Make it easy to give

I wondered if was easy to tag-on a canned-food drive to an event. It seems like lots of events do, and it’s certainly not asking much of attendees to “pay” for attending the event with a food donation.

We went to a party at my son’s Little Gym yesterday in South Austin, and they were collecting cans and cash donations for the Capital Area Food Bank. The party was to celebrate Little Gym’s new relationship with Disney – some kind of marketing partnership, I assume – so I didn’t expect a fundraiser on top of that.

The Little Gym’s staff is small, though they’re very dedicated to the children. Pulling off an event this size seemed like a big enough feat in itself – two moonwalks, games, free snacks, and Grupo Fantasma to play (the lead singer is my son’s teacher). So to add a food drive on top of it all… must be easy to do, right?

I went to the Food Bank Web site and found a nice sidebar listing – in easy-to-follow language – all the steps to take to have a successful drive. The downloadable Food and Fund Drive Coordinator Kit goes into more detail, and even offer suggestions and downloadable posters and promotional material. And the food-drive registration form is easy to complete, too.

The overall impression I got was that hosting a food drive is easy. How great is that?

I wonder how much this contributes to the Food Bank’s success. The forms and downloadable posters are one thing, but they’ve also obviously thought all this through. They didn’t just put it all in plain language and simple instructions, they made the process easy itself.

I also wonder how many other organizations are missing out on donations and volunteers because they make the process and instructions overly complicated. It seems like a big challenge for Austin NPOs is in creating easy and obvious ways for people to give – money, books, toys, clothes, food, school supplies…

I can see this as a regular department in GoodCause. A “So you want to give…” section that features something different each month. A “So you want to give… children’s clothes” story would list all the places that take children’s clothes and give them directly to the people who need them. Personally, I would appreciate this kind of information. I know these days some people take their stuff directly to eBay or Craigslist or hold some kind of garage sale, but a lot of us are too lazy/busy to do all that … and Austin charities should captialize on our laziness!

By the way, if anyone knows any charity that needs gently used wedding decorations, please let me know.

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