In today’s world, corporate social responsibility is increasingly becoming a priority to consumers. We’ve shared ways you can incorporate monetary donations into your event and conference strategy. But what about more tangible items?

Whether you’re hosting a small seminar, a large-scale conference, or a public event, collecting supply donations provides a simple yet impactful way for attendees to make a difference. Here are a few steps to launching a successful supply drive at your next event.

Choose a cause or organization to support.

The first step is to identify a cause or organization that aligns with the values of your organization, the event, or the attendees. Consider local charities, schools, shelters, or environmental groups that may need supplies. Partnering with a well-known organization can also increase the credibility and impact of your efforts.

Determine what supplies are needed.

Once you’ve identified the cause and organization you’ll partner with, you’ll want to determine what supplies to collect. It’s wise to work with the organization you choose to determine what items are both useful and welcomed.

Then, you’ll want to consider what is realistic for your attendees to bring. Choose a variety of items that range in cost to ensure everyone is able to participate regardless of their financial situation. You’ll also want to consider incorporating items that are carry-on friendly for those who may be traveling via airplane.

Promote the initiative.

You’ve selected the organization and determined what supplies you’d like to collect. Now it’s time to make sure your attendees know what to do. Send information out via email, social media, or welcome and participant packets. Consider creating Amazon Wish Lists or registries for organizations that require more specific items. Offer suggestions of where and how much to purchase. Go a step further and offer packing and transport tips for more unique items.

Photo by Joel Muniz on Unsplash

Integrate donation collection into the event.

Like monetary donations, there should be an element of gamification in your collection strategy. Here are a few ideas:

  • Registration: Incentivize attendees to make a donation by offering discounted or free entry in exchange for a donation. If you’re unable to adjust fees, consider special swag items, drawings, or other contests.
  • Drop-off Points: By setting up drop off points throughout the venue, you create visibility to the variety and amount of donations collected. You can gamify it a bit further by attaching raffles, games, swag items, or even competitions between attendees. One quick note: make sure that your drop-off locations are in secure areas to avoid any risk of theft or tampering.
  • Packing Races: Supplies will need to be moved. Create a game that involves attendees and participants to see who can box up, pack, or deliver the most items in the shortest amount of time.
Photo by kasto

Recognize donors and share donation results.

It’s always important to show appreciation for those who participate in charitable initiatives. Thank and recognize larger donors before sessions and during keynotes. Ask staff members or employees to write thank you notes to distribute to everyone who donates. And finally, invite the organization to come to the event and share their story and impact with attendees. 

Once the event is over, compile and share the results of the donation drive. Use photos, videos, and stories to illustrate the impact of the donations. Invite attendees to engage with the organization in other ways, like volunteering, monetary donations, or simply following them on social media platforms.


In this economy, it can be tough to get people to open their wallets to make monetary donations. However, donating tangible items can provide a sense of transparency and impact knowing that these items will go to use immediately. Supply drives are a simple way to make a big difference. 

Kadi McDonald is a freelance writer, marketing strategist, and proud Cleveland sports fan.