Picking a charity for your domain depends entirely on what your domain’s financial and time limitations are. Consider these aspects when choosing a charity, in order to ensure that the most people can participate. If you have people with different restrictions, consider switching off the types of charities you do. Some members are able to donate in one way while others can donate in another. The charities listed in this document are not all encompassing, but there’s an easy way to brainstorm.
The first step in setting up a charity drive is to identify the need. Where is there a need in your community? Every community is different, but there are many things that remain the same. Let’s take a look at Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.
For a community to function well and work towards becoming a better place to live, certain needs must be met. This diagram may look familiar to many of us.
When people’s most basic needs are not met, the community begins to break down. Physiological needs are the most important ones, especially for the most vulnerable of the community, therefore if we’re stuck on ideas, we look at the Hierarchy and see if anything jumps out at us.
Tier 1: Physiological
Donate Food & Water
The holiday season is an excellent time to collect food, but also remember that the summer months are especially tough. Food pantries get incredibly depleted during the hard winter months, and people tend to forget that hunger knows no season; by the time the weather gets warm, they forget that giving is still needed.
During summer disasters these stores get even more depleted. In the face of long-term unemployment during the humid summer months — along with no free or reduced price lunches for the kids — families feel the need for food keenly. Please donate non-perishable food items to your local food pantry and give your receipt to your Domain Coordinator.
Suggested guidelines are:
- For each $2 worth of items or money donated to a local sanctioned philanthropy (i.e. to a philanthropic event), 1 general prestige point is be awarded.
- For regionally sanctioned philanthropies, the rate is $3 per 1 prestige points.
- For nationally sanctioned philanthropies, the rate is $5 per 1 prestige points.
A particularly fun way to collect non-perishable goods is during — of all things — Halloween! College towns are an excellent place to go door-to-door trick-or-treating for canned goods, as young men have mothers who buy them lots of green beans when they move into their college apartments, green beans which never get eaten. Come up with a little speech about how “Our theatrical organization is collecting canned goods and other non-perishables for [blank] food pantry. Would you like to donate?” Grab costumes, a box, a partner and a driver and go!
One of the most unfortunate things that happens during disasters is that the water supplies are contaminated. In times of domestic disasters, the Red Cross and other organizations will put out the call for bottled water.
The suggested guideline is 5 prestige per dozen 10-12 oz bottles.
Serving the Hungry
It’s a great experience, getting out in the world and making a difference on the front lines of hunger. If you want to do more than gather food, if you’d like to see those who benefit, get out there and help serve it. Do a quick Google search for your local Gleaners food pantry, or even “[YourTown] volunteer Soup Kitchen” and you can find one closest to your Domain.
Like you would for any other activity, pick a date, recruit people, and stick to it. These places love to have groups come in and help! Maybe your Domain can make this a quarterly event.
Tier 2: Health & Safety
Because our flagship venue is Vampire, and the cause is a good one, many members, lovers of irony, enjoy supporting the American Red Cross and other blood banks.
Here is how to run a blood drive — inclusively! Contact your Regional Red Cross (or other blood bank) office to set up a time and date for your Blood Drive. Find them at redcross.org. Some Regions have a Bloodmobile, which they park outside a predetermined location, and some areas prefer to use a blood donation center — in the latter case, it’s easy to organize a carpool.
Volunteer needs are as follows:
- Need 3-5 volunteers to help setup and teardown
- 1-2 Volunteers for check-in, 1 for the refreshment table, usually from 8 AM – 6 PM
- Supplies needed: juice, cookies, granola bars, etc.
Because gay men, pregnant women, people who have recently gotten tattoos and some other folks are ineligible, we must be creative so we can include them in the drive. Red Cross catches a lot of resentment from the GLBT community, but that is unfair to both the Red Cross and the people who need blood. Remind people who talk about this that the Federal Drug Administration, not the Red Cross, sets these rules — which many are working to get changed. Anyone who is ineligible is welcome to earn Prestige by advertizing, transporting donors, and volunteering to set up, tear down, and man the juice and cookie table. Domains may also choose to put a “bounty” on donors, giving credit to the member recruiting non-members who can donate blood.
Donating Winter Clothes
Did you wear that scarf last year? Do those gloves fit? Is there a really great sale on hats at Target? Did Mom surprise you with another new polar fleece blanket that you hate? Do you have a little winter coat that doesn’t fit your child anymore, but is still in very good shape? Then you can participate!
Any item from the list below in new or good condition can either be donated to a local charity or charity store, or collected by your local Coordinator. If it is donated directly to a charitable organization, remember to get a receipt or donation slip and give it to your local Coordinator.
