Snapshot: The Capitol Hill Diaper Drive completed its second annual drive in September 2012 and nearly doubled the total number of diapers collected – 7,907 – from the year before. The event took place over two weeks and included many members of the community.
Getting three well known and loved local businesses involved in the drive
Recruiting a cadre of committed volunteers (total volunteers: a dozen) and dividing the work
Getting out into the community – signs, listservs, and presence
Where: Capitol Hill, Washington, DC
When: Two weeks in September (including 3 Saturdays)
Results: Nearly 8,000 diapers (double the year before) and over $500 in donations
Amanda Moniz was a relatively new mom when she learned about the DC Diaper Bank – it was an issue she knew she could get involved with and one she knew she could impact. “I got involved because I believe in the Diaper Bank’s mission. But it also appealed to me because organizing a diaper drive is a manageable time commitment. Even with all the demands of a baby, I could still help others.” So Amanda started talking to some other moms she knew and they brainstormed a way to do a drive beyond just their circle of friends.
They wanted to involve the whole community in the drive and raise awareness about diaper need while doing it. “We wanted to make supporting babies and families in need a community event– as much as the annual Family Fest in the fall or trick-or-treating on Halloween. The Hill is a strong community and the Diaper Drive makes our community and the communities we help stronger.” They decided to approach local businesses in the neighborhood about being drop off locations for diapers and to see if they might sweeten the deal by offering small incentives for people to donate.
The planning group approached three small businesses that were family-oriented or had strong neighborhood ties and each one agreed to take part in the drive. They timed the drive for mid-late September when folks were back in town from vacations and already into the groove of school schedules.
Working with Local Businesses
The three local businesses – Metro Mutts, Playseum, and ShawaFel each offered a small discount or incentive when people donated a package of diapers at their location. They also helped publicize the drive on Twitter, Facebook, etc. “The businesses were very happy to help. The cause is important – and it’s good for business for them. Everyone wins.”
In all, a dozen volunteers helped with the Second Annual Capitol Hill Diaper Drive. One person organized the overall drive. Another volunteer organized outreach booths at a busy location – Eastern Market – for the first two Saturdays of the drive. Two volunteers did outreach at another farmers’ market on the first weekend of the drive. Several volunteers helped staff the Eastern Market booths, while two people donated the money to pay the booth permit for Eastern Market. Another woman made eye-catching signs for the collection boxes at the three businesses, while a couple other volunteers went to pick up diapers every few days at the businesses so the boxes didn’t overflow. A few people also responded to listserv messages to help gin up support and build momentum. Finally, three volunteers tallied the diapers.
Getting the Word Out
Volunteers for the diaper drive staffed tables at Eastern Market and at H Street Farmer’s Market over two weekends handing out flyers and “I donated” stickers, collecting diapers and even some cash (in a jar like a tip jar), and talking to folks – most of all parents with young kids – about the drive and the need for diapers in our community. We even asked people to donate diapers from their diaper bags – and they did!
The outreach at the markets made a huge difference. Many people we talked to came back the second weekend with diapers and others donated at the three local businesses. The flyers included information on the incentives the businesses were offering. Kids loved the “I donated” stickers.
Advice for Planning Your Own Community Drive
– Think BIG and think about what is important in your community
– Involve local businesses
– Do outreach at places that a lot of people pass by.
– Many hands make light work
– Name the drive to make it an event and consider making it annual. It will build on itself.
– “Eat, breathe and live your diaper drive. Every encounter in your neighborhood is a chance to ask for help. Wear a Diaper Bank pin during the whole drive. Offer to help other community events (especially charitable efforts) even in a small way – and then ask for those folks to plug the Diaper Drive. Ask friends and neighbors to donate – and ask them to ask others. Mention the drive every chance you get. Be relentless. It’s for a good cause.”
Ready to Hold a Diaper Drive in YOUR Community?? Check out the Diaper Drive Toolkit for some ideas and get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org!