“Give a Day, Get a Day”
We are about a year and a half after the big “Give a Day, Get a Day” campaign that Disney so generously offered. Out of their 1 million volunteers that signed up in order to get vouchers and show volunteerism spirit, 25,000 of those were just for Binky Patrol.
When the press release was received notifying 501c3 organizations that Disney was about to kick off this, "Give a Day, Get a Day" campaign, Susan Finch signed up Binky Patrol, Inc. immediately to be able to post opportunities throughout the country. This would allow anyone in any state to sign up to help a local chapter of Binky Patrol.
The magnitude of the popularity of Binky Patrol in "Give a Day, Get a Day" was underestimated. The program was to inspire volunteerism. In exchange, when a volunteer participated in an authorized activity, they would receive validation of their participation and then receive a voucher from Disney for a ticket. Anyone over the age of seven was eligible. The reason Binky Patrol became a haven for volunteering families is that they were one of only a handful of organizations that would allow children to volunteer, and do it from home.
There were Binky Patrol parties happening across the country. Entire churches, Girl Scout troops, 4H clubs were ready to make blankets for Binky Patrol. This is the good news and explains what led to the 25,000+ volunteers who signed up.
What had not been anticipated was the fact it would become a full-time job for most chapter leaders of Binky Patrol since this required emails and project management beyond any training manual Binky Patrol had developed up to that point. A few chapters were crushed by the popularity of the event and even dropped out of Binky Patrol because of the amount of time expected. They also hadn’t counted on time to manage disgruntled ‘volunteers’ who were looking for any way around actually volunteering to still get their Disney vouchers. Since Binky Patrol is 100% volunteer, our chapter leaders were not used to this barter system of volunteerism. It left a bad taste in the mouths of those Chapter Leaders, or as Binky Patrol calls them, Area Coordinators.
In all over 100,000 blankets were received from this two month campaign. The 1,000,000 limit was reached within two months and it took another two months for our chapters to validate the remaining volunteers and their projects. Overall it was highly successful, but many lessons were learned by all.
1. Ask the permission of all chapter leaders before EVER expecting them to participate in such a large campaign.
2. Walk through the entire volunteering process from all angles – as the volunteer and as the chapter leader to see if there are any questions BEFORE launch.
3. Create a living FAQ document as questions come up from the volunteers AND the chapter leaders.
4. Remember these gifts fall in our laps once, make the most of them!
Out of the volunteers that day, Binky Patrol figures it has resulted in growth for many chapters and a new steady base of volunteers. The Beaverton, Oregon chapter has used the list over and over to enlist volunteers through HandsOn Greater Portland three times each year for large events where over 200 blankets are made each time. This base continues to make blankets throughout the year and drop them off. It was a major boost for this chapter, where Binky Patrol is now headquartered.
Binky Patrol will always be grateful to Disney, HandsOn, the United Way and other organizations who were part of the Give a Day, Get a Day event.