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.  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?  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.

Enroll online: Set up your virtual food drive.  

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, social media and other communication channels to raise awareness about your drive.

Host a virtual kickoff event: A great way to start your drive with a bang is to hold a virtual kickoff event to let everyone know what’s going on and build excitement. Invite a representative from Second Harvest to 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 dominance to see who can collect the most gifts. Throw down the gauntlet!

Use our virtual food drive checklist: We have a virtual 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 at your next virtual meeting.

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

Skip coffee or a meal out: Encourage everyone to donate the cost of their morning coffee, a meal out or both to the drive. You can even invite someone from Second Harvest to give a presentation during a virtual lunchtime event.

Host a TED Talk-style event: Host a livestream presentation with a speaker or panel on a topic like leadership lessons or hunger. Include a link and call to action for your attendees to donate to your drive.

Social media takeover: Have a Second Harvest-focused “takeover” of your social media accounts by sharing content from our website, social media pages and your virtual drive donation link.

Fuel up: Encourage supporters to donate their fuel, mileage and insurance savings from working at home to support Second Harvest.

Virtual garage sales and auctions: Sell your unneeded items in a virtual garage sale or host a virtual auction with funds going to support Second Harvest. Consider auctioning off skills you can share or services like web design or photography.

Online contests and competitions: Participants can pay to enter and donations count as votes! Create a contest that is connected somehow to your drive:

  • Talent contest: Invite executives at your company to serve as judges in an America’s Got Talent-style competition.
  • Photography contest: Host a photography competition with prizes for different categories. May we suggest a food category?
  • Costume contest: A food-themed contest works great for this.
  • Art or drawing contest: Create a theme or several categories. This is a great way to also include kids!
  • Aspiring chef competition: Organize the aspiring chefs in your office to give an online cooking lesson. Charge your coworkers a suggested donation to attend the lessons. Add to this by having individuals vote for the best dish with $1 equaling one vote.

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.

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 at the next school-wide virtual meeting.

Online contests and competitions: Students can pay to enter and donations count as votes! Create a contest that is connected somehow to your drive:

  • Talent contest: Invite teachers to serve as judges in an America’s Got Talent-style competition.
  • Photography contest: Host a photography competition with prizes for different categories. May we suggest a food category?
  • Costume contest: A food-themed contest works great for this.
  • Art or drawing contest: Create a theme or several categories.
  • Aspiring chef competition: Organize the aspiring chefs in your school to give an online cooking lesson. Charge students and parents a suggested donation to attend the lessons. Add to this by having individuals vote for the best dish with $1 equaling one vote.

Skip coffee or a meal out: Encourage everyone to donate the cost of their morning coffee, a meal out or both to the drive.

Social media takeover: Have a Second Harvest-focused “takeover” of your social media accounts by sharing content from our website, social media pages and your virtual drive donation link.

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 Second Harvest.

Extra credit: Offer students extra credit opportunities for making a gift online.

Virtual garage sales and auctions: Sell your unneeded items in a virtual garage sale or host a virtual auction with funds going to support Second Harvest. Consider auctioning off skills you can share or services like web design, photography or tutoring.

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 to your school.
  • Using scenarios that replicate the conditions many Second Harvest 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

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, or any other virtual event that works for your congregation.

Skip coffee or a meal out: Encourage everyone to donate the cost of their morning coffee, a meal out or both to the fundraiser. You can even invite someone from Second Harvest to give a presentation during a virtual lunchtime event.

Fuel up: Encourage supporters to donate their fuel and insurance savings from working at home to support Second Harvest.

Virtual garage sales and auctions: Sell your unneeded items in a virtual garage sale or host a virtual auction with funds going to support Second Harvest. Consider auctioning off skills you can share like cooking a favorite recipe or services like web design or photography.

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 to thrive.

Friends, family and individual drives

Host a virtual concert: Share music and make a difference. Ask your concertgoers to make a suggested donation in exchange for a ticket.

Class or workshop: Offer a paid cooking lesson, a yoga lesson or more and donate the proceeds to Second Harvest. Other classes you can offer are meditation, exercise, art, knitting or a foreign language.

Fuel up: Encourage friends and family to donate their fuel and insurance savings from working at home to support Second Harvest.

Fitness challenge: Want to make your fundraiser a fun, healthy and impactful experience? Click here to learn more about a variety of ways to add a fitness component to your fundraiser.

Virtual garage sale: Sell your unneeded items with funds going to support Second Harvest.

Online trivia night: Put your knowledge to the test and have teams compete for the top spot. Make a gift to Second Harvest to join a team.

Watch party: Host a virtual watch party for a documentary or film related to food insecurity. Choose a movie, schedule a time, and ask for donations or sell “tickets” to the event. Even have movie snacks and candy shipped to participants ahead of time. View a list of some suggested films related hunger here.

Game night: Bring people together to socialize and play Pictionary, trivia, Bingo or other online board games. You could also organize a gaming tournament with multi-player games like Call of Duty, Rock Bank, Mario Kart or FIFA. You can view some online group game options here.

Birthdays and special events: What better way to celebrate a birthday, anniversary or other special event than to give back? Host a virtual party and encourage others to donate instead of giving gifts.

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

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.