As people settle into their routines after a busy Fall of activities, now is the perfect time to start thinking about what you as a group want to do for the holiday season. December is upon us, and now is the time to get to work planning holiday events. In addition to activities for members of your church or organization to enjoy, you should also think of the less-fortunate people around you and ways for you to live out your faith and make a practical impact. Take the initiative to organize a charitable giving drive this fall so you can have a real impact on the lives of the people around you.
Choose your cause
The more specific your cause is, the easier it will be to rally people. Brainstorm causes your group cares about and choose the one that seems best to donate to this year. For example, if you live in an area with a significant military population, you may want to create Christmas care packages for soldiers or organize an initiative to support military wives and kids with practical assistance while their husbands are away. If you’re in a cold climate, perhaps you want to gather warm clothing for children whose parents can’t afford it. Or maybe you want to help feed the needy so they can enjoy a holiday meal, too.
Find an organizational ally
Before organizing your own event, check to see if there’s already an organization that does what you would like to do. Partnering with a larger group makes your job easier and provides the infrastructure to make your giving as efficient as possible. You may be able to not only donate, but also volunteer to help spread the word, sort donations or distribute donations. For example, Operation Christmas Child passes out boxes of toys and basic necessities overseas, your local food bank may host a holiday meal, and your homeless shelter may distribute clothes and blankets to people who need them. Charity Navigator is a helpful online resource to search for applicable charities.
Plan and execute your donation drive
Make a list of the practical details that people will need to know in order to participate. For example, decide what donations you need, where you will collect them, and when the deadline is. Also decide how you will assign different items to different people if you need a variety of donations. For example, you may assign people with last names starting with A-L to get girls clothing for your drive, while M-Z buy for the boys.
Once you know the details, it’s time to spread the word. Post information on your church or organization’s website, send out details in your e-mail newsletter, print it in the church bulletin and add a slide with details to your visual presentations. If your drive culminates in a time for sorting or distributing donations, create an event on Facebook and invite individuals and post it in your status updates. You can also spread the word on Twitter to remind people to bring in their donations.
Remember the reason for the season
It’s easy to get bogged down in the details as you deal with logistics, but remember to keep an eye on the ultimate goal of demonstrating love to people around you. Your donation drive will help meet real needs, and every bit of work is worth it because of the tangible results. If this year’s drive goes well, you can even make it an annual tradition during the holiday season.
[Image via The Davis Enterprise]