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Need school supply drive ideas? Try these 10 highly effective strategies

Learn 10 best school supply drive ideas for organizing and marketing a school supply donation program for needy school kids.

School supply drive ideas are a dime a dozen out there, but you’ll want to use only the best as you plan your back-to-school supply drive.

So, in this guide, we’ve shortlisted the 10 effective backpack drive ideas for organizing and marketing a school supply drive. We didn’t pull these school supply drive ideas out of thin air, either. They’ve been used by other schools and organizations for their own school supply donation programs!

Without further ado, let’s jump in:

Organizing a school supply drive

1. Choose a date for the school supply drive

When is your school supply drive going to take place? People need to know the date so they can prepare the things they want to donate ahead of time.

Aim to hold your school supply drive by mid-August so that donations can be distributed to kids before they go back to school. For example, the Charles County Chamber of Commerce decided to hold its school supply drive on August 18, 2022:

And whatever you do, don’t choose a date that clashes with other major events, like a public holiday!

You don’t want your school supply drive to have to compete with such events for attention, which can reduce the number of items you receive.

2. Call for volunteers

While organizing a school supply drive can be a big undertaking, you and your colleagues don’t have to do it alone! Put out a public call for volunteers to assist with the supply drive. You’re holding it for a good cause, and that can motivate people to sign up.

When looking for volunteers, provide information on the level of commitment needed. For which days do you need volunteers, and how much of their time do you need?

In its call for volunteers, Bright Futures Neosho stated that volunteers would help out in two-hour blocks.

People who see the request might then think: “Two hours sounds reasonable. I’ll put my name down.” Score!

3. Draw up a list of most-needed school supplies

While you probably welcome donations of any school supplies, you may need some items more urgently than others. Draw up a list of such items so that donors can donate more of these to you.

Here’s an example from WorldWide Languages. The organization created a school supply drive flyer that shared its wish list of most-needed school supplies:

And as always, be specific with your requests.

If you need pens that can write in blue or black ink, say so! Or do you need notebooks with lines in them? Make that request known too.

4. Design a donation form

As you publicize the supplies that you want to collect from the school supply drive, let donors give you advance notice on what they intend to donate.

You can do so by designing a simple donation form where donors can state what they’ll be donating. You can also insert quantity fields to let donors specify how many of each item they’ll bring.

For inspiration, take a look at this donation form for a school supply drive organized by the Alameda Education Foundation:

Using the info provided by donors, you’ll be able to get an idea of the items you will be receiving and their amounts. Then, if you need to set aside more storage space for the donations, you won’t be caught off-guard.

5. Take your school supply drive online

School supply drives typically involve the collection of physical supplies. But why not also make it an online fundraiser where donors can make donations in the form of online payments?

This way, people will be able to chip in even if they:

  • Don’t have any items to donate, or
  • Can’t be physically present at your school supply drive.

If you’re setting up an online fundraiser page for your school supply drive, remember to provide important details such as who will benefit from the effort and the deadline for making donations. This is what Valley-Hi Elementary School has done for its school supply drive:

You’ll also want to promote your online fundraiser—which brings us to the next section of this guide on marketing your school supply drive!

Marketing a school supply drive

6. Create school supply drive flyers

Whether you print them out or post them online, flyers can help spread the word on your school supply drive. Here’s a school supply drive flyer on Facebook that we like, courtesy of OnSight Media Group:

The organization has used bright colors to help its flyer stand out as Facebook users scroll their feeds. At the same time, large headings broadcast to users what the flyer is promoting—namely, a school supply drive—and key dates they should take note of if they want to donate.

To create your own school supply drive flyers, grab a template and design it in PosterMyWall! There are hundreds of templates to choose from, such as the ones below:

Not sure what templates to use? Favorite templates you think are a good fit as you browse the school templates gallery. Find all saved templates in the Favorites tab in the My Stuff page.

7. Run a social media campaign

Who follows your school’s social media accounts? Probably your staff and the parents of your students, among others.

They are exactly the people who might be keen on contributing to your school supply drive, so run back-to-school social media campaigns to tell them about it!

If you need marketing collateral for your social media campaign, the school supply drive flyers you’ve created (see the previous point) will come in handy. Your campaign should also be a coordinated effort across your social media accounts.

Just take a lead out of the book of Tulare County Association of REALTORS® Young Professionals Network.

It first promoted its school supply drive on Facebook:

Then, a few weeks later, the organization also posted about it on its Instagram account.

[Embed this Instagram post:]

8. Promote the school supply drive in your email newsletter

If your school has an email newsletter, then you should absolutely talk about your school supply drive there too. Because your newsletter readers are likely to be parents—and see what we said above about parents being an ideal target audience for your school supply drive.

Unlike a social media campaign, however, you can do a more in-depth discussion of your school supply drive in your email newsletter. You could:

  • Provide more info on why you’re holding the school supply drive
  • Interview one of the beneficiaries of your school supply drive
  • Share the impacts of previous school supply drives (to inspire readers to contribute to the current one!)

Check out this email newsletter created by Communities In Schools of the Dallas Region, which features its school supply drive:

You can use one of our school newsletter templates to start creating your own email newsletter, or learn more about creating email campaigns here.

9. Organize another event in conjunction with the school supply drive

Here’s one of our favorite school supply drive ideas worth using if you have more available resources. While running your school supply drive, you can also organize a separate but related event on the same day.

That’s because not everyone might be interested in participating in your school supply drive. But they might be interested in the other event—and as they’re preparing to attend it, they might say to themselves:

“Oh, since I’m already going for this event, I might as well drop by the school supply drive and donate some items too.”

You can also make the two events linked in some way.

For example, you might have a rule where people who donate at least one item to your school supply drive can attend the other event for free. Which is what DigDeepBasketball did!

10. Get your school supply drive on the local news

Apart from promoting your school supply drive through your own channels, tap on local media outlets to get the word out even further. Woodward High School did exactly this for its school supply drive:

If you intend to approach local news outlets for help, send them a press release stating information such as:

  • What the school supply drive is about
  • When and where it is being held
  • Which items you are accepting

When you give news outlets all the information they need to promote your school supply drive, they’ll be more likely to do so.

Get started with these school supply drive ideas

Organizing and marketing a school supply drive can be challenging, but we hope these school supply drive ideas will point you in the right direction.

Having the right tools can also make your work a lot easier. For example, PosterMyWall provides an easy-to-use editor for creating attractive marketing collateral for your school supply drive—even if you don’t have formal graphic design training.

Head over to the Gradient blog to learn how to use PosterMyWall to design school supply drive flyers, posters, and more today!