As the seasons change across the country, our minds shift to the holidays. For many, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. For some, it means stretching their budget and tightening up their pursestrings more than ever. For others, the economic strain is creating new needs being felt by more individuals, impacting lives around the nation.
Fortunately, it’s also the time of year when thoughts turn to donations and charitable gifts as individuals, families, and businesses seek tangible ways to give back to their local and global communities.
As you begin to gear up for your own clothing drive to support a charity your thoughts likely include the quandary: where to place collection bins. You’ve seen them in grocery stores, department stores, schools, libraries, and churches. You’ve probably picked up something on your own shopping journeys and dropped it off in a bin.
One major challenge for organizers is assuring that needs are met without having an overabundance of unnecessary items. Thanks to the internet and mobile devices, collection and donation drives have evolved to help hit the mark on clothing drives with safe and effective transactions, like this clothing drive with RSUI School Support.
1. Identify the Need
As with any collection or donation drive, determine the need. Before planning and launching, know who you are giving to and what their needs are. For winter clothing, consider clothing and boot sizes, mittens or gloves or both, hats and scarves, and how many you need in each category. You should be specific in your requests, as the quality of winter wear can vary greatly – “coats,” for example, span the range from thin jackets to thick winter coats. Consider going online for your winter clothing drive to help ensure that you receive exactly what you need to be successful.
Partnering with Roonga offers several options for your winter clothing needs: the bulk purchase of winter items if you already have the funds, an online platform for a donation drive, and the ability to launch individualized adopt-a-person drives to ensure specific sizes and requests are met by generous donors.
2. Before You Launch
Planning ahead is key to hosting a successful winter clothing drive. Consider whether you want to connect your launch with a special occasion, such as Thanksgiving, and begin planning immediately. You will need at least a month to plan drives that run up to six weeks.
The more time spent planning the event, the more likely you are to succeed. Increased planning time allows you to consider logistics, supply availability, and weather considerations. The extra planning time also allows you to successfully navigate any last minutes changes that may arise.
3. Finding Partners
A successful clothing drive can’t be done on your own. Finding partners and working collaboratively is essential in meeting the needs of your drive. Consider partnering with local companies, services clubs, and religious groups. Their circles of influence can reach donors who may otherwise miss out on the opportunity to donate with physical donations or through online electronic means. By increasing the overall outreach footprint of your drive, you help ensure it’s success with partners who are eager and empowered to support your effort.
4. Soft Launch
A soft launch to a limited group of devoted fans or formidable fundraisers can build campaign momentum before your formal contribution drive opens to the general public. Gaining momentum with your early adopter audience is crucial since people are more likely to give to a cause if it has previously raised funds or gathered donations.
Send an email to your supporters asking for feedback and donations. Would they alter anything? Is the message you are attempting to convey clear? Do the message and the drive spark their interest and curiosity? Is the donation process simple? Encourage them to shop from the online drive and to share the links to their social circles.
5. Track and Monitor
Most collection drives start strong. There is an inherent seasonal excitement driving many to donate and do their part to help others during the holiday season. While the goals on the drive won’t likely be met in the first few days, these early days provide you with a baseline of support and allow you to track your donations, pivoting your appeal message as needed based on early contributions.
During these early days continue to provide donor updates through emails. While social media posts have their place in promotion and marketing, email remains the best way to engage donors and secure donations. Be sure to send those follow-up emails.
6. Give Thanks
Once the donations are in and distributed, the work isn’t quite finished. Remember to give thanks and show appreciation. Wherever possible, personally contact and thank a donor. Otherwise, leave a message of thanks and appreciation on the various social media platforms and email messages. Connecting with donors—ensuring that they are valued and appreciated—helps secure the foundation for future drives, increasing your ability to reach out and continue supporting your community.
Need help planning?
Looking for some inspiration as you plan your winter clothing drive? The temperature has been dropping rapidly, and we have many drives already underway. Winter wear features heavily in many holiday programs. Check out these some of our past and present drives to build ideas and stir inspiration:
- Winter Warmth Drive – https://www.roonga.com/winterwarmthuwp
- Winter Drive – https://www.roonga.com/lehighwinterdrive
- Rise Toy Drive – https://www.roonga.com/2022risetoydrive
- Holiday Giving (Adopt a Family) – https://www.roonga.com/holidaygiving2022
If you would like to learn more about how to organize a winter clothing drive, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy planning!