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Providing holiday toys for children is a struggle for many low-income families. Perhaps you have considered running a toy drive but were unsure how to start. This year, take the step to start a holiday toy drive - you'll never regret the time and effort you spent on this great cause. And, new tools exist, like the free, online drive service, YouGiveGoods, to make running your drive very simple. Between the economic hardship brought about by COVID-19 and the difficulties is collection drives due to social distancing, virtual toy drives this year are more important that ever. Read on for tips on how to run your toy drive.

The holidays are synonymous with toys. It is a joyous time for most. But, for struggling families it is a time of stress and anxiety. Parents barely getting by still want their children to experience the joy and excitement of receiving the toys of their dreams. Thankfully, holiday toy drives help fill the need.

Running your own toy drive is a great way to give back even more during the holiday season. Just follow these simple steps to start your drive:

  • 1) Research and choose your nonprofit recipient. Places to start are your local fire and police departments, boys and girls clubs, YMCA, and children's programs. You'll want to discuss their goals and requirements before you get started. YouGiveGoods can help by connecting you with a charity in your area. See how four New York businesses ran toy drives to raise over 300 toys for The New York Foundling's holiday gift event for area children.
  • 2) Set your drive dates. Your nonprofit should have a distribution date in mind so you'll need to work backwards from that date. The more time you allow for the drive, the better. Typically holiday toy drives run from early November through early/mid December.
  • 3) Create a drive flyer. Be creative! Create a flyer that is colorful, informative and clearly outlines the details of your drive. Be sure to include the nonprofit recipient name so donors know exactly where their donations are going. (If you run an online YouGiveGoods drive, no flyer is needed to promote your drive!)
  • 4) Promote, promote, promote. Put up your flyer around town. Ask friends to spread the word via social media. Partner with the nonprofit so they can also help promote. YouGiveGoods drives are built for social sharing. Your online community will love the ease of shopping online to support your cause.
  • 5) Put out donation bins. Include flyers and signage so your bins cannot be missed. Choose locations that people will have easy access to. Kick-off your drive by adding your own donations to the bins. People are wary of empty bins and will be more likely to donate if there are already donations in the bin. (Skip this step too if holding a YouGiveGoods drive).
  • 6) Bring it online. A traditional collection bin drive is a great place to start, but the new wave of drives is online. Add an online option to your existing toy drive or run an online toy drive on on its own. YGG drives are made for social sharing. Email friends and family, include your drive link and ask for their support. Share your drive on all your social media outlets. Post updates often. Friends may need to see your drive on social media a few times before they are compelled to act. Utilizing the online component allows friends and family from out of town to support your local cause. Shopping your online drive is quick and easy. And, the impact of your drive can be exponentially increased by adding a corporate sponsor. If your employer is not a good match, talk to family and friends to find a local business that will sponsor your drive and open it up to their employees. See how the Denver, CO office of Fidelity Investments raised over 800 toys for area children in need.

YouGiveGoods has upgraded the traditional collection bin toy drive. Your holiday drive can now be done entirely online if you choose. No need to create a flyer or set out collection bins! Toys available on YGG have been selected with nonprofits in mind. While they are grateful for any and all donations, the controlled assortment of toys offered by YGG is typically preferred by the nonprofit. The uniformity of donated toys actually makes for a more equitable distribution of toys. See how Northrop Grumman employees raised over 700 toys for children of military families across the country through their YouGiveGoods corporate holiday toy drive.

Whatever method you choose, we encourage you to make this the year that you take action. Whether you collect 10 toys or 1,000 you will make a difference in the life of a child.

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