Attracting Interest to Your Program

  1. Target your audience. Who makes up your gleaning volunteers? At TCFB the main demographics are Generation Xers and Baby Boomers with extra time on their hands, whether they are retired, stay at home parents, or in between work. This demographic also tends to be in better physical health and are able perform the physically demanding and repetitive work of harvesting.
  2. It’s okay to target more than one demographic. If Generation Y is your target demographic, speak at colleges, high schools, and when putting up fliers, focus on areas that are frequented by younger people, such as coffee shops.
  3. Fine tune your pitch for specific audiences. For example, Kiwanis clubs do work geared towards helping children, so emphasize how many children in the community utilize the food being gleaned. Church groups may be interested in the biblical references on gleaning.
  4. Speaking in the media or writing on community blogs is a great way to attract attention to your program. Often during gleaning presentations TCFB's gleaning coordinator has used such media as a way to highlight other key features about their organization. Maybe you don't expect to get a lot of new gleaning volunteers from a presentation, but if you’re presenting to the Master Gardeners you can educate them about your plant a row campaign and that personal donations of home-grown fruits and vegetables are always welcome at the food bank. You may have just recruited some new donors, or people who will help spread the word about your organization.
  5. Have a Facebook page specifically for the gleaners. Many of your volunteers, or potential volunteers, may check Facebook more often than they check in with their local non-profits. Update your page with volunteering opportunities, pictures from recent events, and poundage from recent gleans. If your volunteers add you as a friend or you tag them in a great gleaning photo, their friends might become interested as well.  TCFB’s Gleaner Facebook page is
  6. Radio and newspaper announcements reach many people and are easy to send out. Either make a simple community announcement, or have a press release with photos and stories about your project.
  7. Tabling events at local churches, schools, colleges and community centers are another opportunity to spread the word of your program while engaging in personal with potential volunteers and community members.  
  8. Network with other local service organizations that have similar missions and goals. Spreading the message of your organization and program through other organizations will contribute to creating community partnerships and likely increase the amount of people who will learn about your program. In Olympia, there are many organizations that work together and share information. For example the Thurston County Food Bank has a great relationship with GRuB, which also works in community food solutions. A bonus when building these community relationships is that when writing grants, your program will likely appear more substantial and sustainable with vested partnerships and support. 

Thurston County Food Bank (TCFB) is located in Olympia, WA. Established by volunteers in 1965, TCFB has continued to grow since that time. TCFB reaches the community through a variety of services; food bank distribution, satellite location distribution, FORKids, mobile food bank sites, and summer lunch program. TCFB utilized 7800 volunteers who donated 50,379 hours this past year. Thurston County Food Bank has a large presence in the Thurston County community, serving 57,234 clients in 2014. 


Related Articles