How to Start a School-Supply Drive for Your Community
There are far too many barriers to a sound education for kids. They may lack support from their families, missing school several times a week or not doing their homework as a result. A learning disorder may derail their focus during class, or a behavior problem may keep them out of the classroom. So many things need to go right, making structured learning seem impossible sometimes. For this reason, it’s important parents and caring citizens take initiative to prevent another roadblock to successful learning: a lack of school supplies.
Limited school supplies affect thousands of students who lack the means to acquire supplies and hundreds of schools without the finances to supplement students’ materials. This is why school-supply drives are so effective: they meet a present and urgent need. Amid the COVID-19 uncertainty, school-supply drives will likely play an even bigger role for students. Drives would provide access to pens, paper, art supplies, calculators, and more that parents won’t be able to afford come fall because they lost income during the pandemic. If you have a heart to help, read our guide on how to start a school-supply drive for your community.
Determine Your Goal
After deciding you want to start a supply drive, you need to determine your goal and create a plan. If you want your drive to be for certain supplies—maybe to give local junior high schoolers in your area calculators—tailor your drive to a specific item. If you prefer to generally ask for all manner of school supplies, that works too. Either way, making a decision helps you communicate your mission to others and go forward.
Garner Interest in Starting a Supply Drive
Another tip for starting a school-supply drive for your community is to drum up interest in the drive. Understand that you cannot do this alone—you need your friends, local businesses, and other passionate people or organizations to make your drive run smoothly. Local businesses in particular want to communicate an investment in the community to build consumer trust, so be sure to talk through a partnership with as many businesses as you can.
Also know that assessing others’ interest is when you secure volunteers to help you actually acquire, store, and deliver your school supplies. This too you cannot do alone.
Determine a School’s Need
Next, ask people who know their school district what they think students need. Teachers in your area are excellent resources because they can tell you their needs and their students’ needs as you toss around the idea of a drive.
If you want a more holistic idea of schools’ needs, begin communicating with administration officials. They can not only give you an idea of what students need district-wide, but connect you with people and resources to make your drive a success.
Give Potential Participants Options
As you shift to planning the drive itself, consider giving people different ways they can give. Some people are used to and prefer giving concrete items, while others appreciate the ease of giving money to your cause. Set up a simple way for people to give money if they so choose. You can even set up an online channel for donations if you have the technical capability.
Spread the Word
Once you nail down what your school-supply drive will raise and who will make it happen, you can begin marketing your drive. You can spread the word through social media and through the school’s own network.
Through Social Media
Social media is a powerful tool for modern networking. If you’re the parent of a current or recent student at the school you’re giving to, check to see if there are online communities for that school or your town. You may already be in one perfect for your marketing purposes. If you aren’t a parent, search for one of these social media groups and pitch your idea. You may even get more help putting on the drive by doing this.
Through the School
Make use of the school’s network. If you gain their support, they can notify the public in their own way. Perhaps through them, you can take advantage of the town’s broad communication channels and gain donors.
Hold Your Supply Drive
Next, you finally hold your supply drive. This can be a one-day event, extend over a weekend, or even span several weeks. The benefit to a quick drive is you don’t have to wait for supplies and can build up public awareness for that certain day or weekend. Meanwhile, the benefit to holding a longer drive is you may raise more from people unable or unwilling to attend an event.
If you choose to hold a quicker event over one or a handful of days, have a location ready to go and a plan for the day or weekend. With COVID-19 very much on people’s minds, you need to not only pick a feasible location to have people cycle through, but think long and hard about what sanitation practices to institute. This option also may require more volunteers to make it happen.
A Weeks-Long Drive
You can be more flexible with a longer school-supplies drive. Installing drop-off containers that volunteers routinely check allows for easy, contactless donations. Throughout the weeks, it would help your overall haul to notify people of the drive’s progress and recommunicate how they can still help you reach your goal.
Deliver the Supplies You Receive
Finally, when you have your school supplies in hand, you need to deliver everything to the school or organization you’re partnering with. Make sure you have enough volunteers on hand to help, and once again strive for consistent sanitation practices. Talk with school administrators about delivering the donations. Depending on distance and your ability to transport the supplies, it may be simpler to ship the supplies to the school.
If you begin to plan your school-supply drive and are looking for suppliers donors can buy from, consider recommending BackpacksUSA to them. We carry wholesale bulk school supplies that would be perfect for almost any supply drive. You’ll find that buying wholesale supplies is the best way to connect as many students with what they need throughout the school day, allowing you do the most good for the students and teachers you want to help.