Food Bank 101
41 million Americans are food insecure.
This is the place to find tips and best practices to support your food bank in helping the millions of Americans that need assistance in providing themselves and their families with nutritious meals.
USDA Recent Stats on Food Insecurity...
- 12.3% of American households were food insecure in 2016, with 4.9% having "very low security." Although these rates have been declining over the past few years, the rate is still higher than that just before the 2008 recession.
- Rates of food insecurity were substantially higher than the national average for households with incomes near or below the Federal poverty line, single parent households, those living alone and Black-and Hispanic-headed households.
Fundraising and Donation Tips
Fundraising and donation tips and best practices specifically for food banks.
Let people know what you need
Place cards in your local grocery store, like the Arlington Food Bank, that lets community members know what donations to shop for. You can also start initiatives with local community organizations:
ex. Have kids bring a jar of peanut butter to every soccer game that the team will then donate to the local food bank.
Marketing Your Food Bank
Here are some helpful marketing strategies designed specifically for food banks!
Create an Infographic
People will be more likely to give when they know exactly where their money is going. A clear infographic, like the one on the right, helps to show donors exactly how many people they are helping with a monetary contribution. Need tips on creating infographics? Check out this post.
Here are some of our favorite infographics from food banks around the US:
Tell One Person's Story
Although 41 million hungry Americans is a devastating statistics, it is easier for people to wrap their heads around one person or family. Tell an individual story that people in your community will likely connect with.
Check out Los Angeles Region Food Bank's "Faces of the Food Bank" stories.
The St. Louis Area Foodbank created this video to easily explain the importance of food banks and why a donation matters.
The Food Bank of the Rockies uses video to tell the stories of those who are helped by the generous donations received everyday.
There's no shortage of people who are willing to donate their time to volunteer with a food bank. Make sure you are using them strategically and making them feel like a part of the family.
Build relationships with businesses
Feeding America urges businesses to volunteer at food banks as a company activity. Your food bank can take the first step by building relationships with local businesses and making them aware of all the opportunities you have for them to give back!
Keep your volunteers happy so they show up all year long, not just during the holidays. Here are a few tips we've compiled to keep your volunteers engaged:
1. Incentivize volunteers with a reward system
Implement a rewards system for volunteers. This can range from providing a free T-shirt after a year of volunteering to creating a competition among volunteers with a prize for whoever does the most. Honor top volunteers by mentioning them by name in your newsletters. Sometimes, recognition is the best reward of all. Incentivizing volunteers with competition or rewards will keep people interested and eager to continue helping.
2. Connect volunteers with the cause
Allow volunteers to meet someone who is affected by your cause. Creating a relationship between volunteers and the people they’re helping is a nice way to incentivize your volunteers. Once volunteers have a more personal and human connection to the cause, they will be more inclined to continue helping.
3. Send out monthly progress reports
Send out monthly newsletters detailing the progress of your organization. People want to know that their time, efforts, and money have achieved something whether directly or not. Share volunteers’ success stories and demonstrate the important difference volunteers can make.
To see more tips check out this post!
New For Food Banks in 2018
News, innovation and chatter in the food bank world...
This food delivery service is doing more than just transporting sushi; they're starting an initiative to help your food bank! DoorDash kicked off their Project DASH initiative this month to bring restaurant's leftover food to those who need it. They partnered with Feeding America to bring food, that was otherwise thrown out, to local food banks who know how to utilize it to feed the hungry. Check out the buzz here, here and here.
Helping Hungry Dogs
There's always discussion surrounding man's best friend and whether or not he should receive food bank assistance along with his family. Check out the recent chatter in the Washington Post here.