Suggested guidelines are as follows:
- Winter jackets/coats, snowsuits, or a blanket -10 R each
- A pair of winter boots, ski pants, hoodies, sweat shirts/pants or sweaters- 5 R each
- A pair of gloves/mittens, scarves, earmuffs, and hats – 3 R each
Tier 3: Love & Belonging
Caring for our Own
Sometimes terrible things happen to our own folks and we should feel free to help them meet their various needs, making our community stronger. Whether it is fundraising for Domain members who get sick, to help defray hospital costs by taking up a collection at Domain meetings, or organizing more structured events, we can aid our local members immensely. See the Fundraising for the Domain article.
Of course, smaller drives, such as helping our members move, can also be great social and bonding experiences. These drives must be adapted to the needs of your Domain, something our communities should be willing to discuss.
Tier 4: Esteem
I don’t know a single teacher that doesn’t pay out of their own pockets for supplies to help their students learn more. However, with class sizes increasing and salaries being frozen or cut, with parents getting fewer hours or losing jobs, things like markers or notebooks become harder and harder to supply.
DO NOT donate supplies to thrift stores; we want these supplies to go to kids, not go on sale. Donate these items to a **SCHOOL** or to an organization that directly provides school supplies to needy children.
For each $2 worth of items or money donated to a local sanctioned philanthropy (i.e. to a philanthropic event), 1 general prestige point is be awarded.
- Suggested donations for 2 General – Box/bag of 12 #2 Pencils, 12 ct box of pens, single subject notebook, Construction paper (50-70 sheet packs), Dry Erase Markers (4 pack), folders, Box of Staples, Staple remover, School Glue, Colored Pencils (8 – 12 ct), Pencil Sharpener, Erasers, 12″ Ruler, crayons (8 ct), Loose leaf lined paper (70-100 ct), Pencil top erasers (per 4), Poster paper, per sheet, Watercolor paint box, Paint brushes (6 pack), water bottles.
- Suggested donations for 5 General – 3-ring Binder, simple calculator, Copy Paper (500 ct), Disinfectant Wipes (not trial sized), Crayons or Colored Pencils (24 ct or more), Large box of facial tissues, Notebook (3-5 subject spiral), Pencil Box/Pouch, loose-leaf paper (100 ct. or more wide ruled), Copy Paper (500 ct ream), Washable markers (10-12 ct), Safety Scissors, Stapler, Hand sanitizer (medium bottle), Three-hole punch.
- Suggested donations for 10 General – Backpack, Lunch box, Electric Pencil Sharpener
- Suggested donations for 30 General – Case of Multipurpose Copy Paper, 5,000 ct
Note to Members: If you’re having doubts about what to donate, give the school a call and ask. I guarantee you that you’ll make their day.
Public libraries regularly have book sales, many times drawn from donated books and media that the library doesn’t take into its circulation. Other great places to donate books are nursing homes, group homes, retirement communities, jails or prisons, and public schools. You might also contact individual classroom teachers about what sort of books they would like.
- 5 Prestige – Hardcover books, DVDs, audio books, graphic novels
- 3 Prestige – Paperback books, VHS tapes
- 1 Prestige – Magazines, individual comics
Tier 5: Self-Actualization
Thinking Long Term
By becoming involved in making a long-term commitment to a particular charity or cause, the Domain will learn about a variety of challenges these groups face over the years. Working to help others be the best people they can be also creates this change for the better in us.
Below are a few ideas, but the possibilities are endless.
Adopt a Classroom
This is a particularly good idea for Domains who have members with school-age children, and already have points of contact in the school system. This organization also has a large number of teachers within our membership, so feel free to ask on the list for people who know a teacher who would like help.
To prevent possible conflict of interests, we’d advise adopting a particular teacher’s classroom, which means that this project can span multiple years and really help build the MES’s reputation in your local town. This way, Domains can also send any of their Regional and National charity drive donations to this particular school.
It also open doors to more projects, such as helping with school festivals, special reading months, or volunteering on a regular basis. Reading helpers and library volunteers are especially valued as schools around the country lose funding to support these vital services.
Habitat for Humanity
This organization was founded to build homes for families in need, who would otherwise live on the streets. Families are carefully screened and mentored so that they can move their lives forward.
The organization is very happy to have groups of volunteers work on either a short or long term basis. Adopting a house — either by supplying regular workers or even financially — would be a fantastic way to make a big impact on our community. Visit their website for more information.
For more ideas on long term projects, ask your domain and see if anyone has a particular cause that they support individually. You can also contact a few of the larger organizations who go out of their ways to support a diverse group of activities.
Contact the United Way here and check in with the local office. The programs they offer are endless and varied.
American Red Cross trains Disaster Response and other such teams throughout the country as well as blood drives. Your local office can also inform you of other programs they offer for groups and long-term projects.