I’ve been buying food from local Food Banks for my food pantry to feed the needy clients that comes to our office. It’s getting very expensive for us and we’ll probably have to close down if we don’t find another alternative. We have the space but not the food. I know that the food bank gets the food for free and that’s what we want to do. We could also provide free food to other food pantries that are going through the same things that we are. Is there any hope for us?
Very nice of you! Now a mind shift here: this is business. It is a not-for-profit business, but it still has the same rules as any other business.
You still need to advertise. You still need Traffic...people to learn about what you need & do. And you still need Conversion...people to do the thing to help you.
Who can you partner with who can tell others you exist? Salvation Army comes to mind. Back in my home town the SA had a partnership with the Food Bank and a college to create a chef's training program for people who had had a rough life. Who can you partner up with to spread the word of what you're doing, and that you need food donations?
Have you talked to managers of local grocery stores? That's where most of the fresher donations came from -- pinwheel steaks, produce, and other goods *about* to spoil. "Have you had to throw away a lot of food that was still good to eat but at its sell-by date? Yes? Then we have a good home for it and will be happy to take it off your hands--and turn that shelf space back to something profitable for you."
I'm sure you'll have to sign a waiver holding them harmless from whatever happens from their food donation, ie. someone eats it and gets sick.
I walked into two branches of a chain store plus another chain grocery recently and saw the same cereals from the same manufacturers so heavily discounted they were obviously being cleared from the shelves. Why? Just out of basic curiosity I wanted to talk to the managers. But that is me...I think like a marketer. What could you do with such a situation?
In your advertising and messaging with your promotion partners (who do people who need food security go to before they go to the Food Bank? Make a list), be clear on what you want people to do. What should they bring? Where should they go? How will you make it easy for them?
Obviously it's easy to get the creamed corn cans and harder to get the produce. What can you do give incentive to people to bring more of the products you want? Get that on the promo message.
In every community there are "busybodies"...it's a bad term I know but I can't think of a better one right now. These are the handful of people who are connected with everyone else and pushing helpful programs like this. I used to be connected with them in my home town (before moving 3000 miles away 9 years ago lol). Being endorsed by them is a way to get instant publicity and effort on your project. Find them and win them over. You have a track record, which is super helpful...you're a doer not a dreamer. Make it easy for them, that they don't have to do anything but talk about you, and they will talk about you to their friends. And their friends are all in that "Get Things Done" network.
Heck, you probably know these people already. Be Louder ;-)