After signing up to host a shoe drive through Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls®, we always receive one question back: How do I make this shoe drive successful?” There is no rubric to this answer, no yes or no answer sheet and no perfect way to host a shoe drive because every family, business, church and organization is different, but when you rearrange your own personal definition of success, your perspective changes.
Think about it like this: Each pair of shoes or socks represents one child. One child receiving hope and love in the form of new shoes or socks. Therefore, that one pair of shoes is successful.
New shoes not only meet physical needs, they have a powerful way of communicating deeply to a child about their worth and showing them someone cares. Many of the children we serve don’t have much, if anything, to call their own. So, handing them a new pair of shoes speaks volumes and is a blessing on so many levels. Do not ever be discouraged by “small” numbers because we serve a God who can use “small” numbers in big ways.
When it comes down to it, you are the best advocate for your shoe drive, and we’ve got five tips for you to achieve the best shoe drive for your community.
- Pick a date and time frame
Don’t let this overwhelm you. Think about what is already going on in your community throughout the year and capitalize on events or seasons that would work well for a shoe drive. For example, holidays and back to school are great times to host shoe drives because most people are already out shopping. The best thing is, Buckner accepts and needs shoes all year long, so no matter what date you pick, there will always be a need. The length of a shoe drive is up to you, though most drives last between two weeks to a month. This gives ample time for participants to hear about the event, buy shoes and drop them off.
- Register your shoe drive online at www.buckner.org/shoes
Registering through our online service will allow you to make contact with a coordinator who is available to answer any of your questions throughout the drive. You also will receive our “shoe drive packet” that includes posters, brochures, a DVD and more information to help you promote your shoe drive. Additionally, when you register, we will inform you of any special events or volunteer opportunities with Shoes for Orphan Souls.
- Clearly communicate the details of the drive
Before you begin your shoe drive, it is helpful to have all the details already in place. Shoe drive hosts can never over-communicate these details. Make sure to announce what type of shoes are needed, shoe drop off locations and how long the shoe drive will last. We accept all sizes and types of shoes, with our greatest need being adult athletic shoes sizes 5 and up. Let everyone know this.
- Use your personal platform
Whether your personal platform consists of social media, an e-mail list or an organization you belong to, let your people know you are hosting a shoe drive. Update your circle about why you are hosting a shoe drive and inform them how they can get involved. Show progress and post pictures so people can feel like they are right there with you and helping you.
- Have fun
Remember no matter what the outcome, vulnerable children will be blessed by your efforts!