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Time Needed: 1/2 Day to a Full Day

Skills Needed: No special skills required

Causes: Education & Literacy, Children & Youth

Project Categories: Family Friendly

Created By:

Create the Good in conjunction with the NAESP


While this toolkit was designed to help those organizing a school supply drive, anyone can participate by purchasing supplies for a local school. If you would like to help as an individual, you can print the Sample School Supply List/Individual Donation Sheet to get ideas, purchase supplies, attach the list to your box or bag of donations and drop it off to your local school.

A school supply drive is an easy way to have a profound impact on students and their learning experience. Make school a better place for both students and teachers by the simple act of providing school supplies.

The Challenge we're Facing

Many families are struggling. With high unemployment, and more than 30 million students enrolled in the free and reduced meal programs, many parents are unable to provide the basic school supplies their children need to be effective. In addition, schools across the country are facing severe budget cuts and lack the funding to purchase necessary supplies.

How you can help

Collect supplies for schools! You can help children in school by giving them the tools they need to succeed. Donate school supplies or, even better, organize your own Equipped to Learn school supply drive. There are many great reasons to do this project, including:

  • Feel great about ensuring that children start the school year with the tools they need to succeed.
  • Help teachers by providing them with proper tools for their classrooms so they don’t have to spend money from their own pockets.
  • By providing school supplies, you are supporting students, teachers and your local schools.


Whether you organize the drive on your own or make the organizing a group effort, you will need to reach out to a lot of people in order to make the school supply drive a success. So go ahead and recruit your family, work colleagues, neighbors and others in your community.


If you know a teacher, principal or school administrator, you can talk to him or her about your idea and find out the school’s supply needs. Or you can call a local school or district and ask the principal what supplies the school may need.
The principal might need to ask the teachers to determine these needs, or they might be happy to receive any school supplies they can get. They’ll let you know. 

Here is a list of suggested supplies. 

  • Paper: lined paper, copy paper, construction paper, spiral notebooks, composition books, index cards
  • Pencils & Pens: blue or black pens, #2 pencils, colored pencils, erasers, pencil sharpener, pencil case, colored markers, crayons, highlighters, dry-erase markers
  • General Supplies: dry-erase boards, paper clips, 3-ring 2" binders, pocket folders, report covers
  • Classroom staples: stapler, staples, rulers, protractors, glue sticks, scissors, tape, calculator
  • Things you can never have too much of:  tissues, sanitizing wipes, hand sanitizer


You will need to develop a task list and plan for the following:

  1. Put together the list of supplies needed. 
  2. Determine drop-off dates and locations.
  3. Consider local community locations such as the YMCA, faith organizations, library, community center or even the school.
  4. Ensure that someone will be at the location at all drop-off times.
  5. Make sure each drop-off location has a receptacle to place the supplies.
  6. Determine whether supplies will need to be sorted and prepped. If so, schedule the drop-off deadline at least one week before the date you plan to give the supplies to the school. Consider keeping an estimated tally of collected supplies. It’s helpful to know what you achieved when you celebrate your success.
  7. Divide your tasks — don’t do it all yourself.


Do the following to promote your school supply drive.

  • Develop flyers (see the Publicity Tip Sheet / Sample Promotional Flyer).
  • Make sure to provide the date, time and location for the supply drop-off and the school or district that will benefit from the donations.
  • Tell the local papers (see the Sample Media Advisory).
  • Tell all of your friends — word of mouth is a great promotional tool.
  • Reach out to PTAs, community organizations, faith organizations, YMCAs, libraries, etc., and ask them to help you promote the school supply drive. They could do so through bulletins, email blasts, social media, mention at public meetings and/or allowing you to post your flyer in their buildings.
  • Post this drive on Create The Good to recruit volunteers or request supplies. Go to and click on “Post an Opportunity.” (See tips on how to post this opportunity (PDF) )
  • Post the school supply drive on social media and send out messages to your network.
  • Post signs near the drop-off location to make it easy for everyone to find you. Use large construction paper or poster board so people can read the signs from their cars.
  • Check the Publicity Tip Sheet in this toolkit for more suggestions on how to promote your drive.


Work with the school principal and/or administrator to determine the best date and time to drop off the supplies. Consider asking the principal to present the school with collected supplies during an assembly time. (See the Sample Talking Points for Principals/School Administrators).

Make sure you invite the other volunteers to join you in presenting the school with the supplies.


Give yourself a pat on the back for all of your hard work. And remember to thank everyone who helped you — it will make them feel great. While the school supply drive is still fresh in your mind, think about what worked well and what didn’t. That way you can build on your success, if you decide to do this again.


Visit Create the Good for a range of opportunities to use your life experience, skills and passions to benefit your community.

About the NAESP Foundation

The National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) Foundation, founded 1982, is the tax-exempt, charitable arm of the National Association of Elementary School Principals — a professional association serving more than 25,000 administrators and other educators in the United States and overseas since 1921. The NAESP Foundation advances excellence, innovation and equity in schools by endowing leadership and learning for principals for the benefit of all children.

Supplemental Materials

Sample Talking Points for Principals / School Administrators

Example Promotional Flyer

Suggestions for promoting your school supply drive to a large audience