Back-to-School Drives 101: Tips from Treehouse Partner Marchex

By Dana Petrarca, Treehouse Community Engagement Officer

Marchex has been partnering with Treehouse for eight years, including hosting back-to-school drives for youth in foster care. We can’t thank them enough for their commitment.

Linda Lochrie, People Services Assistant at Marchex, recently sat down with me to reflect on the company’s experiences and share some tips and tricks for new donation drive hosts.

What was your favorite part about hosting a donation drive for youth in foster care?
I liked visiting Treehouse to be able to see where the donations go and gain a better understanding of why our donation drive and eight-year partnership with Treehouse has been so important. It also was good to see my co-workers giving to their community and feeling that impact, too.

What was your strategy? How did you rally your network?
We made it a fun-filled, week-long competition. Each team was given a donation box and for every donation added to their box, or donated to Marchex’s online donation page, they gained points. We also added a twist, which we called “Sabotage,” where teams were deducted points if another team donated to their box. The teams received daily updates and incentives, which helped keep them motivated and excited to give back. The team that donated the most money and clothing won an afternoon of fun at Flat Stick Pub.

What was one tool from your donation drive kit that you think might have contributed to your drive success?
We loved the Clothesline Kit! It was not only a great way to spread the word around the office about our drive but another way for us to encourage teams to give. For each ticket that was completed, their team would receive an insane amount of points! We also loved being able to create our own webpage through Treehouse’s platform. It helped track our overall progress as an organization.

Why is hosting a donation drive for Treehouse important to you, the host?
I think it is important for people who are able to give back to their community. It’s also so easy and makes a bigger impact when groups can come together, have fun and build camaraderie, all while supporting community members who are in need.

Looking back, if there was one think you could do differently, what would it be and why?
We asked this question before we started our drive this year. We use to hold our drive over two weeks, but we thought making it a shorter event would pack a bigger punch. In addition to the drive, we also decided to add the opportunity to visit Treehouse through group volunteering. It makes such a difference when people are able to directly see the impact of their donations and also do hands-on work with the nonprofit.

What piece of advice do you have for our new drive hosts?
I think it is important to stress why Treehouse is important to our community’s kids in foster care, and to our community over all. And I think making it a friendly competition made ours successful because it built a sense of camaraderie with our group. Both of these strategies combined helped us bring everyone together to make an even bigger impact.

For more information about hosting a drive to support youth in foster care, visit treehouseforkids.org/bts17.

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About the Author

Dana Petrarca, Treehouse’s Community Engagement Officer, works closely with community members to encourage and support engagement opportunities with Treehouse. She is passionate about building relationships, philanthropy and storytelling. Contact Dana at [email protected] if you are interested in hosting a donation drive or event on behalf of Treehouse.

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