This document was written for our Gift Coordinator (GC) volunteers, to answer their frequently asked questions about the ‘Coordinate Deliveries’ stage in our process.
Gift Coordinators are often so busy accepting, sorting and preparing donations, as well as accepting matches and making gifts, that we have YCSAB Delivery Coordinators (DelCo) available to you, should you prefer not to do your own donation pick-ups and drop offs and gift deliveries. Each time a GC accepts a match, they are given the choice to do their own donation pick-ups, drop offs and gift deliveries or to request the help from a Delivery Coordinator. This document has information for both options.
REQUESTING HELP FROM A DELIVERY COORDINATOR
How can a Delivery Coordinator Help you?
DelCos can help you by:
- Picking up donations from other GCs, donors or Drop Spots and dropping them off to you so you can complete your gift or bringing your donations to other GCs or ‘Make One Gift’ volunteers so they can complete their gifts.
- Picking up your completed gift and delivering it to a Gift Applicant.
- Helping with miscellaneous transport. If you are involved in a YCSAB special event, Mini-Blitz, meeting or party, you may need require help transporting donations, gifts or project supplies. DelCos may be available to help you.
How Do I Request the Help of a Delivery Coordinator?
To request help from Delivery Coordinators, GCs write a Request and post it in our Facebook group ‘YCSAB Volunteers’. Please use the prompts below to learn how to write an effective post.
STEP #1: Catch the attention of a Delivery Coordinator by starting your post with either **Delivery Coordinator Request** or **Attention Delivery Coordinators**. Another benefit of this type of focused post header is that it easily informs non-DelCo volunteers that they don’t need to read that post, which saves them time.
STEP #2: Summarize your needs and choose a statement below, or write your own sentence. Doing so gives DelCos the info they need to decide if they want to keep reading the request, as some prefer certain requests.
- Is anyone available to pick up a donation from a volunteer and bring it to me?
- Is anyone available to pick up a donation from me and bring it to a volunteer?
- Is anyone available to pick up a complete gift from me and deliver it to the Gift Applicant?
- Is anyone available to pick up a large donation at a Business/Community Group Drop Spot and deliver it to either a Gift Coordinator of your choice or one who expresses needing it in the comments of this post?
- Is anyone available to pick up miscellaneous supplies from a volunteer and deliver it to the upcoming YCSAB Event?
STEP #3: Provide the details of your needs so the DelCo has all the info they need to decide if they are interested and available. Complete the following info in a list format:
- The pick-up address, including the neighbourhood if known, and contact info of that person.
- The drop off address, including the neighbourhood if known, and contact info of that person.
- Please share any additional info that will make arrangements with the other person involved easier.For example, does the Gift Applicant hope the gift will be delivered at a certain time or day or by a certain date? Does the donor offering the baby items want them picked up by a certain date? Are the GCs items already waiting on their front step in a bag with the DelCo’s name on it? Is there a certain time of day that you are available to have items picked up from you? What size are the items being picked up/dropped off? What type of vehicle is best to fit the items?
SAMPLE POST for a Delivery Coordinator Request
**Attn: Delivery Coordinators**
Is anyone available to pick up a complete gift from me and deliver it to the Gift Applicant?
1) Pick up from Gift Coordinator Jane at 123 Pleasant Street in River Heights- firstname.lastname@example.org
2) Deliver to Gift Applicant John at 14 Beautiful Bay in St. James- Text 204-999-9999
3) I spoke with John today and he is flexible when the gift is delivered but does prefer weekend mornings. I am available any morning between 9-11 AM for you to pick up from me, just text me to confirm which morning and I’ll leave the gift out. The gift will easily fit into a car with the largest item being a bouncy chair.
A Delivery Coordinator Has Accepted My Request, What Do I Do Now?
Once a DelCo has confirmed their interest to complete your request, please edit the header of your post to reflect the resolution. For example, **Volunteer Found- Delivery Coordinator Request** or **Updated- Request Resolved- Attn: Delivery Coordinators**. Finalize your plan either in the post comments section or privately.
Can Volunteers other than DelCo’s help me with my Delivery need?
Absolutely. If a YCSAB Volunteer in a different role is available to assist you, they will likely comment in your post. If they haven’t done a delivery before, please remind them to first read the training document ‘Delivery Coordinator’ found in the Volunteer Resources section on our website, so they understand what is expected of them.
A Delivery Coordinator Delivered My Gift, Who Updates the Match Coordinator?
The easiest solution is for you to ask the DelCo to email the Match Coordinator and CC’d you, so you are both informed at the same time.
DELIVERING GIFTS YOURSELF
I am Delivering My Gift, What Should I Do Before I Arrive at the Gift Applicant’s Delivery Location?
If you haven’t already confirmed the Gift Applicant’s current address and the best way to contact them on the day of delivery, please do. Gift Applicant’s addresses and contact info tends to change frequently due to poverty, so it may save you some frustration to double check prior to delivering the gift.
What Should I Do When I Arrive at the Gift Applicant’s Delivery Location?
When you arrive, please introduce yourself as a volunteer from YCSAB. This goes without saying but be friendly and polite and assume that you will be dropping the gift off to them without taking your shoes off for a visit. If you get a sense that the family is comfortable with you and they invite you in, you are welcome to decide for yourself if you would like to go in. We have noticed that especially newcomer families invite our volunteers in and want to feed them. We assume it is a cultural norm for them to ask. Please don’t agree to go into someone’s home if you don’t genuinely want to. But if you do, remember that a goal of our project is to build connections with families so if you and them are open to a visit or even future visits, then this is just fine. Be mindful of how long you are there, and that they are either likely tired from pregnancy or from having a young baby.
