Hosting a Back to School Supplies Donation Event

For many kids, returning to school in the fall is an exciting time to reconnect with friends, share news of the summer, and get back to learning. Starting the new school year with a fresh book bag, pencil case, and set of colors is a great feeling, but what about the families who can't afford flashy new accessories for their kids?

Grant Glas
August 9, 2022
Kids Ministry Leadership

A Step-By-Step Guide on Coordinating Back to School Events

Kid walking to school with backpack and books

School supply donation events ensure that each child gets the same opportunities to learn as the next. Every child deserves access to the resources needed to thrive through their education, and your ministry can be a part of making that a reality. Learn more about how essential it is to donate supplies to school.


Wondering how to help as kids go back to school? Keep reading for a step-by-step guide on coordinating a back-to-school supply drive for elementary school.

Identify the Needed Supplies

School supplies

A little research will highlight what supplies your local schools need so you can fine-tune your list of donations. For elementary school, kids will need classic supplies like notebooks, pencils, and paper, as well as more creative tools like scissors, glue, and pens. Click here for a complete list of school supplies.

Write a list of each item needed and how many of each you need per child to calculate the goal for the total number of supplies needed. Nowadays, including some tissues and a bottle of hand sanitizer will help keep kids and their families safe as they head back to school. 

Be Clear with Your Requests

Be clear and concise when asking for donations so that people know exactly what to bring. You don’t want to end up with a million pencils and no notebooks, so get specific with figures to ensure your donations are manageable.

Many school supply donation events ask donors to pack entire backpacks filled with supplies. This means that each bookrack donated represents one child and saves time sorting through the donations.

Set Donation Drop-Off Times

Next, think about when and where to donate school supplies. It is common for back-to-school supply drives to drop off directly at the school, but you might want to make your church a middle ground to reach a different selection of students.


If you choose to host it at your church, will your church be open for donation drop-offs all week, or will you limit it to a specific afternoon? The wider the timeframe for school supplies donation, the more you will receive, so don’t limit it too much.

Advertise For Donations

Sign reading, "Don't just take, give."

Share the news of your donation drive far and wide to maximize the number of back-to-school donations you will receive. Print flyers to stick up around local businesses, design a visual for your digital sign, and share it on your church's social media accounts.

Get creative with your advertising and use multiple channels to ensure your community knows about the event. There are endless social media tricks to get noticed, from Instagram contests and hashtags to behind the scene reels and memes. Read our blog on effectively using Instagram for your church to discover more tips.

Assemble Your Volunteers

Volunteer team coming together

A big church event to collect donations requires all hands on deck, so make sure your volunteers are prepared for what’s to come! You will need a small team of volunteers ready to accept the donations when they arrive at your church, and another to distribute the school supplies donation packs.

Organize effectively so that each church worker only has to do an additional one or two shifts to help with the smooth running of your elementary school supplies run. Create an atmosphere of excitement around the donation, and the back-to-school buzz will be contagious.

Distribute the School Supplies!

Distributing school supplies often happens by car as a “back to school supply drive,” but your church may choose to do it differently. Depending on the size of your community, you could take backpacks straight to families in need for a more personal donation experience that might encourage them to attend your church too.

You can also liaise with local schools directly and decide an appropriate time to drop off all the backpack donations. Get them there in time for the new school year to start so all the kids of your community are ready to learn from day one. Every child deserves access to a fulfilling education.

Celebrate Your Success

Volunteer team celebrating a successful donation event

Keep track of how many children your church provided for or how many backpacks were collected. This will enable you to keep track of your success over the years and potentially increase your scope each time! Be proud of your church volunteers and community members that made it happen, and celebrate all you have achieved.

Share your success on social media to inspire others in your community to donate next time. As a big church donation event takes a lot of work, why not reward your workers afterward with a small treat or church volunteer appreciation gift? Recognizing their efforts will go a long way in boosting morale!

Hosting a school supplies donation at your church will do great things for underserved people in your community, equipping all children with access to learning resources. Use your church platform for good by proudly sharing news of the successful back-to-school event to provide for as many families as possible.

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