Planning a Donation Drive


You should begin by recruiting volunteers to help you with your donation drive.  Dividing up the work of a drive is the best way to make the project less stressful, more manageable, and more fun. 


  • Drive Coordinator:  the team member in charge of it all.  We recommend that there be one leader to coordinate the different elements of the drive throughout the process of planning, collection, and delivery.  The drive coordinator monitors the progress of the planning and serves as the point of contact for your group. 
  • Publicity:  decide on the team member(s) who will help to get the word out about your event.  
  • Collection & Sorting:  the team member(s) who gather the donations, look them over, and prepare them for delivery. 
  • Delivery: the team member(s) who gets the donations to the organizations. 
  • Toy Drives 

The winter holiday season can be an extremely stressful time for families that are struggling each day to meet their basic needs.  Hosting a new toy drive will help support families by providing them with a few toys that they can give to their children. 

  • Coats, Hats, and Mittens Drives 

The winter in New Jersey can be extremely cold.  Some families cannot afford to buy children coats, hats, and mittens to protect them from this weather. Hosting coat, hat, and mitten drives will help keep area children warm during the winter months.  

  • Food Drives 

Food drives are good at any time during the year.  In fact, it is best to do food drives during any month but November and December since those are popular months for food drives.  Consider partnering with the Rutgers Student Food Pantry.   

  • Hygiene Drive 

Many community partners collect hygiene bags so that people can who cannot afford these items can be able to shower and brush their teeth.  For this drive, items can be collected in complete sets or individually, where the drive team will package the items.   

Items:  Soap, toothpaste, shampoo, body lotion, band aids, kid’s and adult’s soft toothbrushes, disposable razors, deodorant, combs, brushes, hair bands, hair clips. 


The most important part of setting up a drive is determining the duration.  Drives can last a day, a week, or even months.  For large schools like Rutgers, we suggest that the drive last no longer than one or two weeks.  The longer you drag it out the less likely people will think of donating (because they always think they’ll have more time!) 

The time of year that a drive is held can really make a difference on the amount of items that are donated.  Three suggested times of year are: 

  • Change of Seasons- A “spring cleaning” or “end of summer sweep” drive can help parents and students clean out their closets when you are looking for gently used items. 
  • Holiday Drives- Hosting a donation drive during the holiday months can be great when you are seeking brand-new items for donations. 
  • Back to School- In August when families are buying supplies for the new school year you may want to run a drive and suggest they buy extra items to donate. 

Your drive won’t be successful if no one knows its happening! 

Make use of multiple marketing assets to reach your audience: posters and flyers, social media, newsletters, and word of mouth.  Take advantage of classes, work meetings, residence halls, and dining halls to spread the word about the drive and the programs it will benefit.  Hearing directly from you and you team will inspire others to support the event.   

Items to mention in your announcements: 

  • Who will be receiving the donations. 
  • What you are collecting for your specific drive. 
  • When you are collecting the items. 
  • Where to leave donations. 
  • Contact name in case anyone has questions. 

Cardboard boxes work well.  Locate your donation boxes in high traffic public areas.  Lunchrooms, work rooms, and lobbies all make great drop-off locations.  In order to have a collection box in any of the Rutgers Student Centers a reservation request must be made with Meetings and Events Office.  Detailed expectations for collection boxes will be given upon confirmation. Collection coordinators should watch boxes every day during the drive.  We suggest you remove any items with significant value immediately and sort them in a secure location.   


If possible, pre-sort the donations collected during your drive to ensure that all the items are clean and in good condition.  Pre-sorting donations makes the job easier and helps get the items into the hands for children and families even faster.   

Watch for these common problems: stains, rips, missing buttons, logos or pictures with violent themes, dirty clothing, toys with missing pieces, baby equipment or furniture made more than five years ago. 


Please do your best to arrange your own delivery of donated items.  Always travel together in groups. 


It is important to let those who supported the drive know how well things went.  This allows them see that they were integral to the success of the drive and helps them feel appreciated.  It will also help to encourage continued involvement in future drives.  Most importantly, congratulate yourself on a job well done and celebrate the success!