It’s Time to Donate a Coat

Boots are being dusted off, scarves are being taken out of storage and the leaves of the trees are turning their beautiful hues. Fall is just underway, and that can only mean one thing: winter’s coming. While you may have had your winter gear packed away, not everyone is as fortunate. So this fall consider organizing a coat drive. Here’s how to go about it.

Assemble Your Team
School clubs, youth groups, work place fundraisers or service organizations often look for a fun fall charity activity to take part in, and your cause could be just what they’re looking for. Call around and find a group willing to put in some time and effort.

You also need to find an organization in need of coats. Homeless shelters, soup kitchens or women’s and children’s shelters are all options to consider. Again, make some calls and see who sounds eager. Most if not all would be thrilled to have coats donated—so select one that you feel that will do the best at distributing the coats you collect.

Spread the Word
Stating the obvious, coats are an essential part to any coat drive. So once you have a location—malls, churches, schools or community centers are all viable options—and a time set, next up on your list is finding people to donate gently used or new coats to your cause. Hang up flyers in schools, put up posters in churches and local work places, see if you can advertise your event on a radio station or try to get a story in the local newspaper. Advertise your event in as many places you can think of, and remember to clearly post the date, location and time of your drive.

The Big Event
How your event is designed is up to you. It can be as simple as having large collection boxes set up with a couple volunteers manning each position, or a collection table set up where donors can attach personal messages to their donations. Collection tables organized by size (men’s, women’s and children’s) are useful for you to make the post-drive distribution process simpler. But whatever format you choose, it’s recommended that you have it last a minimum of two days. People oftentimes forget the first day, but your presence will be a great reminder for them to bring their coats in the second day.

Post Drive
If possible, it’s nice to get an estimated number of coats received and report your positive impact back to the sources of the donations. Oftentimes, agencies have “Share your Success” pages featured on their website. Tell donors about this page (if the nonprofit you’re using has one), and tell them to check it a few days after your event for a report. People enjoy knowing how much of an impact they’ve contributed to, and it’s a good way to get them looking at the nonprofit’s website for future donations or events.