With the holidays fast approaching, you or your company may be thinking you would like to do something this year to give back. A toy drive is an awesome idea! And it is something that you will never regret the amount of time and effort you spend on such a great cause. For so many families who struggle to give their children a nice holiday season, this season is full of stress and anxiety. These parents who are barely getting by still want to give their children the excitement and experience the joy of receiving that one toy that they dream about.
So where do you start to help? The first step is to secure a self storage unit to house all the donations you are going to collect. You should plan to rent a 10×10 or 10×15, which allows for plenty of room for the donations, but also has room to set up two or three tables against one side wall to sort the toys before they get dispersed to the children in the community. Make sure to have the storage unit rented with tables ready at least one week before your drive begins.
Next step is to decide which nonprofit organization will be the recipient of all you collect. Toys for Tots is a well-known national drive lead by the U.S. Marines. You can sign up to be an official donation site online, and they will even deliver you donation boxes to set out at your business or organization. But there are also very likely smaller organizations in your community that have a great need. Ask around and make some calls to the local churches, shelters and elementary schools. If you cannot find a reputable local source, Toys for Tots is a fantastic option. They provide timelines for each donation and community, so be sure to adhere by those guidelines.
Now decide where you will set up your collection spots and place the donation boxes, and when your drive will take place. You can ask local schools, churches, day care centers, the fire department, police and other small local businesses. Keep a list of who is willing to help, and set up a schedule to collect the donations every week or two during the toy drive and place inside your storage unit. Typically for a holiday drive, you should start at the beginning of November and end it around mid-December. This gives you plenty of time to collect donations, and time to sort the toys by age, gender, type and so on, then distribute them in time for the holidays. And if you are using Toys for Tots, they will schedule a final pick up or drop off date for you to end your toy drive.
At least one month before your drive begins, prepare signage and flyers for advertising and decorate bins or boxes. The earlier you start to prepare the better your results will be. Social media is a great way to advertise as well. Make sure it is clear where your official collection locations are so they can be found by the members of your community. Get the word out before the drive starts, and promote it until the day before it ends. Email your friends and family and ask them to spread the word. See if your kids’ schools will hang up your donation flyers, or send a copy home with each kid.
The day prior to your toy drive start date, deliver the collection boxes to every business and organization who agreed to help and be a collection location. Add a few toys of your own to each box, don’t start with empty bins. Typically, people are more apt to donate when they see others are giving to such a great cause. The holiday spirit comes out in most of us the closer we get to the holidays. And part of that holiday spirit is the spirit of giving.
If you are a member of a company, community or retailer (which are all usually ready and willing to give back) and would like to plan a toy drive this holiday season, consider how self storage can assist you in securely storing your collections. Talk with any of our property managers to get started, and spread holiday cheer. And if you are ready to get your storage unit and prepare, you can rent it online 24/7. Best of luck with your toy drive!