Food Drives and Farming: The Feel Good (FREE) Way to Grow Your Brand with Charity

Thanksgiving is one of the best times of the year.  Family gets together, food comas are abundant, and I get to implement one of my favorite farming tactics – the Annual [Target Neighborhood Name] Thanksgiving Food Drive!

Generating leads always feels good but it's especially warm and fuzzy when you do it for a charitable cause.  Doing a neighborhood food drive is free, gives you massive leverage on social media, and is a guaranteed way to get in some good ol' fashioned handshakes.

Farming with a Food Drive

The execution is almost as simple as the concept.  You're going to leave at least 50 paper grocery bags with a short note asking for donations on the doorstep of homes in your target neighborhood.  It sounds easy because it is but there's some magic to work behind the scenes to make sure we feed not just the community, but your brand.

First things first, if you don't have a neighborhood to mine, it's time to crunch some data and determine your bullseye.  Many agents tend to automatically pick the neighborhood they live in but that may not always be the best bet.  Let the numbers do the talking and make an informed decision.

Use Geographic Farming: The Top Producer’s Secret to Neighborhood Domination to get everything you need.  It gives you every key metric to track and even has a spreadsheet to help you compare different areas.

How I Know it Works

It's a no-brainer.  The feel goods far outweigh the minimal effort it takes to get it done plus you'll meet some pretty spectacular people along the way.  Charitable folks are always a good crowd and exactly the kind of people you want to be in touch with.  Spread the word properly and people will ask to participate.

During last year's pickup, a lady borderline chased me down the street as I was driving off just so she could thank me.

Based on the numbers, it makes sense for me work my neighborhood and this little activity has helped me make friends with neighbors I'll have for years.  I now have an endless supply of free honey thanks to one lady that knows a beekeeper, have made music with a violin playing soccer mom, and regularly help a sweet older lady upload pictures to her computer (in exchange for cookies of course – thanks Ms.Candy!).

The point being – worst case scenario, you make some new relationships and feed some hungry people during the holidays.

How it's Done

  • Tell your local grocer you need bags for a food drive and they'll usually donate or at least discount what you need.
  • Leave it unbranded except for a business card.  The real promotion will be on social media.
  • The note needs to tell them what to leave and when you'll be picking up.
  • Upon pickup, leave a handwritten thank you note for those that donated.
  • Before, during, and after, we'll be leveraging social media.  Set expectations, get people asking to participate, and deliver social proof.


2017 Charity Food Drive

Click here to go ahead and download the pdf.   It has two per page so all you have to do is make one cut.


The Planning

  • Post in the neighborhood Facebook group one week before the bags go out.  Let people know what to expect.
  • Put a pic of you assembling the bags.  Staple (or use ribbon if you're fancy like that) a business card and letter to the bag and it's ready for drop off.
  • Not everyone will get a bag.  Offer to drop off/pick up from those that won't get one.
  • Remind your audience one night before.
  • Write thank you notes to leave upon pickup.  You'll only need one for every two or three bags you drop.  Keep it simple – “Thanks for giving.  Means a lot.”

“Thanks for giving.  Means a lot.”

The Bag Drop

  • Make a post asking if anyone in the neighborhood needs a bag or to arrange a pickup.
  • Use something with wheels or a backpack to carry your empty bags.  It'll take at least an hour to get everything out and you won't want to be running back and forth.
  • Don't knock on doors, but do look for opportunities to be neighborly.  Take the dog or have the kids help out if you can still be effective with the added distractions.



This was my call to action and stats for last year's drop.  I went au naturale with no business cards since my street all know where it's coming from and I wasn't focusing on getting my phone ringing.

The Pickup

  • Pic/video of you announcing “last chance to do an arranged pickup in the neighborhood”.
  • Leave thank you notes for those that donated.

Delivering the Goods

  • Follow up with a drop off pic.  Show your results and have a sign showing the donations are on behalf of your target neighborhood.

Taking Action

You need to be doing this if only because it's a good thing to do.  Take your time and be thorough but don't get too worked up if you don't get as much participation as you'd hoped for.  There are a lot of food drives going on this time of year and some people will already be wiped out.  However big or small your results, the full bellies and social media gold will be a huge return on this small investment of your time.

Grow Your Brand with Charity

There are several opportunities throughout the year do charity work.  All just as easy as this one.  Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Thanksgiving Food Drive
  • Christmas Toy Drive
  • Clothing drive (summer and winter)
  • Back to School Supply Drive
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Spencer Logan
Co-Founder & Director of Content at CompleteAgent Inc. | Managing Partner of RE/MAX Real Estate Associates When he's not working he's making music, cooking, or enjoying the outdoors. "Create everyday."