Can you imagine sending your child to school without a backpack? Because backpacks are expensive and wear out easily, they represent a difficult purchase for cash-strapped parents. Your business can team up with backpack companies and kindhearted consumers to help kids in your local school system. This will help improve your community, as well as promote your business and build trust and rapport with the public.
In order to have the greatest impact on children and their families and to secure the greatest number of donations possible, it's best to have a plan to fill those backpacks with other necessary supplies. Consider these ideas for a backpack donation drive and how to approach backpack manufacturers with requests.
Give the Backpacks a Purpose
Backpacks in and of themselves are a worthy donation, but they don't quite grab people's attention all on their own. That's why using the backpacks to store other donations can turn your campaign into a bigger, better and more successful cause.
Some ideas include nonperishable food items for children who may go hungry when not in school, books to encourage reading among children who may not have access to many books at home or art supplies and notepads to foster creativity in kids whose parents may have no extra money to spend after paying the bills. School supplies and clothing drives also never go amiss.
Fill the backpacks with these items in order to easily distribute them to children in need. If you choose to only focus on backpacks, that's a noble and much-needed goal as well, but you'll need to pay extra attention to the persuasive aspect of asking for donations.
Who to Ask for a Backpack Donation
You can ask for corporate donations from popular backpack brands like JanSport, L.L. Bean, The North Face, Fjallraven and Nixon. Giving back to the community is often a part of the brand culture of larger corporations, so visit their websites and look for a section that gives information about donation requests, like a JanSport donation request. They may already have a form you can fill out to be considered.
If you can't find anything, contact their corporate office or customer service through email or snail mail. Emphasize that you'll promote their brand while asking the community for donations or while talking to the press about the donation drive. Few companies turn down the opportunity for promotion and a chance to showcase their values.
To maximize the amount of donations you'll receive, definitely get the community involved. Use social media to alert people about the need for backpacks (and other items) and tell them to drop off donations at your local business to keep everything centralized.
Send a Persuasive Message
You should approach donors as if they have no idea why children need backpacks. Corporations tend to get a ton of requests for donations, and they'll pick and choose which causes to back. Therefore, you need to send a persuasive message when asking for corporate backpack donations.
If you have statistics on how many children in your community need backpacks and/or the supplies you would put inside them, mention those figures. Tell a story about a child who experiences a disadvantage due to not having a backpack. Talk about how high-quality backpacks from high-end brands can last a child for years, reducing the financial strain on the families. Talk about the impact of the items you want to put in the backpacks as well.
You want them to feel not only compelled to donate but happy that they've done so. Finally, have a plan to send a follow-up report to donors with success stories so they know how meaningful their donations were.
Cathy Habas specializes in marketing, customer experiences, and behind-the-scenes management. Cathy has contributed to sites like Business and Finance, Business 2 Community, and Inside Small Business. She served as the managing editor for a small content marketing agency before continuing with her writing career.