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Learn how donating gently worn, used and new shoes help nonprofits fundraise.

Nonprofits often need to get creative with fundraising, which means finding new but proven revenue-generating strategies. Sprucing up your organization’s fundraising portfolio helps you stand out in the sea of nonprofit fundraisers. Believe it or not, there’s a solution that you probably have in your closet! Shoes, or even recycling athletic shoes, may be the right twist on fundraising that your organization needs.

Fundraising is vital for all organizations, so take a creative approach to generate any and all revenue possibilities. Ready to find out how athletic footwear can boost your organization’s funds? Let’s jump straight in!

1. Host a Running Shoe Drive Fundraiser

Shoe drive fundraisers are a great way to boost funds and get your supporters more involved. When you partner with a shoe drive fundraising coordinator, you receive money for collecting supporters’ shoes and sneakers. Plus, these fundraisers are easy to do and require minimal extra work from your team.

How Shoe Drive Fundraisers Work

Most people have shoes and sneakers lying around that they no longer want or wear. Shoe drive fundraisers allow community members to turn their gently worn, used and new shoes into someone else’s treasure. Running shoes are a bit different. You could still make a social impact, but a top motivator for people is that it’s a way to recycle sneakers they no longer use.

Once your organization decides to launch a shoe drive fundraiser, the process looks something like this:

  • Collect gently worn, used and new running shoes.
  • Ship the shoes (usually in a pre-paid bag).
  • Receive a check in the mail.

Instead of letting their shoes take up room or end up in the trash, encourage your community members to repurpose them. This way, they make a positive difference for your nonprofit while also clearing out space in their homes.

Shoe drive fundraisers are efficient, innovative, and easy to facilitate. If you have never hosted a shoe drive fundraiser before and are unsure how to begin, look no further. There’s a resource to help guide you through the process. Funds2Orgs is the leading shoe drive fundraising coordinator that can provide your nonprofit compensation for gently worn, used and new shoes.

By sending the shoes to entrepreneurs in developing economies, Funds2Orgs is a true partner in your nonprofit’s efforts toward furthering social good—and global impact. When you do a shoe drive fundraiser, your nonprofit gets associated with the idea of enhancing welfare across the globe. And that kind of concept is perfect for making a name for your organization in your community and beyond. All you have to do is collect the shoes, and they’ll support you from start to finish!

2. Revamp Your Current Fundraising Events

It’s easy for nonprofits to follow a routine of hosting the same kinds of fundraising events repeatedly. The best part about a shoe drive fundraiser is that it can pair with nearly any other fundraiser to add a twist to traditional nonprofit events. That way, you’ll never run out of effective fundraising ideas.

For instance, try coordinating a shoe drive fundraiser with one of these classic fundraisers:

The possible combinations are endless. In fact, the event doesn’t even have to be sports-related. You can always encourage participants to bring their pairs of gently worn, used and new shoes or sneakers to any events as an entry fee. The only limit is your imagination!

Not only does adding a shoe drive fundraiser revamp your current event efforts, but it generates additional revenue, too.

3. Give Supporters a New Way to Give

Donors support your cause because they see it as worthy. They want to continue giving, but at times it’s challenging to stay engaged. However, athletic shoe recycling programs intrigue your supporters and increase participation!

For instance, your nonprofit can engage supporters by hosting a different type of fundraiser, such as a mud run or an obstacle course. You can even target sports teams to join, as they’re likely to have athletic shoes at home and enjoy physical events. These athletic shoes could be recycled to make a significant social impact.

Either charge a pair of athletic shoes as entry or have them hand you their gently worn, used and new sneakers during the event. They’ll enjoy cleaning out their closets while supporting a cause they care about (and have fun doing it)! Learn more about recycling sneakers and other popular ways to raise money with Sneakers4Funds.

To increase retention rates and avoid donor and volunteer burnout, give them a new, innovative way to support your cause. To take a different approach, host a sneaker recycling program as a standalone event. Then, recruit your donors and other supporters as volunteers. When you put them in charge, supporters can feel more connected with your cause.

4. Appeal to a Different Type of Donor

Even though your supporters may have a passion for giving, they may not have the capacity to give. In other words, they feel strongly about your cause but don’t have the financial means to donate.

Donations come in many forms. In fact, they don’t always have to be financial. Your supporters can donate other useful items to uplift your cause, such as shoes.

By asking people to donate their spare shoes and athletic shoes, you open the door for supporters to give back without having to open their wallets. Plus, donors recognize your efforts to make giving more accessible. Not only does this attract new donors, but it also makes current supporters feel more connected with your organization.

5. Get the Whole Community Involved

Hosting inclusive events means creating chances for everyone to participate. That way, you can attract the most potential supporters and get your whole community involved.

