Giving Without Receiving: Why Shelters Need Your Donations this Season

Stephen Geri Donations and Charities

 

When cooler temperatures roll around for the winter, we all know that the holidays are coming soon after. Although San Antonio and the general state of Texas have an average of about 220 sunny days per year, the weather can still bring temperatures in the low 30s and 40s during the winter months. Winter is known as the “giving season” where charitable and philanthropic efforts increase and shelters are able to provide for those in need. Whether you donate food, money, or clothing, shelters need your help.

 

Providing a Warm Meal

Food banks, pantries, and kitchens are local organizations that provide warm meals to people within the community. At a place like the San Antonio Food Bank, or any other food bank for that matter, you can contribute in a few ways:

 

  • Volunteer
  • Give a Monetary Donation
  • Donate food

 

Fighting hunger is what food banks do on a daily basis. Giving a warm meal to an individual or family in need requires volunteers and donations to remain open. No matter what way you give to a food bank, whether that be your time, your money, or your donations of food, you’re giving someone a basic necessity of life.

 

Handing Out Winter Clothing

Clothing collections are another way shelters are able to provide for those in need. Although clothing is collected on a year round basis, it’s even more critical in the winter as a means to staying warm. Shelters collect clothing items such as:

 

  • Winter coats
  • Socks
  • Pants
  • Sweaters
  • Shoes

 

The great thing about donating clothing is that not only do you get to declutter your closet, but you get a chance to give something you no longer need to someone who can truly use it as a gift. There are plenty of places that collect clothing and other items to give to those in need.

 

Keeping Animals Healthy

Not all shelters are human focused, rather some shelters are open to help pets. Animal shelters such as the San Antonio Humane Society collect donations in order to provide a place for homeless animals and promote adoption, giving animals a second chance to a good home. Most shelters need monetary donations and volunteers the most. You can simply volunteer an hour of your time to walk a dog or play with a kitten and make a big impact on the welfare of animals.

No matter how you choose to give back this season, the truth is that you are providing a need in someone else’s life. Even small gestures can have lasting impacts on the lives of those in need.

6 Key Components to Fundraising for Charity

Stephen Geri Fundraising

Fundraising for charity is a wonderful thing; there is no doubt about that. However, the fundraising process can be a bit of a logistics nightmare if it isn’t thoroughly planned out. Since you want to make the most out of your charity drive, you will want to consider a few key components for developing and executing a successful fundraising event for the charity of your choice. As you start to formulate your plans, keep these following six key components in mind.

 

1. Establish Your Intent and Goals

Start off by establishing your intent. What is it you hope to accomplish? What are your goals for the fundraiser? You will likely have more than one goal, which is typical for fundraising events. Select a reasonable amount of money that you want to get from your efforts. This amount might depend on how long you intend to run your fundraiser and what kind of turnout you expect.

 

2. Budget and Pool Your Resources

What types of resources are already at your disposal? Pool them together and assess what you already have versus what you will need to invest in. You will also need to draft an inventory of expenses. How much will you be paying for a booth rental at an event? How much will it cost to get printed materials? Remember, your budget must include your fundraising goals, and be sure to leave room in your budget for any unforeseen additional expenses.

 

3. Market Toward Your Target Audience

Who is most likely to donate to your charity? Why should they donate? Knowing your target audience and what motivates them to support your selected cause is crucial. Your marketing procedures should be present in your social media accounts since the Internet is now the fastest way to spread the word about a fundraiser. Make sure your pitch to your target audience is concise, free of flowery words, and doesn’t read like a guilt-trip into donating.

 

4. Settle On a Sales/Donations Plan

How are people going to donate? Do you want to have different donation levels in place at your event? Settle on a cohesive sales/donation plan that will attract the most attention from your target audience.

 

5. Enlist Volunteers

Volunteers are the backbone of fundraising! Enlist a few volunteers to assist in your fundraiser. This helps you reduce costs of paying employees to attend an event and encourages giving behaviors.

 

6. Show Your Gratitude

This seems like a no-brainer, but show your gratitude to donors and volunteers. Incentivize donations with small but, desirable rewards, such as a raffle for a gift card or gift basket.

Your next fundraiser doesn’t have to be a headache. Taking these key components into consideration can help you better plan a fundraiser. The better you plan it, the better chance you have at meeting and possibly exceeding your goals.

 

Non-Traditional Ways to Give

Stephen Geri Non TraditionalThe idea of philanthropy, giving back or volunteering of any sorts typically revolves around monetary donations. Anyone with a passion to give back should be open to the various ways and opportunities charity presents, even if they stray from traditional ideas. Here are a few innovative ways you can get involved.

Clothing Donations

Thrift stores are charitable non-profits that aim to provide affordable, gently used clothing to local communities. The fashion industry is constantly raising it’s prices, lowering the amount of people who can afford new items to their wardrobe. On top of that, many can’t afford brand new items. That’s why thrift stores are entirely necessary to providing clothing in your community. If you have items in your closet that you haven’t worn in months, or years even, consider donating your clothing to a thrift or consignment shop in your area. Not only will the clothing you donate go to those who can’t afford items elsewhere, but thrift stores give percentages of their revenue to supporting intellectual disabilities as well as the homeless.

Solve Community Problem

You don’t have to own or even be part of a non-profit organization to make a difference in your community. If you see an issue arise or know of a problem, find ways to solve it. Having the right connections in your community can bring a team together. Reach out to build your team through flyers and advertising. Let them know what the issue is, when you plan to do something about it and most importantly how you need their help. Together, you and your community can combat a local issue for a better, brighter community.

Host a Benefit

If there is a cause or issue you are passionate about, host a benefit or fundraiser and donate to that cause. Not only will this help the cause financially, but it will take it a step further by spreading awareness. Often the word of mouth is a great way to get others to care about a cause. This opens up the opportunity for so many people to give back, beyond just yourself. Use this time to show people what you care about and how they can get involved. 

Volunteer Your Skills

Your community can utilize your skills and knowledge. If you have a particular talent, business or craft, volunteer that in any way you can think of. If you have a landscaping business, offer those services to the elderly in your community or to those who don’t have the ability to take care of their exterior. Another skillset that any community can use is painters. Whether you paint homes, offices or other buildings in your community, make your community look clean with a fresh coat of paint. There are so many more skills and opportunities to give back to your community.

Giving back to your community doesn’t have to be at all conventional. Any idea you have to give back, your community will appreciate. Time goes beyond money. Your community will be a better place if one person acts to make a difference.