5 Keys to a Successful Shoe Fundraising Drive
Shoe drive fundraising events are a fast, easy and innovative way to raise money for your organization and make a greater impact than you thought possible. Typically your nonprofit partners with a shoe fundraising entity, which pays your organization cash for the shoes collected.
Did you know that in the United States there are approximately 600 million shoes that are thrown away each year? These discarded items end up in landfills, which produce toxins as the chemicals in the shoes begin to decompose. Because of the dozens of parts in a shoe or sneaker, it can take up to a lifetime for a single shoe to disintegrate.
There is a better approach. With a shoe drive, your organization can collect all of the shoes in your community. It is an opportunity to get your current supporters re-engaged with your nonprofit, school or church without ever having to ask them to open their wallets. All they have to do is to collect their unwanted and unused shoes that they probably have tucked away in their closets or house basements.
During the course of your campaign, which can last anywhere from 30 to 90 days, you then want to keep some tips in mind:
- Make sure your shoe drive fundraiser is personal. In your continuing communication with your community, your champions must commit to making a certain number of calls to those they know. Nothing is more powerful than having a friend call up another friend to ask for him or her support of the campaign — and not having to open his or her wallet to do good. Your champions want to invite those they know to collect just one bag of shoes with 25 pairs. Here's a relevant fun fact: A couple of years ago, a study determined that the typical woman had 20 pairs of shoes in her closet and only five that she used on a regular basis.
- As in your retirement or investment portfolio, you always want to diversify. Creating a multichannel shoe drive fundraiser is important. This helps you increase the number of people you engage to help your organization raise its goal. When you are starting out on your campaign, make note of and recruit champions for the effort. Then have everyone develop lists of peers, local businesses, churches or schools, and the broader community who can work with you on helping you obtain your goal. There really is no limit to the number of people and organizations whom you can find willing to join you in your efforts to clean out their closets and provide you with unwanted shoes and sneakers.
- Set up measurable weekly goals toward your overall campaign goal so you can keep on target. If you are doing a 30-day campaign, your organization wants to average collecting 25 bags per week. Set up a weekly communication strategy to all of your teams, supporters and donors so they know how your campaign is doing. This helps drive urgency, and as you begin to progress, more and more people will want to join in the fun of helping you reach your goal.
- Pictures and videos move people. Share your videos, pictures and success stories to help keep the campaign fresh and provide motivation for other individuals and teams to want to succeed. Provide strategies and tips for how successful supporters were able to gather their goals for shoes, perhaps in a weekend after the local baseball game. Share videos and photos of champions delivering bags of shoes to your organization to provide a visual reminder that the campaign is active, people are collecting and they are doing so successfully. It also helps to encourage individuals and families to get involved and lend their support to the overall efforts.
- Social media is a great tool to go further than your local community of supporters down the street. It helps you get across town and reach diverse groups of people who may not even be aware of your organization. When using social media for a campaign, create a daily and regular schedule for reaching out to your audience. Retweet comments you receive from supporters. Ensure that you are working across multiple platforms such as Facebook, Twitter or your blog. This enables you to reach out to a broader number of people and to some of the same people in different ways multiple times, which helps your organization stay top of mind.
Finally, at the conclusion of the campaign, let all of your supporters and participants know how many shoes you collected and how much was raised by your organization. People want to be engaged with your organization, and they want to feel that they were part of a successful campaign. Let your community know what happens with the shoes that were collected and how the funds your organization received in exchange for the shoes will be used.
Wayne Elsey is the founder and CEO of Elsey Enterprises. Among his various independent brands, he is also the founder and CEO of Funds2Orgs, a social enterprise that helps nonprofits, schools, churches, civic groups, individuals and others raise funds, while helping to support micro-enterprise (small business) opportunities in developing nations and the environment.
You can learn more about Wayne and obtain free resources, including his books on his blog, Not Your Father’s Charity.