of living. And yet, while most of us are blessed enough to have more than we need, there are millions of families and individuals who are less fortunate. Organizing a clothes drive (or really any kind of charity drive) is a wonderful way to share our relative wealth with those around us in need of some assistance.
The key to making sure that your clothes drive will have maximum impact is a two-pronged effort spread out over the planning phase, and then the event itself. With this handy guide, you’ll be a charity pro in no time.
1. FIND A LOCAL PARTNER
Before you start collecting a ton of things that people might not even need, get in touch with a local homeless shelter, Goodwill, the Salvation Army, The National Coalition for the Homeless and/or The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans. These organizations have years of experience and know exactly what the community they serve needs.
2. BUILD A TEAM
The more people you will have to help you the bigger the success of your drive will be. Talk to your family, friends, colleagues, faith group members, or book club devotees to join your effort. Together you can come up with the perfect project and some of the new team members you just won may even have prior experience doing these kind of things.
3. SET YOUR GOAL
Setting a goal gives you something concrete to strive for and helps to hold yourself accountable. Commit as an individual as well as a team to collecting a specific number of boxes and reaching out to a certain number of people. Aim high and remain flexible in case you remain short or overshoot your goals. Chose one member of your team to update the others on the progress you are making to keep the spirits high.
4. IDENTIFY A DROP-OFF LOCATION AND A TIMEFRAME
The collection location for your drive could be anything from an office, apartment building or even your garage. Anything that will allow lots of people to come buy and you to store (hopefully) lots of boxes for a while. Decide on collection days – you don’t want to limit potential donors to just one day – and your team will need at least a few days to sort through all the donations.
5. GET THE WORD OUT
Spread the word on as many different channels as you can. Social media is a wonderful medium, but don’t forego good old fashioned flyers and posters which you can hand out and pin to message boards at work or church. If you have tech-savvy team members, you can even make a website or register your drive on Serve.gov.
6. SORT INCOMING DONATIONS
As soon as those donations start coming in, begin pre-sorting everything so you won’t be faced with a mountain of work once you finish your drive. You can sort clothes into children’s clothes, female, male and misc (blankets, socks, bed sheets etc), or according to what different organizations you contacted told you they will need. Pack everything in clean boxes or bags to make delivery easier.
7. DELIVER YOUR DONATIONS
Now that everything is packed and sorted, it’s time for your team to celebrate by delivering the fruit of your labor to its destination. Some NGO’s are able to send trucks to pick up donations, but most will need you to rent a van and to the delivery.
8. SHARE YOUR SUCCESS STORY
Be sure to document everything with lots of photos which you can share on social media to motivate others to follow in your footsteps. If you collected email addresses from donors, this is a good chance to send a Thank-You-mail to let everyone see the impact their donations made.