SF Bay Area Holiday Toy Drives are Waiting for Your Donations

toy-drives-bay area-silicon valley-holidays-toys for tots

Toys for Tots Poster, 1948

Make this holiday season even merrier by brightening the lives of Bay Area children with donations of toys, clothing, food, and other needed items. Dozens of nonprofits are waiting for people like you to drop by a new, unwrapped gift, or to make an online donation.

Below is an extensive list of San Francisco Bay Area holiday toy drives, their drop-off locations, needs, and deadlines, organized by area. Click on the links to visit organizations’ websites.

Can’t drop off a donation? Many are taking online donations, or will provide an address for checks.

Know of a toy drive we missed? Tell us below in the comments. We’ll update the list with new information as it comes in.

All Over the Bay Area

CHiPs For Kids  

What it is: Annual toy drive for kids in need conducted by the California Highway Patrol.

Needs: New, unwrapped toys; also accepting canned goods.

Deadline: Dec. 16

Drop-off Locations: Any Golden Gate Division CHP office, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. [Read more…]

It’s Time to Donate Turkeys


second-harvest-food-bank-turkey-donations-thanksgiving-holiday-givingBuying a turkey this weekend for your Thanksgiving table? Pick up one or two more frozen birds to donate to local charities, and while you’re at it, consider buying canned hams, canned soup and other nutritious nonperishable foods to help feed the more than 780,000 children and adults in the San Francisco Bay Area estimated to face hunger on a consistent basis.

Nonprofit organizations throughout the Bay Area are putting out the call for turkeys not only for Thanksgiving, but other holiday meals. On Friday, Nov. 21, officials from Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties announced they were only a little over halfway to their goal of collecting 13,000 turkeys.

Below is a list of agencies collecting turkey and other foods this holiday season. Did we miss one? Tell us in the comments section below.

Bay Area Food Banks

Find the food bank near you by visiting www.bayareahunger.org. The website represents seven food banks serving 11 Northern California counties. All the food banks are in need of frozen turkeys and other holiday meal staples.

Your donation could even win you a pair of tickets to see the 49ers play the Seattle Seahawks on Thanksgiving Day if you donate frozen turkeys or chickens to Second Harvest by Monday, Nov. 24. 
[Read more…]

Startup Solving In-Kind Donation Challenges for Nonprofits, Donors


Roonga-in-kind-donations-nonprofits-project-weHOPE-East-Palo-Alto-Evelyn-HorngClothing and blanket drives are popular this time of year, but in-kind donations can pose a challenge, not only for donors who have to coordinate dropping off items, but also for nonprofits that sometimes wind up with supplies that don’t quite fit their needs.

Enter Silicon Valley startup Roonga. Company founders say they are committed to solving both sides of the challenge by offering a new way to run donation drives online.

“We’re trying to make in-kind donations cost effective, and help nonprofits get exactly what they need,” said Roonga co-founder Evelyn Horng.

Currently Roonga is working with Project WeHOPE in East Palo Alto to make sure its new homeless shelter has all the blankets, sheets, towels, robes, and coats it needs for clients this winter, plus laundry detergent to keep it all clean. The nonprofit previously operated a warming shelter from fall to spring, but recently received the funds and approval to open year round. [Read more…]

Too Many Nonprofits Confusing Donors; Collaboration a Must to Solve Big Problems


Kay Sprinkel Grace

There are way too many nonprofits.

That was the blunt observation fundraising consultant and best-selling author Kay Sprinkel Grace made to a couple hundred nonprofit leaders and staff people at Nonprofit Boot Camp, last week in Mountain View.

Her point, that donors are confused by the large number of nonprofits surrounding similar issues and challenges. Donors want to know that their money is going toward solutions, not toward supporting an organization’s existence.

The answer, she said, is in collaboration between nonprofits, government, and business.

“Nobody thinks we can do it alone anymore. We’ve got to partner, we’ve got to collaborate,” she said. “One of our problems is—and I’m here to tell you at a Nonprofit Boot Camp—we have way too many nonprofits. Way too many nonprofits, I’m sorry. And I’m not saying that any of you are not of value. But I’m saying that for our donors it is totally confusing, because donors behave in a “both/and” way, not an “either/or.” [Read more…]

Nonprofit Boot Camp, Social Media Training a Winning Combo


Social Media for Nonprofits Co-founder Ritu Sharma at last year’s Silicon Valley conference.

Silicon Valley nonprofit leaders, staff, and other key volunteers take note: the best training and networking events for nonprofits are taking place right in your backyard next week, June 12 and 13.

The group Social Media for Nonprofits (SM4NP) is bringing back the popular Nonprofit Boot Camp, previously run by the Craigslist Foundation, on Wednesday, June 12, and is conveniently offering its invaluable Social Media for Nonprofits Conference the following day. Both day-long conferences are being held at Microsoft’s Mountain View Conference Center, 1065 La Avenida St.

Registration is happening now on line, and if you want to take advantage of this opportunity sign up as soon as possible, as both events are expected to fill up. There’s an added incentive of a 25 percent discount on registration fees if you sign up for both.

