51,405,898 meals provided so far in 2019
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Building Your Drive

Building Your Drive2019-12-10T00:01:09+00:00

Building Your Drive

Getting started

What all successful drives have in common is a solid goal and a plan for reaching it. With just a bit of preparation, any drive can make a huge difference. Here are some tips:

Start with a goal: Having a goal is a great way to drive participation – whether it’s a dollar amount or poundage, or both. Share your goal, and keep everyone motivated by providing updates on your progress. Don’t forget to celebrate so everyone can be part of your success.

Also, don’t be afraid to get creative with your goal. What would you like to accomplish beyond dollars and pounds? Find a goal that reflects what is unique about your organization or your mission as a team.

Set a narrative and inspire: Why are you getting involved? Why does Second Harvest’s mission matter to you and/or your organization? Explain why food access is so important, or share your personal story to inspire participation.

Take the lead and get support: Be the champion of your drive and a resource for your team. Ask others in your organization for their support and buy-in, including key staff and management. Also, don’t underestimate your cheerleaders. Make sure people who are excited about the drive join your team as motivators or team captains to help encourage others. Leadership is imperative to success, and more support is always better!

Set a communication plan: Share, share, share! Make use of email, lobby displays, social media and other communication channels to raise awareness about your drive.

Host a kickoff event: A great way to start your drive with a bang is to hold a kickoff event to let everyone know what’s going on and build excitement. Invite a representative from Second Harvest to come and share what the food bank does.

Host a drive day: Pick a designated day to host your event and give staff the time to participate and get involved.

Provide incentives: Help participants rally around a goal by offering up creative or fun rewards that will energize and motivate your team.

Encourage friendly competition: You can create multiple teams when you register for your drive. Have your teams go head to head in a battle for office or school dominance to see who can collect the most gifts or the most food. Maybe competition means something else to your organization? Want to see who can make the highest can tower or the longest can wall? You might want to see who can donate the most canned tuna or what team can donate their weight in food. Throw down the gauntlet!

Use our food drive checklist: We have a food drive checklist you can use to help you stay on track.

Getting creative: ideas to share

Want to host a drive that’s fun, engaging and memorable? Make the drive your own! Think about what makes your team, workplace, organization or school unique. What do they do better than anyone else? Build a drive, complete with goals and incentives, around what makes your group unique, and reflects how you collaborate and what motivates you.

Need some ideas? Here are a few based on organization types to help you get started:

Corporations
Schools
Congregations
Friends and family

Corporations

CEO challenge: When you reach a goal for your drive, have your top leader do a challenge like wearing a funny costume or singing in front of a crowd. You can build on this challenge by having a pie-in-the-face, dunking booth or duct tape wall with your top administrator on board.

Executive or company match: Have an executive commit to a personal match for employee giving. This could be for the whole duration of the fundraiser or just a specific day or time. If your company matches employee giving, encourage staff to double their impact during your drive.

Food of the day: Help provide Second Harvest clients with the food they need most by assigning certain days to collect most-needed foods. For example: Tuna Tuesday, Wheaties Wednesday, or Fruity Fridays.

Assigning most-needed foods: Have different groups collect different items. Challenge them to see who can collect the most.

CANstruction: Cans are made to be stacked, which means they can be unique building blocks. Challenge your team to make can sculptures, or your company’s logo, out of cans. Build a racetrack out of cans and race remote control cars. Make a can mini-golf course and start putting.

Brown bag lunch: Encourage everyone to bring their lunch on a specific day and suggest they donate the cost of a meal out to the fundraiser. You can even invite someone from Second Harvest to give a presentation during lunchtime.

Coffee fundraiser: Encourage participants to forgo their morning coffee and donate what they would have spent to your fundraiser.

Aspiring chef competition: Organize the aspiring chefs in your office to cook a special lunch. Charge your co-workers a suggested donation to eat the delicious meal. Add to this by having individuals vote for the best dish with $1 equaling one vote. Or you can have company executives serve as celebrity chefs or waiters for the day and collect tips as donations.

Penalty donation: If someone is late, their phone goes off in a meeting, or anyone commits any other office foul during the drive, have them make a donation as a penalty.

Buy a dress-down pass: Set an amount needed to earn a pass for a dress-down day at the office. This could be a pass to wear jeans and t-shirts for a day or a week, whatever is appropriate for your workplace.

Bake sale: Host a sale where the proceeds go to Second Harvest.

Fun run: Host a fun run or walk, or even a tournament of the office’s favorite sport, on your campus where the entry fee is a donation to the food bank.

The highest bidder: We all have creative skills and talents. Hold a charity auction and bid on creative services like web or design work, or it could be photography, cooking or knitting classes taught by your coworkers. Have a coveted parking spot next to the CEO or a corner office everyone wants? Auction it off.

Hold an annual staff event: Is your staff having an employee appreciation event, a team building day or a holiday party? Help the community by charging an entry fee of cans of food or a donation.

Don’t forget! Every drive, no matter the size, is helping to make a difference for our neighbors in Silicon Valley. Drives provide hope – you provide hope! So, develop your plan, get creative, have fun and help our neighbors access the food they need to thrive.

Schools

Principal or teacher challenge: When you reach a goal for your drive, have your top leader do a challenge like wearing a funny costume or singing in front of a crowd. You can build on this challenge by having a pie-in-the-face, dunking booth or duct tape wall with your top leader on board.

