The holidays are known as an exceptionally merry time, but things often become even more challenging for low-income families. It's common for the kids in these families to go without gifts during Christmas. 

Suppose you're passionate about philanthropy and supporting a great cause this season. In that case, you may be in the perfect position to host a holiday toy drive for deserving children in your community. 

It's easy, fun, rewarding, and will only take up a little of your time, especially if you involve coworkers, family members, and friends. 

Use the following tips to run an impactful Christmas toy drive that makes a real difference in the lives of children and families this year. 

  1. Research local nonprofits
  2. Plan your promotion strategy 
  3. Designate a drop-off point
  4. Plan to accept monetary donations 
  5. Host a "toy party"
  6. Creatively promote your toy drive
  7. Round up volunteers 
  8. Reach out to local businesses for support
  9. Increase your impact by raising money 

1. Research local nonprofits to support 

One of the best ways to begin your toy drive setup is to find out what your community needs. An easy way to do this is to find out how nonprofits are already working to support people in your area. Research on Google and make a list of nonprofits—then shoot them an email or call them directly. 

Once connected, ask about their organization's needs, when they start asking for toys, and what's most important to their mission. They'll probably have essential insights into their top needs—what kinds of toys and for which age ranges. 

Many individuals make the mistake of thinking that fundraisers should only occur before Christmas. But toys and gifts are always appreciated, even past the traditional season of giving. The nonprofits you contact can also guide you regarding when you should host and wrap up your toy drive. 

Wondering where to start with researching nonprofits in your area? Try the following resources: 

  • Women's and children's shelters
  • Homeless shelters
  • Food pantries
  • Churches
  • A general search for "X city's community nonprofits" 
  • Your county's website 
  • Local schools and after-school programs 

2. Begin strategizing how you'll promote your gift drive

Any successful charity fundraiser begins with getting the word out—and a toy drive is no different. Once you've compiled your research from your nonprofit partners, you can hone in on specific messaging around your toy drive. 

Share toy needs, including what kinds of gifts for which age ranges (e.g., legos, stuffed animals, and dolls for young kids, or puzzles, books, and board games for older kids), and even include information about which nonprofits you'll support. 

Include details about why this is a vital cause (and how the efforts will directly impact your community) to help prompt people to donate. 

You should also determine where you'll physically collect the toys. It's essential to include information on how people can donate, get involved, and support your holiday toy drive as you promote it and spread the word. 

Some individuals place collection bins in various areas of their community, and others pick one set drop-off location for a set time period. If you set up collection bins, label them with informative signage with relevant details on what kind of toys you'll accept. 

3. Designate a drop-off point

Designate a convenient drop-off point for donators. Ensure the drop-off point is in a convenient, accessible area so people can easily and quickly drop off their donations. You may designate multiple drop-off points, bringing in even more toys.

It's wise to attach your signage to the bin you're using, so it's super clear that it's the drop-off point. Ensure the collection bin is easy to spot and not hidden behind buildings or greenery. You want to ensure you get all donations because people can't find your bin! 

Placing a few toys in your drop-off bins is also great because people can be wary of an empty container. Donators are more likely to drop toys if they see others already doing so. Grab a couple of donations to put in each of your bins to get things going. 

4. Plan to accept monetary donations

Say someone doesn't have a toy to donate—or they don't have enough time or energy to go shopping. They still want to support your toy drive—what do you do? 

Providing an easy and secure way for them to donate with money will help boost your results and let them still participate. 

Braid Pool Links enable you to collect donations from anyone with a debit or credit card, and contributors don't need to sign-up for Braid to send their donations (more on Braid a little later!) 

There are several benefits to raising money during your toy drive: 

  • If some of the toys you receive aren't quite up-to-par in quality, you'll have the freedom to replace them in your budget
  • You can increase your impact by purchasing toys to supplement what you collect
  • You'll also be able to donate any extra money directly to the nonprofit or community organization to aid in other areas of their work

Big or small, monetary donations are beneficial. 

Ready to start raising money for your winter toy drive? Click here to learn more.

5. Host a "toy party"

If your office plans to hold a holiday party this year, consider making it a toy party where everyone brings a toy as the "ticket" to the party. 

Set a price limit for the toys to make them more affordable for everyone to participate. This will add more fun to the party and support a toy drive for children and families in need. 

Surely, everybody in the office will happily use this opportunity to show their care and compassion for those who may not have much to celebrate this holiday season.

6. Creatively promote your toy drive

To make the most of your toy drive and help as many people in your community as possible, promote it consistently and widely. This can include sharing it on social media, hanging signs, and mentioning it to friends, family, and colleagues. 

People are busy and may forget about your drive, so reminding them will help them remember to participate and donate. 

When creating your promotional materials, such as fliers and social media posts, make sure to include your Braid Pool Link, where people can send their financial contributions. You can also make the link available as a QR code or share it through other channels, such as text messages and community groups. 

To reach even more people, consider contacting local newspapers or radio stations and giving them the details of your local toy drive. Most of the time, they will be happy to support a community initiative. 

Be creative, and don't hesitate to ask for help! Tell them how they can send monetary donations to your drive by sharing the Pool Link. Click here to start your toy drive pool with Braid today. 

7. Round up volunteers for your local toy drive

Your winter toy drive can benefit from more than just toy and financial donations. Once you have collected the items, sorting them by age and other criteria is important to make it easier for the nonprofit organization to distribute them to those in need. 

This will also help ensure that the items are distributed quickly and efficiently. To make the sorting process smoother, consider recruiting volunteers in advance through social media, word of mouth, or your promotional materials.

 By organizing your toy drive and involving more people, you can support the nonprofit organization and families who need toys during the holiday season.

8. Reach out to local businesses for support

Consider reaching out to local businesses, both big and small, to ask for their support for your holiday toy drive. 

They may be willing to offer promotions, such as a free cup of coffee for every toy or donation, or display a QR code to your Braid Pool Link, where people can send their financial contributions on their bulletin board or front window. 

Asking for business support can help expand your toy drive's reach and impact. You may be surprised by how willing businesses are to help and the difference they can make in your community.

9. Increase the impact of your toy drive by raising money 

Toy drives are an opportunity to clear our children's rooms with toys they don't play with anymore. But if you have participants who don't have kids, encourage them to make a financial contribution!   

That way, they can be involved and know that their donations will be used to purchase new toys that will surely put a smile on children's faces. 

But how can you seamlessly (and securely) collect monetary contributions during your winter toy drive? Use Braid Money Pools. 

What are Braid Money Pools?

Braid Money Pools are a dedicated place to collect, manage, and spend money for your toy drive. After you set up your pool, share the Pool Link to collect donations from anyone. 

As the toy drive organizer, you can either send the money collected directly to the nonprofit or use Braid's digital debit card to purchase supplemental toys. 

If you have volunteers helping with the drive, you can invite them to the pool to manage the donations and give them spending permission to allow them to purchase items directly with the Braid debit card. That way, you can delegate the task of buying supplemental toys to one of your volunteers.

Now you've learned how to start a toy drive from the ground up. Get out there and start collecting toys and donations!