How to Organize a Food Drive Your Residents Will Love

As a property manager, you know the importance of positive public relations and fostering a community spirit in your units. Mid-to-large apartment communities can feel so impersonal – if you can create a sense of family within the rental, you may retain more renters year after year.

Around the holidays, there are few better ways to show your residents that you care than by organizing a food drive. 

Instead of being viewed as Ebenezer Scrooge this holiday season, wouldn’t it be nice to show your softer side? You’ll feel good about your efforts and ditch the Grinch-like reputation property managers sometimes have.

4 Steps to Organizing a Food Drive

Here is what you’ll need to do to pull off a successful food drive.

1. Pick an Organization & Coordinate

Whether you choose to partner with a local or national organization to distribute the donations you collect, you’ll need to obtain all the final details first and foremost. Figure out which day you’ll drop off the food to your organization or have it picked up.

2. Publicity

You’ll need to let all the residents know about the food drive. Instead of posting a single flyer in each building and hoping everyone will see, you should print a flyer for each tenant and leave it at their door or in their mailbox. Got a resident newsletter? Add it! Post your event on your property’s social media channels, and consider even making a Facebook event.

In your advertisements, make sure you include all the details – the day or days of the collection, where to bring the food, and which organization it will benefit.

3. Collection

Remember that long line Ralphie had to wait in to see Santa in A Christmas Story? That’s what the holidays are like – people have things to do. So, make it easy to donate. You’ll get a higher participation level, and they will appreciate the streamlined process.

You could have renters leave their donations outside their apartment door on a Saturday morning (with a note), take a cart around and pick donations up, or create a drop box station in your leasing office and common areas.

4. Give an Update

The follow-up is one of the most important parts of a good food drive. The tenants will want to know how much food was given. The organization you donate to should be happy to provide you with either a total dollar value amount of what was donated or how many pounds the donation weighed.

You can announce it in another flyer or look like Daddy Warbucks and spring for a building holiday party where you can announce the results. If you’re feeling especially generous, you could put the apartment number of each donor into a hat and draw for door prizes.

Where to Donate

There is never a shortage of places that need help. Some national organizations may have a branch or food bank in your city. Here are two options to check out.

      • Feeding America: This organization gives out 4.3 billion meals every year. You can search for the nearest food bank with their online search tool.
      • Meals on Wheels America: This organization, which has more than 5,000 locations, helps feed hungry seniors.

A better bet might be donating locally, which can build a lot of goodwill toward you and the property you manage. Plus, you can get some good free press in the local community. As property manager, part of your job is to keep those units rented, which can be easier once you’ve built up a positive reputation in your city.

If you opt to organize your food drive for a local source, you’ll have many choices, including homeless shelters, schools, churches, food pantries, and senior centers.

Feeding the less fortunate, building goodwill, and making residents happy? That’s hitting a homerun as a property manager.

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Comments (1)

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    Don’t organize a food drive that residents will love. Raise the rent until you get better residents. We are business people not meals on wheels. What’s next a pre-chew food service or powder their bottom day, perhaps a pet grooming brunch ? Keep the roles defined, such as pay your rent abide by the lease and keep your trap shut. When I can I let them go month to month after the first lease expires, if they become a problem it’s very easy to get the property back. I then tell them “they are free to explore other housing opportunities in new direction” They need to respect the manager not love them. A firm but fair hand gets results.

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