Sometimes Gift Applicants offer you a donation for the project. If you have room in your vehicle/home to store it then please do accept it. If you don’t have room, then please ask them to contact us via our website/FB page/phone to arrange a pick up.
Accepting a gift from a stranger, even a friendly stranger, can be an event that creates mixed feelings. People may feel joy and embarrassment at the same time, and appear awkward or shy, or some people may appear standoffish and not talkative. Please know that whatever the reaction (shy, nervous, crying happy tears etc.) that it is easiest if you remember that their feelings have nothing to do with you. We also don’t know what the Gift Applicant’s life is like or what kind of day they are having. Maybe their baby has been crying non-stop and they are tired and just can’t find the energy to express their thanks, or perhaps they have four other children at home that they are caring for and can’t leave them unattended and therefore only have 20 seconds to accept the gift. Another possibility is that they have an unexpected visitor that they don’t want to know that they are receiving a gift, and therefore seem distracted and rush the gift acceptance. The majority of our volunteers report positive reactions during a delivery, so these scenarios described above are to prepare you for the unknown. If you experience a disappointing delivery and you want to discuss it with someone on our team, please reach out to our Volunteer Coordinator Erica at email@example.com and she will be happy to debrief with you. The benefit of debriefing is that you can talk through what happened, share your feelings about it, and brainstorm for ways to manage and cope with another situation should it occur.
How Will the Gift Applicant Respond When I Deliver Their Gift?
About 90% of the time upon meeting you, the family’s response will range from initially shy or cautious, but still friendly, to visibly excited, crying happy tears, hugging you and expressing appreciation of your efforts and gift. The other 10% of the time, the family may seem indifferent, very shy and nervous, or make little acknowledgement of you or the gift. Poverty takes a toll on people in different ways and as unfulfilling as the latter response can be, please remember that even if the appreciation isn’t expressed that your efforts are still valued by the family and by our team.
Another instance that you may not expect can be that the expectant or new parents may not be home, but perhaps a family member is there to accept it on their behalf. Again, as disappointing as this can be, please try to remember that life is not as predictable when you are living in poverty and there are valid reasons the plans may have changed, like bussing challenges or sick kids.
Some of the neighbourhoods and homes we deliver to are poverty stricken. It is easy to have a visible emotional response or to change our facial expressions or body language when seeing a situation that you weren’t expecting. For example, being welcomed into someone’s home to find a toddler playing on a dirty floor of an empty living room can be hard to see. Or to see a mom smoking while holding her baby. Your job is to find common ground, to see their strengths and to follow the family’s lead with conversation. As overwhelming as it might feel to remain positive, cheerful and professional, it is worth the focused effort. The family will appreciate not being pitied, judged or shamed. At YCSAB, we view the parent as a strong advocate for their child by the very nature that they successfully sought and received resources.
If you ever have a delivery that you need to talk through/debrief about, please contact our Volunteer Coordinator Erica at firstname.lastname@example.org, instead of posting in the group YCSAB Volunteers.
Are There Any Safety Tips I Should Be Aware of During a Delivery?
- Familiarize yourself with the area on a map prior to leaving home.
- Ask the Gift Applicant or donor where the best place to park is so that you are close to the home’s entrance.
- Plan the drop off for a time of day that you are most alert and comfortable.
- Carry a charged phone.
- Consider bringing along a trusted person to help. Be sure they understand the need for confidentiality and can respect the sensitive nature of the delivery if to a gift applicant.
- If you feel vulnerable carrying a visible gift because it will attract attention for you or the Gift Applicant, bring a neutral blanket and try to disguise the gift until you are at the Gift Applicant’s door.
- If you arrive and you feel unsafe, listen to your feelings and make a plan you are comfortable with. If you have to leave the location without delivering the gift, once you are safe, update and apologize to the Gift Applicant or donor for the last-minute change of plans and make an alternate plan with them. Also, please contact Erica Halmarson, our Volunteer Coordinator at email@example.com to share the details of what happened. Hearing these experiences can help future volunteers.
I am a New Gift Coordinator. Do you have any Tips to make Deliveries go Smoothly?
- Contacting the Gift Applicant to confirm the delivery either the day before or the day of the delivery will increase your chances that they will be there at the agreed upon time.
- Have low expectations of what the delivery will be like. It is easy to idealize the experience of bringing a gift to a family in need, but the truth is, not all deliveries go smoothly or are emotionally satisfying. If you can be realistic about this ahead of time, then you will be less disappointed if this is the case. Many deliveries will be experiences you will remember for your lifetime, but we do not want to mislead you into thinking each one will be magical.
- Be humble. Being humble allows you to see yourself at the same place as others. This is important in a Gifter/Recipient power dynamic where we do not want the Gift Applicant to feel as though you have more value because you likely have more resources then they do.
- Try to be objective instead of subjective. At YCSAB we see the value and resilience of every parent who asks for help and we do not judge families who are living in or near poverty. Our goal is to connect with Gift Applicants, find common ground, and to understand that by applying and accepting a gift, that they are giving us a gift too. Thanks to their ability to ask for help, YCSAB volunteers have the opportunity to improve our self-esteem, give us new experiences and help us to gain new skills.
I Delivered the Gift to The Gift Applicant, What Do I Do Now?
Please contact our Match Coordinator firstname.lastname@example.org with your update. If there was anything noteworthy to mention about the delivery, please share that info as well. The info can be useful for us to review and may help us improve our project.
**Thank you very much for reading our document. If you see a way to improve the document or need help understanding part of it, please contact our Volunteer Coordinator Erica Halmarson at email@example.com.