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How Hosting A Virtual Food Drive Helped Double Our Goal

How Hosting A Virtual Food Drive Helped Double Our Goal image
In addition to hosting a successful virtual food drive, Genesys hosted an event with Kids Against Hunger as part of their ending hunger goal.


Genesys hosted their first virtual food drive during Hunger Action Month and their results were amazing. They doubled their initial goal of $5,000 in just two weeks! We spoke with Brandie Harkins to ask her what contributed to the success of their drive and how they engaged their employees.

We are headquartered in Daly City, CA (DCO), but our Indy office is our largest office in the world. We had struggled to raise financial donations in the past. This virtual food drive enabled us to engage more staff.

Here are some tips to ensure success and engage your staff:

1. Organize a motivated team of captains: To ensure the success of our drive, we organized a Food Drive team comprised of someone from each department. We created a chat group for this event so outside of our initial meeting we were in contact all day long. This was the most helpful piece as trying to motivate 800 employees is difficult to do with just one team captain.

These people walked around their departments daily working to get donations and would remind their teams via chat and during their meetings. It helped a great deal to be able to send them a quick note and know it would reach everyone immediately. We were fortunate that this team of representatives hates losing as much as I do so they were very driven to help us reach—and then match our own goal.

2. Create a friendly competition: We made it a friendly competition between us and the DCO office rather than between departments. We like to beat them, so we used that to help motivate people to give. It helped a lot!

Our Indy leadership team helped with messaging as well encouraged their teams to donate. Even though the competition was with our DCO office they called each other out and made it a competition between teams as well. They also donated to the cause to show their team they weren’t just asking – they believed in the cause as well.

3. Make it easy to give: We created a QR code with the link to our team’s page and shared it daily in emails and message boards, but you could share your page's link and customize it too. I personally followed up on chat groups with our QR code any time someone posted something about donating.

The best part about going virtual was:

  • Being able to see donations as they came in and track how each department was doing. We had quite a few employees checking it regularly and challenging other departments to beat them or match their donation.
  • Everyone could go onto the drive and see how we were doing, which enabled employees who travel quite a bit or work from home to participate without having to physically come to the office to drop off their donation.
  • The virtual event was simpler to manage. We didn’t have to walk our entire campus to see what was donated. We didn’t need a large scale to weigh everything or worry about items making a mess.
  • It was really nice not to have to be responsible for collecting cash and carrying boxes of goods around and delivering them etc.
  • Employees really liked the virtual food drive as they didn’t have to scour their cabinet for items, go shopping, or have to remember to bring stuff in. They were able to click a link and make a donation. They really liked knowing that their dollar would do so much more for their neighbors than a can of food is able to do.

It means so much to me personally to know we contributed to our home community. People were very excited to know that this year their donation is staying in Indy and helping our local neighbors out. Most employees had no idea how much more a food bank can do with $1 versus a donation of $1s worth of food. I feel so much better knowing our neighbors will receive healthy food from our drive and not just something from the back of a cabinet or something that had already expired or had been severely dented.

We are still waiting to find out how we did in our global competition. Overall, our goal was $5K. I thought it was a good goal to start with since it was our first virtual food drive, but I was hoping we would hit at least $8K. Once we hit the $5K, I suggested we match our own donation and employees really came through. Their generosity nearly brought me to tears when we passed $10K.

To learn more about hosting your own virtual food drive visit https://www.gleaners.org/drives/.
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