How To: Host a Dress Collection Drive

prom dresses

So you're ready for prom. You've got your cute date, hairstyle-of-choice, heels and that killer dress… wait, what if you couldn’t afford a prom dress? For many girls, this is a reality that keeps them from participating in a time-honored high school rite of passage.

So, what are you doing with last year's prom dress?! Or what about your sweet-sixteen or bat mitzvah dress… still sitting in your closet unworn since that special night? We thought so…it’s time to make some room in that closet and do some good while you’re at it! If you don’t have a dress to donate…even better, start a drive! There are lots of girls in need of dresses across the nation and in your area and you can help make sure they have the prom night they'll never forget!

  1. Get the go ahead. You don’t want to get on your principal’s bad side so first make sure that he or she is okay with this sort of thing.
  2. Get your teachers on board. Have the teachers promise to do something crazy if you reach a certain goal, like promise to wear a ridiculous t-shirt to work or shave their head and watch the donations pile up. The hope of punishing a teacher has a certain way of inspiring people.
  3. Get your friends on board. You don’t want to do this alone so recruit anyone and everyone to help you out. Pull the guilt trip and/or friendship card if you have to - hey, it’s for a good cause!
  4. Spread the word. You need to market your dress drive! Make posters and flyers ahead of time giving people the details. Calculate the total cost of prom (dress, flowers, transportation, tickets, hair, shoes, etc….and put that on one of your posters so people get an idea of just how expensive it can be).
  5. Get attention. Use some creativity to decorate the boxes/barrels. You can even put it on t-shirts, pants, whatever! The more people know about it, the more donations you’ll get. Ask if you can make an announcement over the PA system, during morning announcements or homeroom. Or use your big mouth during lunch or in between periods and shout out the cause.
  6. Make it Easy. People are more likely to help if they don’t have to do much work, so offer to pick up the donations at their house or set up a collection bin in the front of your school or in the lunchroom. As a matter of fact, DO BOTH!
  7. Think about dry cleaning. The donated dresses may need to be cleaned, so reach out to dry cleaners in your area to see if they will donate their services.
  8. Don’t forget storage. Make sure you have a clean place to store the dresses before they are distributed on the big day.
  9. Show off the goods. Set up your dress distribution date and location. Schedule the day you want to invite the girls to shop for a prom dress. Ask a local business or meeting place to donate their space – a school gym is a great one! Set it up like a boutique so the girls feel like their shopping.
  10. Or, drop off the goods. If you want to skip this step, you can deliver the collected dresses to an established dress drive organization in your area. is a great way to find a reputable org where you can drop off your dresses.
  11. Close down. Officially end the drive by posting the number of donations you collected in the main lobby or lunchroom and give special thanks to everyone who gave a dress!