Holding a collection drive or fundraising event might seem overwhelming. Here are a few tips that can help make it easier, fun and successful.
1. Keep It Simple – Focus on just one type of item to collect. Instead of a full-fledged clothing drive, collect just socks. Instead of a food drive, collect just canned vegetables. This will help keep your messaging simple. People who want to participate won’t have to hesitate because of a tough decision about — or having to remember — what to purchase. Of course, check with New Life Evangelistic Center ahead of time about what items they need.
2. Make It Easy – People are more likely to help if the action is relatively quick, convenient and easy to do. They may not have time to purchase items from a store, so allow them to simply donate money — you’ll do the shopping for them. Provide pre-addressed, pre-stamped giving envelopes that make it easy for them to drop a check in the mail. Send an email that allows them to donate online at www.newlifeevangelisticcenter.org right away.
3. Don’t Go Solo – Chances are you’re interested in doing a collection drive because you love managing projects or you love motivating people. Whichever type you are, find someone with the other strength to help you. Your project will have greater success if you have a good up-front cheerleader persona and someone who loves checklists making sure the details happen. You’ll likely have more fun and success if you don’t try to do it alone.
4. Use The Power Of Friend Multiplication – People are more likely to give to a fundraiser not because there is a need, but because a friend asked them to give. Focus your advertising on items that challenge / empower people to invite their friends. Instead of asking people to donate a can of food, ask them to ask 10 friends to donate a can of food. That puts the power of multiplication to work. Motivate participation by rewarding the top influencers who got the most friends to participate.
5. Ask For Sponsorships – Ask local businesses to help out. They can be a collection site. They can offer discounts on the food or clothing items you’re asking people to collect. They can provide coffee or food for your volunteers. They can donate prize items for your top influencers. Offer the business something in return, like public mention or logo placement on your advertising materials.
6. Craft Your Sales Pitch – Before you ask for participation, have your pitch well-rehearsed. This can be a helpful formula A – Grab their ATTENTION. (There’s a crisis in healthcare!) I – Add INTEREST. (50% of kids will get cancer.) D – Stimulate DESIRE. (But we’ve found a cure.) A – Call to ACTION. (If we have your help, we’ll get the cure much faster.)
7. Talk About Life Change – You’re not asking people to donate an item, you’re asking them to change a life. Phrase your language that way. “Would you help us give hope to a homeless man or woman? Your donation of $10.00 will buy 10 pair of socks. That’s 10 opportunities for us to meet and talk with a person who is hurting and looking for a way back home.”
8. Take It Online – People expect to be able to interact with you online. These options are easier than ever and completely free. Set up a free website or blog using Blogger and WordPress. Create donation badge through Network for Good. Upload a video to YouTube. Share photos on Flickr. Make all your content easy for people to share on their Facebook and Twitter accounts. Overwhelmed by the techy stuff? Recruit a teenager to set things up for you.
9. Make It Hands-On – Your goal in the collection drive should be bigger than getting people to donate. Get them to care about the cause. One church collected thousands of pounds of food, and then asked all the participants to help load it into eight semi-trucks. The task could have been done faster with forklifts. But nothing could beat the emotional impact of hundreds of people forming a line and passing food boxes across the parking lot. As they touched each box, they knew it would go to feed a family in need. There’s something powerful and tangible about hands-on participation.
10. Celebrate – From the start of your planning, include ideas of how you’ll wrap things up. Throw a party for volunteers and donors. Collect e-mail and postal addresses along the way so you can properly thank all your champions. When you drop off your donated items to the charity, take lots of photos and video to upload to the web. People love to see the connection between their donation and the people it will benefit. The better you thank and inspire your participants this time, the more likely they will be to help out in the future.