Written by Autumn Sandlin, NSPN Marketing & Communications Intern
The end of the summer season is quickly approaching. School will be back in session soon enough, and with that comes supplies. School supplies can be an underlying source of anxiety for youth and their families. While supplies are essential to a student’s education, they can be expensive and cause a strain on families and their budgets. You can help the youth in your programs ease this burden by holding back—to–school donation drives. Not only will these drives help support youth you serve, but they’re also a great way for the community to become involved with your program(s).
Suggested Items for Donation:
- Loose leaf paper (college & wide-ruled)
- Spiral notebooks (college & wide-ruled)
- Number 2 pencils
- Black & blue ink pens
- Pocket folders with prongs
- Crayons/colored pencils/markers
- Construction paper
- Composition books
- Index cards
- Glue/Glue sticks
Note: These items can change depending on the age of the youth you serve. This is merely a suggested list
There are different routes you can take with a donation drive; and it will be up to you to assess your program’s needs and determine a best fit. You may want to consider placing donation bins at various locations around your area in order to maximize community involvement on an individual, and business level. There’s also the back-pack option, where volunteers would fill back-packs with the items donated to your program. Some agencies may choose to collect donations by placing bins at local businesses and others may plan a community giving day.
When you have decided on the type of donation drive you’d like to do, get the word out! You can hand out fliers/post them around your community, get the local newspaper to do an article on the donation drive, and/or talk to your local radio station. It’s important to get the word out about your drive, and seeking out platforms that have a larger audience is one of the ways to do it.
You should also set goals for your donation drive. These goals can vary. Whether you’d like to see a certain number of volunteers/businesses get involved, or have a number of donated items you’d like to receive, goals will help you maintain organization and give you a ‘bottom line’ to strive for. Try one of these goal charts to track your status and encourage excitement in your office: (click to download)
While paper, pens, and pencils may seem like small, insignificant items; they are the some of the building blocks of education. Your decision to hold a school supply donation drive for youth helps ease the stress and anxiety of the school supply list, and puts the young people you serve on a path to greatness starting at the beginning of the school year.
Written by Elizabeth Smith Miller, Director of Marketing and Events, National Safe Place Network
April is National Volunteer Month, and it is a great time to recruit volunteers for long- and short-term service within your program. Volunteers are beneficial in a number of ways, including being a mentor, helping with remodeling and/or gardening, assisting with operations, and more. Here are some important factors to keep in mind when working with volunteers.
- Understand why people volunteer.
Volunteers will become involved with your program for many reasons.
The basic reasons follow:
- They want to help others.
- They are interested in your agency’s programs and what you offer to your
- They want to learn and gain experience.
- They have free time.
- They are devoted to helping their community.
- They know someone who was/is involved.
- They want to volunteer for religious reasons.
- They want to make a difference.
- Understand what your volunteers are interested in.
Volunteers will not only put more effort into their service but also commit to serving longer if they enjoy what they are doing. In an effort to properly determine the appropriate position, gather information regarding the volunteer’s interest. You may consider using a Volunteer Interest Checklist for this process. Have your volunteers identify their interests. Do they prefer working with youth, teaching a skill, picking up or delivering items, washing automobiles or providing maintenance support, performing clerical duties? Take time to get to know your volunteers before placement.
- Understand the value of volunteers.
Volunteers, like staff, need to be linked into your program in ways that ensure they are productive, challenged, and given an opportunity to grow. They should be valued for what they do and who they are. Volunteers are NOT free. There are real costs associated with recruiting, interviewing/screening, training, evaluating, and recognizing volunteers. Effective supervision is a necessary investment. The volunteer coordinator and staff who assist the volunteers must recognize that time must be allocated to relating to, managing, and assisting the volunteers. Staff must be available to volunteers in order to relate to them on both a professional and a personal basis. Volunteers are dedicated to your organization—it’s important for your organization to be dedicated to them. Don’t forget to say “thank you.” Ways to recognize your volunteers are limitless.
Recognizing volunteers is crucial to sustaining their interest and dedication. Remember above when I shared the reasons they are volunteering? Providing recognition validates that their service is making a difference and meeting their needs. There are lots of ways you can recognize volunteers—and not all recognition requires a budget line.
There are two types of awards; both are given periodically to recognize the efforts of volunteers.
- Group photographs
- Items of clothing, such as T-shirts, caps, etc.
- Small gifts
- Tailor recognition to the volunteer.
- What type of recognition would be most meaningful to the particular volunteer?
- Some prefer public and some appreciate smaller private recognition.
- If appropriate and welcomed, grant recognition in a public forum, preferably among the peer group of the volunteer.
- Time recognition so that it is as close as possible to the achievement of the volunteer.
This is just a small snippet of the helpful information available about volunteerism. If you’re interested in learning more about volunteers, including setting up a volunteer program, position development and design, recruitment, screening, volunteer checklists, interviewing, volunteer orientation and training, service records, program director and staff training, supervision, and recognition, feel free to contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org.