How to Host a Donation Drive in Your Community | Steps & Ideas

If you're looking to do more for the people in your community who need it most, a donation drive can provide the supplies you need. But it isn't always clear how to run one. In this article, we'll walk you through everything you need to know about donation drives, including some ideas you can implement to bring in more donations.

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How to Host a Donation Drive in Your Community | Steps & Ideas

Donation drives are an excellent way for anyone to support their favorite charity or the community at large. Using these drives, you can raise funds or collect items like clothes, food, toys, or anything else that helps an organization achieve its mission.

Donation drives can be done in person or online. In-person drives require some strategies, planning, marketing, and event arrangements to gain more attention from everyone in the community. Online drives can be easier to hold but require one to follow some basic steps for planning and marketing.

This article will give you the specific steps to make your donation drive a success, along with some of the most popular donation drive ideas with examples.

9 Steps to Run a Donation Drive in Your Community

1. Decide on a cause and items to collect

The first step is to decide what you’ll collect and which local organization you want to help. Before you start collecting, you must reach out to the charity to get a better idea of what they need. Some organizations cannot take used items, especially if they work with small children and infants.

Online fundraising is another great way to kick off your donation drive. Sometimes, it’s easier to raise funds for a cause and either purchase items on your list or allow reputable organizations to purchase the items they need directly.

For example, The Community Grocer raises funds directly to aid their mission of sharing affordable fresh fruit and vegetables. They use Donorbox to streamline their donation process so they can spend less time fundraising and more time making a difference!

Example of someone using Donorbox to collect funds for their donation drive.

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2. Finalize a location and date

Donation drives don’t need a prominent location like other events, but you need a place large enough to accommodate the people and items you’ll collect. You can hold your donation drive outside, but make sure you have a rainy-day plan. Even if you hold your drive online, you’ll still need a place to contain the items once you’ve purchased them.

Alternatively, if you’re directly sending donations to the organization, they can take care of the location requirements. If you have plans to host an in-person event for the whole community after the online donation drive, you should work with the nonprofit to select a venue and date.

3. Set goals

A donation drive’s goals are obvious but getting specific will convince people to give. Talking with the charity beforehand will help you understand what’s needed, but there are a few other things you must contemplate when coming up with your goals.

  • How many items will the nonprofit need?
  • How many people can you count on to give?
  • Are you collecting money too?
  • Will your location, date, and time affect the number of donations?
  • How will you advertise your donation drive?
  • Will your donation drive cost anything to run?

Do highlight the number of items you’re planning to collect or the amount of money you’re hoping to raise to enable the nonprofit to buy specific items. These numbers encourage more donations. Add them to your online fundraising page and across all marketing materials. Some donors would give more than they otherwise would just to help you reach that goal.

With a goal thermometer, the below campaign lets its potential donors know that they’re looking to raise $8,000 to be able to give hygiene items to women and girls in Lebanon. We love how they share everything you need to know about their mission and how they will effectively reach it right on their donation page.

Screenshot of a Donorbox fundraising page raising money for a hygiene products donation drive.

4. Form a team

Like any other event, a donation drive takes time and effort to get right. Having a team to assist you will be crucial. Recruit friends, family members, community groups like Boy Scout troops, and more.

When forming a team, several smaller jobs will need to be filled:

  • Meeting with the benefitting nonprofit regularly
  • Creating an online donation page
  • Promoting the event
  • Arranging for food and activities on the event day
  • Organizing and storing items
  • Dropping off the items
  • Keeping track of online donations and any payments
  • Raising more with peer-to-peer fundraising 

You can also seek help from the nonprofit you’re working with. Ask their volunteers and board members to help with online fundraising, marketing, and event arrangements. They’ll have more expertise in these areas.

5. Find a local partner

In addition to your team, you’ll have a better chance at success if you can find a local business willing to become a partner. Companies can offer your drive a few benefits that most donors can’t:

  • Help with advertising
  • Match donations to boost your success
  • Sponsor a larger event to encourage more involvement and donations

Finding a corporate sponsor or matching donors for your donation drive helps you turn it into a bigger event to reach more people. In turn, the business gets to set up a stall at your event to promote its products and services to attendees.

6. Choose an online tool for fundraising and the event

These days most donation drives are online. This means you raise the money online and then buy the necessary items to help the charity. Alternatively, some collect items in person but raise donations or sell tickets to host a community event on that day.

Choose an online tool that helps you with all of the above and offers powerful behind-the-scenes functionality to help you build better relationships with your donation drive donors! Donorbox wmakes it easy to fundraise online, whether you’re launching a fundraising page, event ticketing form, donation form for a website, and more. Discover all of our products and sign up today to start fundraising in less than 15 minutes!

Check out how Hope Active leveraged its Donorbox donation page to collect the funds to purchase Christmas presents for students in need.

Example of an organization raising funds for a toy donation drive.

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7. Promote your donation drive

Social media has become the primary way many people get information about what’s going on in their neighborhoods, and that makes it a great place to share your donation drive! If you have a Facebook group for the community, market the donation drive there along with your fundraising and event page.