To encourage the entire community to participate in your shoe drive fundraiser, consider the following strategies:

  • Conduct community outreach. Post flyers around town and encourage your supporters to spread the word to friends and family.
  • Actively promote your fundraiser online. Make use of email and social media marketing. After all, most of your supporters are online.
  • Tailor your event to the community. Center your event or even just its theme around community members’ interests. That way, more people will be intrigued to attend.

Generally, some people are more willing to participate in a campaign if they can take some concrete, tangible action. While this action could be in the form of financial donations, it can also be item donations like sneakers and shoes. Plus, donors understand what they’re giving and what their contribution does.

Whatever approach you take, ensure you don’t limit yourself to only your current supporters. Instead, invite the entire community to participate.

6. Make it a Group Fundraising Effort

To get supporters more involved, turn it into a team fundraising effort. In this hands-on approach, have volunteer participants collect the athletic and regular shoes for you!

Group fundraising can take many shapes. So, consider the following:

  • Collecting in local places. For instance, collect at your local farmer’s market or partner with a sporting goods store.
  • Peer-to-peer fundraising. As an added twist, treat your shoe drive fundraiser like a peer-to-peer fundraiser where participants compete to collect the most sneakers possible.
  • Door-to-door campaigning. Depending on where you live, this approach may not be feasible. However, it can still work well in close-knit communities.

Group fundraising is a great way to get your supporters more involved in the fundraising process. More help is always beneficial, and this all-hands-on-deck approach maximizes revenue for your nonprofit.

7. Support Other Communities

Donated sneakers help small business owners in developing nations. These small business owners sell the shoes for a profit, empowering them to support themselves and their families. So, by donating shoes, your community enables workforce expansion for in-need countries.

The impact doesn’t stop there, though! This kind of fundraiser directly impacts the lives of those who buy from these small business owners. In other words, your community’s gently worn, used and new shoes enhance people’s quality of life in a developing country.

When hosting your next event, make sure to leverage this information. That way, supporters contribute more, feel more connected to your cause, and make more of an impact. As a result, you’ll generate more revenue in the process.

8. Decrease Your Carbon Footprint

Recycling running shoes does more than just boost your nonprofit’s funds. If supporting other communities isn’t enough to get you on board, consider the eco-friendliness. It’s a great selling point for donors!

For supporters, figuring out what to do with old running shoes can be difficult. Often, they just throw them away and harm the environment. By allowing supporters to recycle their sneakers, you help the environment and generate extra funds for your nonprofit.

Even if your organization doesn’t focus on an environmental issue, you can still be eco-conscious. In the process, you’ll likely catch the attention of a few new supporters.

By participating in an eco-friendly running shoe recycling program, many community members can think more highly of your organization, boosting your support and funds. Demonstrate an environmentally-conscious strategy and make people proud to support your cause!

If your nonprofit wants to go green, don’t stop here. Learn about more ideas to boost your environmental efforts.

What You Need To Get Started

Regarding fundraising, nonprofits need to stay on top of their game. Otherwise, they lose the attention and support of their communities. By adding a shoe drive fundraiser to your repertoire of fundraising ideas, you experience many benefits.

This form of fundraising is as flexible as it is easy to implement. As long as you collect shoes and send them to a shoe drive fundraiser provider such as Funds2Orgs, you can structure your shoe drive fundraiser however best suits your organization.

Here are some things your organization needs to get the best results from your fundraiser:

  • A provider to facilitate the shoe drive fundraiser, like Funds2Orgs
  • Physical space(s) to collect shoes
  • A way to record donations, if applicable to your fundraising strategy
  • Ways to promote your shoe drive fundraiser, such as social media, email, flyers, and more
  • A clear timeline for your fundraiser

Since every nonprofit and its constituency are different, the exact tools and resources you need to succeed may vary. You know your organization better than anyone else, so understanding your nonprofit’s strengths and aligning your shoe drive fundraiser with them will yield the best results.

As a nonprofit professional, you understand how integral fundraisers are to keeping the organization on track with its mission. For cultivating growth and reaching new communities, nonprofits must be open to fresh fundraising ideas. A shoe drive fundraiser is an awesome way to capitalize on something everyone needs to do: clean out their closet.

If you’re looking to host a shoe drive fundraiser, partner with a shoe drive fundraiser provider like Funds2Orgs. For a different way to give, check out Sneakers4Funds to recycle running shoes and make a social impact for a good cause. From boosting your revenue to saving the environment and changing someone’s life abroad, a shoe drive fundraiser can help you meet all your fundraising goals!
About the author:

Wayne Elsey is the founder and CEO of Elsey Enterprises (EE) and a member of the Forbes Business Development Council. Among his various independent brands, he is also the founder and CEO of Sneakers4Funds, which is a social enterprise that helps schools, churches, nonprofits, individuals and other organizations raise funds while helping to support micro-enterprise (small business) opportunities in developing nations.

wayne elsey


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