Start a Furniture Drive

Thank you for showing an interest in hosting a furniture drive for the Houston Furniture Bank. The furniture and household items you collect helps individuals and families from over 85 social service agencies create a safe, comfortable and healthy home. Our resources depend on generous community donations, a furniture drive is a great way to ensure the items needed to serve those in need. The goals of any furniture drive done on behalf of Houston Furniture Bank should be to…

  • Educate your local community about HFB
  • Get a lot of furniture donated

What should the Community know about HFB?

Houston Furniture Bank (HFB) is a charitable 501(C)(3) entity collecting donations of household furnishings and providing them at no-cost to families and individuals in need.  Our motto is “furnish hope and make empty houses homes.” Since their founding in 2003, HFB has helped over 90,000 individuals. In addition, HFB

  • Has a volunteer decorating service – D.I.V.A.S. – that helps select furnishings and makeover selected families’ homes.
  • Has established a thrift store – the Furniture Outlet – that supplements funding for HFB through the resale of donated items and is accessible to the general public.
  • Has started a mattress-recycling program to remove 100,000 mattresses from area landfills within the next three years.  All profits go to cover HFB operating costs.
  • Is a one-of-a-kind organization in the Houston area, they’re not affiliated with any national or state organization.
  • Created job opportunities for “hard to employ” individuals coming out of the prisons or ending their homelessness.

The first actions to take to get started are the following: 

  • Establish a committee
  • Write volunteer job descriptions
  • And create advertisement

The Following sections below detail how to complete the first actions as well as material lists and best practices.

Establishing a Committee

This committee will be the leaders of the drive in preparation they should:

  • Recruit volunteers,
  • Generate instructions and forms,
  • And assemble volunteer packets

During the event they will:

  • Keep track of crews,
  • Make sure things are running smoothly
Recommended Volunteer Positions for Furniture Drives

For any donation drive we recommend that you have the following positions. (Duties also described)

  • Outreach assistant
    • Receive filled out Donation Pick-up Forms
    • Send back a confirmation notice.
    • Receive calls from people wanting to donate furniture and housewares
    • Encourage them to bring their donations to the designated location on the day of the drive. Tell the donor that we will fill out a donation form and give them a tax receipt at drop-off.
  • Scheduler
    • generate maps showing locations
    • Send reminder email or call each donor the week before the drive
    • After the call-in dead line, meet with the person in charge to assign drivers to donors.
    • Assemble Crew, Drop-off Crew and Tallier packets.
  • Pick up crews
    • Has a few sub-roles in it
      • Driver – Drives
      • Navigator – navigates
      • Communication Specialist – calls donors before arrival
      • Paper work specialists – Fills out HFB donation receipts, updates donation form, explains data on sheet to tallier.
    • Picks up donations from donors using available vehicles
  • Hospitality Head
    • Plan and be in charge of breakfast, water, snacks and lunch for volunteers.
  • “Traffic Cop”
    • Will plan the route through the large parking lot which the trucks/cars will drive.
    • The “Cop” will direct traffic.
      • Traffic will consist of the crews returning with truckloads of furniture and individuals who are dropping off their smaller items.
  • Tallier
    • Will receive Donation Pick-up and Drop-off Forms from crew and Donor Drop-off Dudes
    • Add items to our ongoing donation tally form.
  • Drop off Crew
    • Will greet donors dropping off their donations
    • Fill out a Drop-off Form, a HFB Tax Receipt (white copy for HFB and the yellow copy for donor)
    • Explain donation to Tallier.
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We advise that groups put out promotional materials for the drives one month in advance. The goal of these materials should be to educate the surrounding area about HFB and give a call to action for someone to donate their furniture. We recommend the following types of advertising…

  • Outreach brochures
  • Web advertising (websites, social media, email campaigns, etc.)
  • Outside publications such as signs

The materials should include the information that was stated at the top and any additional information deemed necessary. HFB will also provide groups with donations forms and make announcements about the drives on our web channels as well.

Materials for the Drive

Materials needed for Drive

  • Pick-up Crew Packets contain:
  1. Crew pick-up instructions
  2. Donor Pick-up Form for each donor and map showing their location,
  3. Crew Log,
  4. HFB Donor Receipt (white copy for HFB and yellow for donor),
  5. General information about the HFB to give each donor,
  6. Traffic Flow Diagram,
  7. Pen, and
  8. Clipboard.
  • Donor/ Drop-off Crew Packets contain: Same, except no #3, and instead of the above #1 and #2, theirs will be
  1. Drop-off instructions
  2. Donor Drop-off Form for each donor who arrives with donations.
  • Tallier Packet contains:
  1. Form on which to tally donations.

Forms such as HFB Donor Receipts, Pick-Up forms, and Drop-off forms will be provided by us.

Best Practices

Best Practices

The following are recommendations on how things should be done in order for things to run smoothly.

  1. Volunteers with trucks, SUVs, and other larger vehicles are preferred
  2. Young Backs (enough said)
  3. If donor has a lot, say a room of furniture – 10 or so pieces, or has large pieces, record their information and send them a pick-up form. Explain to them
    1. To expect a confirmation email or call immediately upon receipt of the form and another a week before the drive,
    2. Pick-up will be sometime between 9 am to 12 the day of the drive,
    3. That we take almost anything – furniture, mattresses, housewares like plates, glasses, pots and pans, and even toys. We generally prefer not to take electronics and clothing.
  4. Never tell a donor that we do not want their stuff. We take it and if it cannot be used, it is discarded.
  5. Record name, address, phone numbers and email address for each donor.
  6. Upon receipt of the pickup form send the donor a confirmation email and their form to the Scheduler.
  7. A crew should be assigned a set of homes, hopefully in the same area – no more than 4 or 5 stops each.
  8. In addition to hosting a furniture drive in order to attract more attention and help Houston Furniture Bank in other ways it is also appreciated to have a secondary activity with the drive as well. Such activities might include
    1. Bake sales
    2. Car Washes
    3. Raffles
    4. Fair

If you have any question or would like additional support for your drive from our staff do not hesitate to contact us.

(713) 842-9771