Hosting a fundraiser like a winter coat drive directly benefits members of your community and makes a serious impact. But it takes a lot of effort and planning to create a successful coat drive.
Between planning the event, spreading the word, and then actually fundraising and allocating funds as needed, a winter coat drive can quickly snowball into avalanche-inducing stress levels.
Luckily, you don’t have to be stuck out in the cold as you plan your next coat drive. Collecting winter coat donations and monetary donations alike should be simple and straightforward.
In this post, we’ll cover:
- Researching & connecting with nonprofits
- Promoting your coat drive
- Planning for monetary donations
- Creative & strategic to promote
- Asking for volunteers
- Reaching out to companies and business to support
- Sharing about your success
- Raising money to increase your impact
How To Plan A Successful Winter Coat Drive
For low-income families and the homeless, winter presents a whole additional set of challenges. Winter coat drives help combat the cold weather and make a huge difference, particularly since proper winter-ready apparel can be expensive. Whether you’re supporting senior citizens, children and families, or the homeless, your winter coat drive is going to help so many people — if you know how to plan and run it effectively.
A winter coat drive can be no-cost if you just use social media and word-of-mouth to promote. Otherwise, expect low setup costs for things like printed flyers.
Once you know you want to take action this winter, it’s time to get planning. Here are 8 steps that you should take to plan the most successful coat drive possible.
1. Research Nonprofits in Your Area
The best place to find out about what your community needs is nonprofits already working to support people in your area. Head to Google and make a list of potential nonprofits to contact. Then, start reaching out!
Once you connect with someone at a local nonprofit, ask about their needs, when they need the coats, and what’s most important to them. They’ll likely have important insights for you about where the most need lies — children’s coats, adult sizing, and even additional items like hats, socks, and gloves.
The nonprofits you connect with will also be able to give you direction for when you should host and finish up your coat drive. Many people have a misconception that fundraisers should only center around the holidays during a season of giving. But really, temperatures begin to drop as early as October and November in some places, so it’s essential to find out when the highest peaks of need are in your community and plan accordingly.
Unsure where to start with researching nonprofits in your area? Consider:
- Women’s and children’s shelters
- Food pantries
- Homeless shelters
- A general search for “X area community nonprofits”
- Searching your town, city, county, or state’s website for resources
- Reaching out to local schools
- Elderly caretaking agencies
2. Start Planning How You’ll Promote Your Winter Coat Drive
Any successful fundraiser starts with strong promotion and getting the word out — and a coat drive is no different. Once you’ve gathered up information from your new nonprofit partner, you can be super specific in the messaging around your coat drive.
Share particular sizes, notes about the quality of the coats (things like zippers needing to work, no large tears, and more), and even include information about the nonprofit you’ll be supporting. Including details about why this is an important cause (and how the need directly impacts your community) helps prompt people to support, as well.
You’ll also want to figure out where you’ll physically be collecting the coats. It’s so important to include information about how people can get involved and support your winter coat drive as you promote it and spread the word.
Some people place collection bins in different areas of their community, and others have one set drop-off location for a period of time. If you do set up collection bins, make sure to clearly label them with bright signage and include relevant details, too!
3. Plan For Monetary Donations
Say someone doesn’t have a gently used coat and doesn’t want to run out and purchase a new one, but wants to support your coat drive. Providing an easy and secure way for them to donate financially will help boost your results by letting those individuals participate.
Braid Pool Links enable you to collect contributions from anyone with a debit or credit card and contributors don’t need to sign-up for Braid to send their contribution. (More on Braid later)
There are a number of benefits to raising money during your coat drive:
- If some of the coats you receive aren’t up-to-par on quality, you’ll have room to replace them in your budget
- You can boost your impact by purchasing coats to supplement what you collect
- You’ll also be able to provide any extra money directly to the nonprofit or community organization to use as they see fit
Big or small, financial contributions are really helpful.
Ready to start raising money for your winter coat drive? Click here to learn more.
