This document was written primarily for our Gift Coordinator (GC) volunteers, to answer their frequently asked questions about Hosting a Mini-Blitz. Non-GC volunteers are welcome to host a Mini-Blitz, so please continue reading if you are considering hosting.
A blitz is defined as ‘a sudden, energetic, and concerted effort, typically on a specific task.’
The three Gift Making Blitzes YCSAB has hosted have met this definition. Each one had dozens of primarily YCSAB Volunteers meet in a donated gym to prepare and make 30-50 gifts per Blitz. The Blitzes accomplish a lot in a short period of time, offer a fun twist to a volunteer position that often happens from home, and strengthens our team by allowing the team to meet and bond in person. The feedback we received from YCSAB Volunteers is that these events are valuable and that we should have them more often.
Despite these benefits, the three-day Blitzes are quite intensive and time consuming to plan, so it is difficult to host them very often. However, we like the benefits that come with ‘blitzes’ so we are introducing the idea of the ‘Mini-Blitz’ in hopes we can provide a satisfying opportunity for volunteers while accomplishing our goals in a memorable and valuable way.
Mini-Blitzes are already unofficially happening within our core membership. A YCSAB volunteer invites other YCSAB volunteers, and/or their family and friends to their home and they complete an identified goal.
This ‘Host a Mini-Blitz’ document serves as a way to make the planning and organizing easier for our volunteers. It also will help to ensure that we use the most effective methods to communicate with the team about Mini-Blitzes so that everyone is able to make an informed decision about participating in a Mini-Blitz.
What is a Mini-Blitz?
A Mini-Blitz is:
- a home-based event,
- that lasts on average 3-6 hours,
- hosted by any ‘YCSAB Volunteer’ member,
- attended by participants chosen by the host, and
- created with the intention to complete a goal or goals.
The host determines the event goal/s, coordinates the logistics, liaises with YCSAB’s admin team when needed, provides leadership for the event, and supplies refreshments to the participating volunteers.
Who can Attend a YCSAB Mini-Blitz?
Anyone with the time, ability, and interest is welcome to participate. If you have not been exposed to the gift making process all you need is the desire to learn about the process. This includes YCSAB Volunteers from any role, as well as non-YCSAB Volunteers such as the hosts’ friends or family.
Hosts may inform the entire YCSAB Volunteers team about the event and accept offers either based on first come-first served, or they may select specific YCSAB Volunteers who have the donations and/or skills needed to accomplish the event goal, or they may invite family and friends to attend.
What are the Benefits of a Mini-Blitz?
There are many benefits of having the Mini-Blitz both for YCSAB and for our volunteers! Here are some benefits:
- Gives participants a guilt-free reason to get out of the house to enjoy some good company while helping those in need.
- A way for volunteers to receive mentorship about the gift making or Mini-Set making process.
- Increases the number of gifts we deliver.
- An easy way to move stock from your house.
- Networking opportunities with the YCSAB team.
- Saves you time and gas money by reducing the number of trips you make to exchange donations since you will meet multiple volunteers at one location.
- Meet YCSAB members in person.
- Creates opportunities to take pictures or videos of our team working to share on social media (participation in pictures/videos is not mandatory).
- Increases your self-esteem because accomplishing goals feels good!
- A way for friends/family to see if they’re interested in volunteering with YCSAB.
What are the Advantages for the Mini-Blitz Host?
The host will…
- Receive $5 per guest to help cover the cost of refreshments.
- Receive reimbursement for event expenses such as gift making material, mini-set packaging supplies (bags, tape etc.)
- Receive help with daunting jobs like sorting through a large donation.
- Strengthen their organizational and leadership skills.
- Socialize and network with the YCSAB team without having to leave their home!
How does the Mini-Blitz Host Advertise their Event?
The host can choose from three options to inform and invite participants. They can either…
- Create an event in our Facebook group ‘YCSAB Volunteers’. Choosing this option will allow the host to easily track RSVPs, provide a map of their location and coordinate logistics on the event’s wall. Visit ‘YCSAB Volunteers‘ and click ‘+ Create Event’
- Privately invite participants of their choosing. Choosing this option will allow the host to:
◦ select participants who have the needed donations or skills to accomplish the event goals,
◦ invite participants who live near to the host which reduces our fossil fuel consumption
◦ invite participants from your social network (friends, family, neighbours, coworkers etc.).
Please note: Participants who are not core YCSAB Volunteers will require the training from the host so that the quality of our donation preparation and gift making remains consistent.
- A combination of the above options.
How is Attendance Determined?
The host decides how many participants they can accommodate at their Mini-Blitz and then compares that number to the number of volunteers who have expressed interest in participating. On the RSVP cut-off date, the volunteers who would be most beneficial to meet the Mini-Blitz’s goal/s will be contacted by the host to confirm their interest and availability. The host will also inform volunteers who will not be needed.
What Kind of Goals are Best Suited for Mini-Blitzes?
Goals will vary based on the host’s vision of the event but would most likely include one or more of the following goals:
- Make Girl Mini-Sets. If the host has a lot of 0-18 month baby girl clothes that they would like to make into Mini-Sets, the host can ask for volunteers with 0-18 month girl clothes to attend with their stock so the participants can make girl Mini-Sets.
- Make Boy Mini-Sets. If the host has a lot of 0-18 month baby boy clothes that they would like to make into Mini-Sets, the host can ask for volunteers with 0-18 month boy clothes to attend with bring their stock so the participants can make boy Mini-Sets.
- Sort Clothes (not into Mini-Sets). If the host has a large quantity of unsorted baby clothes that they know they won’t have time to sort into Mini-Sets, the host will invite volunteers to bring their unsorted baby clothes to sort by sex, size and then garment type such as sleepers, pants etc.
