Give box schemes
Setting up a Give Box scheme can be a simple and effective way to give unwanted items a new home, address a particular need in a community, or support a charity’s appeal.
• A large, open cupboard, placed in a public area, where people can drop off and pick up second-hand goods. People come and go as they please.
• An open shelf in a place where a lot of people go (a hotel, youth hostel, office etc or even a phone box), where people can leave or take books.
• A scheme where people put items for charity in a box and give/post it to the charity to sell/donate.
• A box in a closed area such as an office, village hall or library, where people can donate items for a local charity, food bank, home start service etc.
Why set up a give box?
• It encourages re-use, so benefits the environment.
• It can be used just to encourage re-use behaviour in general.
• It can be to generate donations for charity/homeless people.
• For a business such as a hotel, it can be seen as a service they are offering for guests e.g. if guests don’t have a book, they are free to take one.
• For the general public, it can be a way of getting free items.
Planning a give box
Do you want to involve members of the local community, a closed group such as staff, or anyone?
Do you want to make it a permanent fixture, or a short-term campaign?
Depends very much on the “Who” above, so it could be in an office, a hotel/youth hostel/B&B, a village hall/library or somewhere that the community can access it, but it’s relatively safe and only open when there is someone to monitor it, or make it fully accessible 24/7, so a shed/old phone box/bus stop.
Advertise through the local press, social media, emails, posters, local radio, websites and don’t forget word-of-mouth. Tell local organisations such as the council, schools, libraries etc as they may be able to advertise your facility. Invite journalists to visit.
Have A-boards/posters/road signs/banners/ bunting outside the facility if appropriate.
Be specific about what you are collecting i.e. is it anything, books, food (in which case does it need to be tinned/long-life) etc.
Be clear as to who the “Give Box” benefits i.e. is it for community benefit, to grow re-use, to raise funds for charity etc. If it’s for charity, provide some information on the charity.
Unless your “Give Box” is staffed, it’s difficult to enforce rules, but you may want to have some suggested rules such as;
• Feel free to take one item for every one item donated.
• Make sure everything donated is of a good quality
• If you are asking for food donations, it may be that you want them to be tinned, in packets, with a certain shelf-life etc.
Ongoing or after the project’s end
Taking photos is a good idea to keep promoting the facility (you might want to have a social media page where you can share photos, stories about the best things donated, how much money has been raised so far etc.
Evaluation; consider forms of evaluation in order to monitor the success of the project. A few statistics can help demonstrate the success of your Give Box scheme and encourage greater participation.
Do tell us about your Give Box scheme.