Making food drives and fundraisers a success

For five days in June, Strategic Group — a commercial real estate company with buildings peppered across Calgary and Edmonton — blew us away with their internal food drive and fundraising campaign!

Strategic Group has been doing this for us since 2012, so they’ve more or less perfected the art of raising food and funds.

Though we consider all food drives and fundraisers a success if they raise food and funds for our clients, this particular group made their internal fundraiser into something more! The amount of employee engagement, healthy competition and overwhelming enthusiasm led us to believe they are doing something right.

So, with their help, we’ve created a list of ways to get future companies’ food drives working to help those in need and create an authentic, fun experience:

1. Competition

Many food drive organizers use competition to build teamwork and collect as much food for the food bank as possible. Strategic Group’sHamper Challenge did it in a way we rarely see: instead of giving out points based on poundage — the usual way — they gave points based on our most needed items. The higher the need, the higher the points! This meant that rice, a heavy item, was worth fewer points than a much more needed (and lighter) item like diapers or peanut butter.

With 63 participants, they knocked it out of the park. We even heard that teams were hiding boxes of diapers in offices, just to pull them out last minute and trounce the competition!

2. Prizes

Once you build a healthy competition, it’s time to follow through with some prizes! Whether it’s an extra vacation day, a catered lunch or even a Tim Hortons gift card, it’s always helpful to validate the amazing efforts of the participants.

3. Make it about more than food

Gathering food and funds is the whole point of a fundraiser and food drive, learning about the need and the people who use the food bank is truly invaluable.

Knowledge is power, and Strategic Group used this concept to create a kind of informational scavenger hunt about the Calgary Food Bank and the community we serve. We were getting phone calls all week from Strategic Group team members asking about our history and statistics, like what year we were founded (1982) and what percentage of our clients are children (43 per cent).

Knowing how the food and funds gathered will be used is a huge motivator to keep the momentum going and encourage genuine enthusiasm.

4. Get social

Strategic Group made a real splash on social media during their campaign. They didn’t go a day without tweeting, posting on Instagram or tagging us on Facebook! Getting the message out really encouraged their team members, tenants, contractors, vendors, family and friends to get involved.

A photo posted by Strategic Group (@strategicgrp) on

5. Believe in the cause

Before they launched their food drive and fundraiser, reps from Strategic Group came on a tour of the building, seeing what items were our most needed, looking at our signage for questions on their they could ask in the Hamper Challenge and generally getting a better idea about what we are all about.

It was clear they believed in us and what we do, and that belief permeated through their campaign and touched us all here at the food bank. What people can do when they are truly committed is extraordinary and touching.

Create your own Food Drive and Fundraiser!

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