At any point during the year, you can organize a gift drive. Gift drives are organized by volunteers and can last as little as a day, a week or a month. While organizing a gift drive can become complex, the benefit and happiness it will bring to those involved is priceless.
First of all, you need to organize a group of volunteers that are capable and willing to help with the gift drive. You will need people to make and accept telephone calls to local business, families and other volunteers. Telephone volunteers can coordinate with business to get donations. The telephone volunteer can also find families or contact local agencies that are in need of assistance and gather all of the necessary information to help the family/agency in need. Volunteers will be needed to accept the gift donations, store the donations, wrap the donations if necessary and get the gifts to the proper recipients. Your team of volunteers will be the foundation of the drive. If you plan on having a large gift drive, make sure that you have enough volunteers to handle the workload.
Next, decide what type of gift drive you are going to have. Are you going to cater to the needs of children in your area and have a toy drive? Would you rather help hungry families in your area and host a food drive? You might consider having a school drive to help needy children in your area with back to school supplies that often can become expensive for families. Perhaps you would prefer to have a clothing drive to help families that experience natural disasters, fires or are victims of domestic abuse.
The next part of organizing the gift drive is to decide when you would like to have your gift drive. Since most gift drives take place around the holiday season, you might consider having a gift drive at another time during the year. If you are having a school supply drive, that should be coordinated in late July or early August in order to get all of the supplies to the families in need in time for the new school year. Food, clothing and toy drives are appropriate at any time during the year. You should clarify if you want new or gently used items and whether you would like them wrapped or not.
Where to have the gift drive is often one of the largest decisions of the process. Where is a central location that will get alot of public attention and turnout? Having a gift drive off of a country road will not yield as many results as it would if you had it in the parking lot of the mall. Check with local stores and agencies to see if you can set up an area in their parking lot. Some stores will allow you to set up a box and donations can be collected throughout the week or month leading up to a “deadline date”. This is particularly good for food, toys and school supplies.
Gather as much marketing as possible for your gift drive. Post your listing in your local newspaper and try to post on www.craigslist.com as well. You might choose to have volunteers pass out flyers a week before the drive begins or leave flyers on bulletin boards in your area. Laundromats, grocery stores, schools, daycares, medical offices and other stores are often great resources for community event information. Ask the radio or news if you can have a small segment to raise awareness of your gift drive.
All of your donated gifts will need to be organized. You might choose to make each family a “care package” with school supplies or food. Toys and clothes should be organized and sorted by size, age and gender. Create a master list of which family or agency is in need of what and label the items accordingly. Give each volunteer a load of items to donate with a list of the names and addresses to where they items belong.