4. Get Creative and Strategic About Promoting Your Coat Drive
Most importantly, promote early and often. You’ll want to consistently share about your coat drive for the best results and biggest impact on your community. You won’t bother anyone by sharing on social media, hanging signs, or sharing about it in-person often: people are busy, and most of us want to help, but forget as life gets hectic.
Continuous promotion helps more people remember to follow through and donate. As you create your promotional materials, fliers, and social media posts, make sure to include your Braid Pool Link so that people know where they can send financial contributions.
You can share your Pool Link anywhere. Make it a QR code to add to promotional materials, text the link to friends and family, and share it on social media!
Be creative! Reach out to your child’s school and see if they’d be willing to send home fliers about the coat drive and allow parents to drop off coats at school. If you attend a church, do the same. You can even see if your community has groups that would be willing to spread the word.
Don’t be afraid to go big, too! Reach out to local newspapers or even news or radio stations to see if they’re willing to share and support your coat drive. More often than not, they’ll be happy to support a community initiative, as long as you provide all of those key details (and by now, you’ve already thought them out so carefully, so you’ll be good to go).
5. Ask For Volunteer Support
People can support your winter coat drive beyond donating coats and other items or money to back the cause. At the end of your successful winter coat drive, you’ll have tons of collecting to do…and then the sorting begins!
You’ll want to group together items of different sizes. Especially if you’re collecting items from multiple locations and/or over a long period of time, organizing everything is essential. It’ll make life much easier for the nonprofit and help get these important winter items in the hands of those in need quickly. After all, your goal is to support the nonprofit…and dumping a bunch of random items on them completely unsorted isn’t the best way to do that.
Gathering volunteer support before it’s actually time to collect, sort, and organize your coats at the conclusion of your fundraiser will ensure a seamless, smooth process. Reach out to friends, family, and neighbors; post on social media; you can even include details about volunteering on the promotional materials you create for the coat drive itself.
6. Reach Out To Companies and Businesses For Support
Big corporations sponsor fundraisers often, especially in their local communities. But small businesses may also be willing to support your coat drive in surprising ways. For example, a local bakery and coffee shop may offer a free cup of coffee for everyone who brings in a coat or donates.
There’s no harm in asking, and you’ll be (pleasantly) surprised by how willing businesses are to support your coat drive. Asking for support can exponentially grow the impacts of your winter coat drive.
Have them send monetary donations directly to your Braid Pool or ask if you can give them if they can display a QR code to your winter coat drive’s Pool Link.
Getting the support of local companies and businesses can seriously help boost the impact you’re able to make.
7. Plan To Follow Up and Share About Your Success
Woohoo — you’ve hosted a successful coat drive, and you’re feeling overjoyed about the impact you’ve been able to make on your community. Let others share in that feeling! This helps reward those who supported you…and sets up next year’s fundraiser to be even more successful with repeat supporters.
You can even reach out to your local newspapers or news stations to share about your accomplishments — this helps encourage others to support community initiatives in the future.
8. Increase The Impact Of Your Winter Coat Drive By Raising Money
Winter coat drives are an opportunity to clear out our closets of last season’s trends or coats we don’t plan to wear anymore. But if you have participants who have over cleared their closets, encourage them to make a financial contribution!
That way they can be involved and know that their donations will be used to purchase new coats and other winter items, like hats, gloves, socks, and scarves.o
But how can you conveniently (and securely) collect monetary contributions during your winter coat drive? Use Braid Money Pools.
What are Braid Money Pools?
Braid Money Pools are a dedicated place where you can collect, manage, and spend money for your coat drive. After you set up your pool, simply share the Pool Link to collect donations from anyone.
As the organizer of the coat drive, you can either send the money collected straight to the nonprofit or use Braid’s digital debit card to purchase the supplemental items.
If you have volunteers, invite them to the pool to manage donations. You can also give them spending permissions to allow them to spend money directly from the pool with the Braid debit card. That way, you can delegate the task of purchasing supplemental winter clothing to one of your volunteers.
Now that you’ve made the first step towards making a huge impact on your community - learning the how-tos, get out there, and start collecting those coats!