Food of the day: Help provide Second Harvest clients with the food they need most by assigning certain days to collect most-needed foods. For example: Tuna Tuesday, Wheaties Wednesday or Fruity Fridays.

Assigning most-needed foods: Have each grade or class collect a different item from the most-needed foods list. Challenge them to see who can collect the most.

CANstruction: Cans are made to be stacked, which means they can be unique building blocks. Challenge your students to make can sculptures of your mascot. Build a racetrack out of cans and race remote control cars. Make a can mini-golf course and start putting. It’s a fun way to play with your food!

Brown bag lunch: Encourage everyone to bring their lunch on a specific day and suggest they donate the cost of a meal out to the fundraiser.

PTA involvement: Involving parents in your school’s drive can be a recipe for success. If you have multiple parent organizations, encourage some friendly competition to see who can raise the most support.

Read to feed: For every book a student reads, the school donates to the food bank. The class that reads the most books gets a field-trip tour of the food bank and a party hosted by the principal at the end of the year.

Extra credit: Offer students extra credit opportunities for bringing in food items to donate to the food drive.

Bake sale: Host a sale where the proceeds go to Second Harvest.

Fun run: Host a fun run or walk, or even a tournament of the students’ favorite sport, on your campus where the entry fee is a donation to the food bank.

Don’t forget! Every drive, no matter the size, is helping to make a difference for our neighbors in Silicon Valley. Drives provide hope – you provide hope! So, develop your plan, get creative, have fun and help our neighbors access the food they need to thrive.

Educational activities to incorporate into your drive

  • Use your drive as an opportunity to create lesson plans around hunger and food insecurity. Invite someone from Second Harvest to speak at your school or bring your class to the food bank for a tour.
  • Using scenarios that replicate the conditions many food bank clients face, create a lesson plan asking students to see how they can get food for their families when they don’t earn enough to pay all of their bills. You can add to this challenge by also requiring participants to track the nutritional information of the foods they are providing to their families. Read more
  • Host a CalFresh challenge: Could you eat on $5 a day? CalFresh, the food benefit program for low-income individuals, allots less than $5 per day for food in many California counties. Through this challenge, students can experience the struggle many families face getting enough food through public assistance programs. See an example of the challenge from the San Diego Hunger Coalition.
  • Host an Oxfam Hunger Banquet that dramatizes the inequitable distribution of food. Check out the Hunger Banquet Kit from OxFam America.

 Additional resources

Books on hunger and food insecurity

K-8:

  • Maddi’s Fridge by Lois Brandt
  • Uncle Willie and the Soup Kitchen by DyAnne DiSalvo-Ryan
  • Stone Soup by Marcia Brown
  • Gettin’ Through Thursday by Melrose Cooper
  • A Kids’ Guide to Hunger & Homelessness by Cathryn Berger Kaye
  • The Greatest Table by Michael J. Rosen

High school and college:

  • Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich
  • Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond
  • Free for All: Fixing School Food in America by Janet Poppendieck
  • The Working Poor: Invisible in America by David K. Shipler

Congregations

Food drive scavenger hunt: In teams, go around your neighborhood, or to the homes of congregation members, and collect as much nonperishable food as you can. Be sure to explain that you are collecting donations for Second Harvest. Points can be assigned for different food items. For example, healthy cereal is 50 points, canned vegetables are 40 and rice is 30.

Interfaith hunger event: Get together with other faith-based organizations in your community to stand together in the fight against hunger. This could be a concert, a guest speaker, a luncheon or any other event that works for your congregation.

Coffee fundraiser: Encourage participants to forgo their morning coffee and donate what they would have spent to your fundraiser.

Share your lunch: Encourage participants to eat a brown bag lunch on a specific day and donate the cost of a meal out to your drive.

Bake sale: Host a sale where the proceeds go to Second Harvest.

Don’t forget! Every drive, no matter the size, is helping to make a difference for our neighbors in Silicon Valley. Drives provide hope – you provide hope! So, set your foundation, get creative, have fun and help our neighbors access the food they need.

Friends, family and individual drives

Birthdays and special events: What better way to celebrate a birthday, anniversary, or other special event than to give back? Host a party and ask invitees to donate cans of food or donate through a virtual food drive for your birthday.

Food drive scavenger hunt: In teams, go around your neighborhood, or to the homes of friends and family, and collect as much non-perishable food as you can. Be sure to explain that you are collecting donations for Second Harvest. Points can be assigned for different food items. For example, canned meats and stews are 50 points, canned vegetables are 40 and healthy cereals are 30.

Friendsgiving: Host a dinner at your home to raise awareness about hunger in our community. Encourage guests to make a donation.

Advent calendar: Encourage family and friends to make a small gift, like a favorite healthy snack, every day of the Christmas season to help our neighbors.

Pay with food: Host a holiday party, a backyard game night, a movie night or any fun gathering of family and friends with their ticket to the evening being a donation to help feed our neighbors.

Make the meal the message: Throw a backyard barbeque, a chili cook-off, a grilling competition or a picnic for a fun and tasty way to bring a group together to help end hunger in our community. Their ticket to a wonderful meal would be a donation.

Don’t forget! Every drive, no matter the size, is helping to make a difference for our neighbors in Silicon Valley. Drives provide hope – you  provide hope! So, develop your plan, get creative, have fun and help our neighbors access the food they need to thrive.