- Make Complete Gift/s. The host chooses the number of gifts they’d like to make, receive the matches from Chandra our Match Coordinator, and then invite participants to bring a specific list of needed clothing and items based off the information provided by the Match Coordinator. It is the hosts responsibility to coordinate the washing of clothing, packing of and delivery of the gifts.
- Swap Donations. YCSAB members with active matches and donations to share, would communicate within the event wall or by email, about whether they can help each other complete gifts. If they can help, those participants would bring their needed items to the Mini-Blitz and swap the items. While no gifts are made at the event, unless there is time and the interest, this swapping allows for participants to reduce their stock and return home with everything they need to make their gifts in a much shorter period of time.
What Information do I Provide in my Mini-Blitz Ad?
You need to give potential participants the who, what, where, when, and why! If you were considering attending ask yourself, ‘what would I want to know about this Mini-Blitz?’ and provide those details. Please disclose in your ad if you have any pets. It is also important to ask participants to let you know about their allergies, sensitivities, and dietary restrictions. As well, be sure to ask about food likes and dislikes! Below are two samples of ads:
Pamela’s Mini-Blitz for May 31st, 2017
Host: Pamela Delisle, Founder and Executive Director
Location/Time: 31 Woodview Bay from 7-10pm Saturday May 31st, 2017
Event Goal: Help me complete 2 gifts, and sort 0-18m girl clothes into mini-sets. I will be looking for a Delivery Coordinator to help deliver both gifts. Mini-Sets can be given to anyone who needs them.
Baby Items Needed: Looking for a stroller, baby tub, sibling gift for 6 year old, and any unsorted girls clothes or unfinished girl Mini-Sets.
Max. volunteers: 9
*Please inform me if you have any allergies, sensitivities or food dis/likes.
Help me make Mini-Sets!
Host: Carrie Foden, Volunteer Extraordinaire! (Executive Assistant, and former Donation Coordinator)
Location: 320 Mc Means Avenue East in Transcona
Date & Time: Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017 from 10 AM to 2 PM (start and end time flexible if needed)
Event Goal: Let’s meet to sort girl and boy 0-24m clothes into as many Mini-Sets as possible. At the end, we will divide the Mini-Sets up for everyone to take home to use in gifts or send for delivery to a GC.
What to Bring: Any girl and boy 0-24m clothes you have at your house and a story!
Max Volunteers: 4
Other Info: We have a dog, who will be upstairs during the event
RSVP by: Please RSVP by Friday October 20th, 2017
**Please let me know if you have any allergies, sensitivities, or dietary restrictions**
I want to Host a Mini-Blitz at a Space Outside my Home, is this ok?
If you are considering a space other than your home, like your workplace, church, friend’s house etc. for a Mini-Blitz, perhaps because there is more room or more participants can be accommodated, please contact Carrie at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss the event further.
I want to Host a Mini-Blitz with only my Family and Friends Participating. Would I still Qualify for the $5/Person Allowance?
It is wonderful that you want to share the YCSAB experience with your family/friends etc. and we encourage that, but in order to qualify for the $5/person allowance there must be other YCSAB volunteers at the Mini-Blitz.
Is there a Maximum Number of Participants that I can have at a Mini-Blitz I am Hosting?
There is no maximum number of participants that you can host in your home but if you are interested in hosting a Mini-Blitz with more than 10 participants please contact YCSAB’s Executive Assistant Carrie at email@example.com to discuss the details of your proposed event.
What do I do if my Participants don’t have the Needed Items to Accomplish our Goal(s)?
If you find that you and your participants don’t have the items needed, please feel free to put a request for the needed items on the ‘YCSAB Volunteers’ group wall and/or look at the Volunteer Inventory to see if the needed items are on the inventory. Make arrangements to either pick up the items or have them dropped off before your event. If you cannot find the items, contact Carrie and it is likely you will need to change your event goals.
What should my Participants and I do with the items we have Sorted and/or Gifts we have Made at the End of the Event?
When planning your goals make sure you take this into consideration. Will you keep all the sorted items? Will you divide them amongst the participants? Could they be delivered to a volunteer who needs them? Who will wash, pack, and deliver any gifts that are made? Communicate this in your ad and ensure that everyone is aware of the plan.
I am Interested in Hosting a Mini-Blitz, what are the Next Steps?
- Set your Mini-Blitz goal/s.
- Choose a date, time and maximum number of volunteers to attend.
- Write your Mini-Blitz ad. Please include an RSVP cut-off date along with all other relevant details.
- Contact YCSAB’s Executive Assistant Carrie at firstname.lastname@example.org and provide her with a draft of your event’s ad. Carrie will then review your information and either approve your event or will make suggestions to improve your event.
My Mini-Blitz has been approved by Carrie, What Do I do Now?
- Recruit participants. Advertise your event in ‘YCSAB Volunteers’ group as a Facebook event or privately contact YCSAB members or your personal social network.
- On the RSVP cut-off date, review which volunteers are interested and select your participants.
- Contact the volunteers who expressed interest in helping, and let them know if they are needed or not.
- Confirm your number of guests with Carrie so she can arrange to have $5 per guest sent to you.
- You will continue planning for the event. This may include thinking through what you need for that day and writing a to-do list, confirming with participants that they are bringing the items needed to accomplish your Mini-Blitz goal/s, preparing supplies (likely plastic bags, masking tape, sharpies, etc.), making/purchasing refreshments, and making a comfortable space for volunteers to work on event day.
- Send a reminder email or event page post the day before the Mini-Blitzes.
Thanks for reading our ‘Host a Mini-Blitz’. If you have any further questions or suggestions about Mini-Blitzes please contact YCSAB’s Executive Assistant Carrie at email@example.com.