Another way to advertise your event is with posters and postcards. Businesses usually allow you to add event posters to storefronts without too much trouble. You can also drop off a few postcards with each store to place next to the cash register in case someone is interested in learning more.

If you’re partnering with a local business, they can help you spread the word about your donation drive.

8. Host the donation drive event in your community

Turn your donation drive into a fun event! This will inspire more generosity and increase the success of your drive.

Invite the nonprofit your drive is benefitting, including board members, volunteers, and staff. Ask them to speak to your event attendees about the cause and beneficiaries. If you’ve already collected donations online, you can ask the nonprofit to thank the donors and tell them about the possible impact.

Lastly, have some fun games and activities to entertain all your attendees. You can keep them close to the mission of the nonprofit and encourage beneficiaries to take part as well. Food, snacks, drinks, raffles, and more will help the nonprofit raise more money with this event.

9. Share results and thank donors

When you’re done with the event, it’s time to thank all your donors and share the results. If you’re holding an event connected with the drive, you can share this information on stage.

If not, you can still share this information online with a few social media posts. You can also write a press release with the campaign results and details to your local newspaper and see if they’d be willing to print it.

Finally, whichever organization you’re raising funds or collecting items for would appreciate each donor’s name and contact information. If you’ve received any donor details, you can send those to the nonprofit, and the donor will receive an acknowledgment letter to use when filing their taxes. This also gives the charity the chance to thank donors personally.

6 Popular Donation Drive Ideas to Implement in Your Community

1. School supplies donation drive

Parents receive a list of necessary items for their children to have every fall before starting school. In the current economy, not all parents can afford these items, and their children go without them, or it falls to the school to provide. A school supply drive can help parents, teachers, and schools keep up with the demand and ensure each student has what they need.

NuevaLife used a Donorbox crowdfunding page to raise over $16,000 for their school supplies donation drive.

Example of an organization using Donorbox to raise money for their school supplies donation drive.

2. Food drives

A food drive is an excellent way to support families in your community and the organizations that have made it their mission to keep these people fed.

Check out how St. John’s Food for the Poor Program is raising money for its food drive with the below donation page. Local volunteers and foundations help run this program and they’ve also mentioned the impact with an image in their campaign description.

donation drive ideas

3. Baby supplies drive

If you’re looking for a way to help families with infants and young children, a baby supply drive will help cut the costs and ensure these families can spend their money on keeping their families fed and healthy. Diapers, formula, bottles, and more are all supplies that families need to care for their children.

You can also collect secondhand materials where possible to distribute to those in need.

4. Blood drives

Blood drives are always in need. Hospitals need blood to help patients after surgeries and keep them healthy through cancer and other treatments. You can work with a local organization to run a blood drive in your community.

5. Donation drive for pet food and items

There are 3,500 animal shelters and another 10,000 rescue groups in the United States. Most of these organizations are run entirely by volunteers. Millions of animals are abandoned every year, and these shelters need pet food and supplies to care for them. A pet food and items drive will help these animals stay healthy and find forever homes.

You can create an online donation drive page like the one below and add suggested donation amounts. This helps people make donations that reflect the amount of items they’d like to donate.

donation drive ideas

6. Books drive

Book drives can help organizations that work with both children and adults to increase literacy rates, which boosts someone’s ability to be employed. The ability to read can give these men, women, and children a chance at a future.

Host a book drive in your community like the Tres Hermanos Foundation in their fundraising campaign that has raised over $43,000. We love how they’ve explained their need in the campaign description, thus creating transparency around it.

Example of an organization using a Donorbox donation page to raise funds for their book drive.

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Final Thoughts

Donation drives are an excellent way to show appreciation and support for your favorite charity. Nonprofits have much to do and few resources to get it done. By holding a donation drive, you’re taking a lot off their plates and ensuring the organization’s future.

If you’d like to learn more ways to support your community, visit our blog for a list of creative and simple community service ideas.

As you host a donation drive in your community and include online fundraising, you need to choose the right online fundraising tool to ensure maximum donations for the charity you’re helping. Donorbox is easy to set up and free to start!  We’ve helped nonprofits, as well as individuals, create simple fundraising pages online. 80,000+ organizations have already raised over $2 billion in donations. Learn about all our features here.

Check out Donorbox Premium – a straightforward and high-powered success package designed for all nonprofits! We help you get access to expert fundraising coaches, excellent tech support, a dedicated account ambassador, and premium tools to boost your fundraising. Pricing is personalized for your nonprofit needs and budget. Book a demo today!

Explore a plethora of other fundraising methods, ideas, tips, downloadable templates, and more on the Donorbox Nonprofit Blog. Subscribe to our newsletter to receive a list of our best resources in your inbox every month.

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Kristine Ensor is a freelance writer with over a decade of experience working with local and international nonprofits. As a nonprofit professional she has specialized in fundraising, marketing, event planning, volunteer management, and board development.

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