Success in school starts with having the right materials. For some families dealing with unemployment and homelessness, it can be a challenge to afford a backpack and school supplies. With the help of a backpack donation drive, you can make sure these children get the supplies they need.
Here are some of the most important considerations when selecting items to include in your donation drives.
Planning Your School Supplies Drive
Planning is the key to a successful donation drive. Early planning ensures that you are able to anticipate challenges in outreach and distribution logistics properly. It also allows you to make adjustments based on item availability and the needs of your recipients.
Timing is everything. Give yourself a head start and as much time as possible to carry out your plan and collect donations from your community! When planning your backpack drive, you might want to schedule it so that you’ll be ready to hand out the donations before the start of the school year, when children need them most.
When collecting donations from your community, make sure to let donors know what you’re looking for. You don’t need to limit yourself to school bags, you can ask for school supplies as well. That way, you can give each child a backpack filled with the items they need to do their schoolwork.
Monetary donations can also make a big impact. With the help of your friends and family, you can create a children’s fund to provide supplies for low-income students. A non-profit supplier can offer high-quality supplies at affordable wholesale prices.
1. Quality Backpacks
When organizing a backpack drive, you’ll need to make sure that you have plenty of new, high quality backpacks. Stay away from low-cost backpacks that do not last beyond a few weeks. The most common issues reported by organizations are size (too small), zipper quality, and tearing/fraying at the seams.
Gender-neutral backpacks are the best choice because you can provide backpacks to children interchangeably instead of worrying about the number of backpacks for girls versus boys. And particularly for the older students, make sure the backpacks are durable. Middle and high school students carry much more on their back than students in elementary school, so it’s important to check for sufficient padding, thicker material on the bottom, and larger sizes.
2. Graph Paper
When the school supply season comes around every year, many donors think about crayons, markers, and paper. These supplies are the hallmark of practically every drive. However, for older students, there are more specialized needs such as graph paper. When students start taking higher math courses, graph paper is often requested by teachers to not just help with graphing, but also with understanding arrays, collecting and representing data, and geometry. So as you’re compiling your school supply lists, make sure to check if graph paper has been requested by math teachers in middle and high school – and if so, help your donors understand the need.
3. Reusable Water Bottles
Many schools now recommend students to bring reusable water bottles to school so they can drink throughout the day as needed. Many schools are even replacing or adding hands-free water filling stations so that students do not need to use water fountains. The size of the water bottles needed will depend on the age and student’s needs. A young child may only need a 9-12 oz water bottle while an older student with after school sports may need a larger 18-20 oz water bottle. If the school does have easily accessible filling stations, a smaller bottle may be sufficient (reducing carrying weight as well). Plastic is the lightest material, but the sturdier materials like aluminum and stainless steel will last longer.
4. Art Supplies
Although basic school supplies are the focus of many drives, it’s worth considering the addition of art supplies to a backpack kit. Especially given high anxiety these past few years, and the therapeutic effect of art, the addition of art supplies allows students to be creative and express themselves. Colored pencils, markers, and crayons are already commonly included , but construction paper, sketch pads, and watercolor paint sets can also be added cost effectively
Traditional donation drives collect supplies in person via collection bins set up at schools, churches, and other locations. However, you can supplement this traditional approach with an online donation drive.
Roonga provides the ability to run online collection drives efficiently. An online drive makes it easy for people to buy backpacks and school supplies, and you can also track how many of each item you have received – and who purchased what! What’s more, you can leverage our supplier network for low cost bulk purchases!We’re passionate about helping charities accomplish more. Learn how our dedicated team can support your next donation drive. You may send us an email or contact us at Roonga today!