Nonprofit Boot Camp

The Nonprofit Boot Camp returns after a two-year hiatus, during which the Craigslist Foundation wound down and transferred its programs to other nonprofits. SM4NP took over the organizing role of Boot Camp, which was a natural fit since SM4NP co-founder, Darian Rodriguez Heyman, was the original Boot Camp founder, while serving as the Craigslist Foundation’s executive director. [Read more…]

Fundraising Help for Nonprofits


globalgiving-nonprofits-fundraising-pamela-lee-good-neighbor-storiesEditor’s Note: I’m happy to welcome Pamela Lee as a guest blogger. I first met Pamela through Mickaboo Companion Bird Rescue, which she leads and works for tirelessly as a volunteer. She’s now a GlobalGiving Ambassador for the San Francisco Bay Area, with a goal of helping even more nonprofits.

Ever wanted to boost your fundraising with more online tools, or expand your donor base?

GlobalGiving has helped 7,858 projects, non-profits and social entrepreneurs grow their community of donors and volunteers to raise a total of $85 million since 2002. GlobalGiving works with non-profit organizations registered anywhere in the world to upgrade their fundraising strategy in many ways:

  • Expand your donor networks and access resources to develop your fundraising strategies.
  • Connect to corporate giving campaigns at companies like Ford, Nike Foundation, Dell, and more.
  • Non-US organizations can get tax-deductible donations for US-based donors.
  • Each week, about 40,000 individuals visit GlobalGiving’s website, offering great exposure for our nonprofit partners’ projects! [Read more…]

Giving Back Q&A with Steven Ketchpel


What’s the biggest mistake people make when donating?Giving-Back-book-Stephen-Ketchpel-volunteering-donating-good-neighbor-stories

I had an inkling Steven P. Ketchpel, Ph.D., Bay Area author of Giving Back, would have a very good answer. His well-written and thought-out guidebook helps readers through the process of figuring out their passions and interests, as well as through the planning, implementation, and follow-up of any donation or project.

As a follow-up to my review of his book, he agreed to answer that question and a few more about donating and volunteering.

Good Neighbor Stories: What’s the feedback from readers been like for the book?

Ketchpel: I love hearing back from readers (ketchpel@giving-back.info), and have heard stories of action inspired by the book:  starting to volunteer on a new project, having a discussion about values with their family, or making loans through Kiva.  I’ve also heard from experienced volunteer/leaders who love the book—one described it as a “yellow brick road” with “simple, easy steps we can take to create something important.”

What’s the biggest mistake people make when making donations? What’s the number one thing they can do to avoid mistakes in the future? [Read more…]

Giving Back: Great Guidebook for Volunteering, Donating Decisions


If you’ve ever struggled with where to volunteer your time, or the most efficient way to donate money, Giving Back by Steven P. Ketchpel, Giving-Back-book-Stephen-Ketchpel-volunteering-donating-good-neighbor-storiesPh.D., is the book for you.

Underscore that advice if you have kids and have always wanted to find ways to volunteer as a family, or teach life lessons about the value of donating to causes you care about.

Ketchpel is a San Francisco Bay Area computer scientist and entrepreneur who grew up in a family dedicated to giving back to the community. He writes that even before he was born his parents were very involved in church, Scouting, and spreading kindness throughout their neighborhood. He grew up in Boy Scouts, and when it came time for his Eagle Project he helped his church modernize by computerizing membership records.

Uncovering Passions and Creating Plans

When I first met Ketchpel in December, he described the book to me as a sort of a What Color is Your Parachute for volunteering and donating. In other words, a guidebook to help users discover their passions and create strategic plans for service and giving away money. [Read more…]

Good Neighbor Tweets of the Week: March 25-31


Some of the Bay Area’s best neighbors are tweeting all sorts of positive and interesting information. We keep track on our Twitter list, “Silicon Valley Heroes”. If you’re on Twitter and spreading good news, let us know. We might list you in an upcoming “Good Neighbor Tweets of the Week” list.

Here are some top tweets for last week.

Sunday, March 25

Save The Bay (SF) ‏ @saveSFbay

Looking for #environmental #policy experience? Volunteer with @SaveSFBay_Wonks this summer: http://bit.ly/GWuXKf

Monday, March 26

Peninsula Family Svc ‏ @PeninsulaFamily

Photos: Oracle Volunteers with the Young and Elderly – Redwood City, CA Patch http://redwoodcity.patch.com/articles/oracle-volunteers-with-the-young-and-elderly [Read more…]

How To Combat Donor Fatigue


We are four days to Dec. 31, and if you’re like me, the requests for year-end donations are pouring in via Internet and other media, snail mail, and phone. During the holidays even shopping trips Overflowing mailboxare accompanied by ringing bells, giving trees, small donations at the register and donation jars. Admittedly, Good Neighbor Stories is part of the onslaught, with our own virtual food drive.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed in the face of so many requests for help. “Donor fatigue” is a real condition that charities are well aware of. The Mercury News posted a story on Christmas that describes just how worn out people feel this holiday season after hearing so many pleas.

There are ways to cope and not feel so burned out. Here are are few suggestions. Feel free to add your own in the comments section.

  • Decide what causes you are most passionate about. What stirs your heart the most? Children? Hunger? Animals? The environment? A particular part of the world like Africa or Asia? A religious institution? Figure our what you care about and then narrow your giving focus to those specific causes. [Read more…]