Fifteen-year-old Nikoletta Innocenti of Franklin Lakes is used to helping others. The student conducted a community service project in Greece as part of the People to People program and has volunteered to help with local non-profit organizations.
Nikoletta’s experience came in handy when she was challenged to plan a sustainable service project as part of her efforts to earn the Girl Scout Gold Award — the organization’s highest achievement. She selected Oasis, a charity in Paterson dedicated to helping needy women and children. Then, the high school sophomore wrote letters to neighbors and friends, asking them to put food donations by their doors every other Wednesday for her to pick up and bring to Oasis.
While neighbors and friends embraced Nikoletta’s idea, logistics often got in the way. Donors sometimes forgot to purchase food and leave it out, or simply were too busy to participate.
That’s when Nikoletta turned to YouGiveGoods.com — a website that enhances giving by making it social, immediate, environmentally friendly, dependable, and easy.
“Drive Starters” like Nikoletta set up drives on YouGiveGoods.com with ease by creating a personalized drive page. Drive Starters then spread word about their drive to family and friends via social media, asking others to visit their drive page to purchase items to contribute to the drive.
Goods for purchase start at $5. People can start a drive from anyplace they have internet access for a food pantry, food bank, animal shelter, soup kitchen, or homeless shelter located anywhere in the United States.
During a time of great need, when 49.2 million Americans live in poverty, YouGiveGoods makes it easier to help more people and Nikoletta certainly found that to be true.
“People want to do good, they want to help,” said Nikoletta. “And, with this website, helping others fits into busy schedules and lives. It also makes it more convenient for the charity, who will get large, organized deliveries of items it needs.”
And, she added, “it’s sustainable” – a key requirement of Gold Award criteria.
“I invite people to give to the drive each month through email and social media reminders. Each month, the list of donors grows.”
“Nikoletta’s successful drive is an example of how doing good has gotten even better using technology that we use everyday,” said Mendham resident and YouGiveGoods CEO Patrick O’Neill. “YouGiveGoods.com handles all the logistics of the drive so those who start drives can focus their energy on telling people about it."
In February, since taking her drive online, Nikoletta raised more than $2,000 worth of food donations for Oasis. Her March drive is now underway and has a goal of $1,000.
“My drives with YouGiveGoods have been much more successful than the one I originally set up using the more traditional approach,” said Nikoletta. “With YouGiveGoods, giving is more convenient for donors. And, the site allows me to spend my time telling people about the drive rather than driving around with my mom to pick up donated items and making deliveries.”
To find Nikoletta Nikoletta's drive for Oasis, visit www.YouGiveGoods.com/EasterFoodDriveForOasis or search her name using the site’s “Find a Drive” button.
“We are grateful to Nikoletta and her drive donors for their generosity,” said Jim Walsh, Director of Social Services and Youth Development Programs at Oasis. “All items contributed will help us help the women and children who to turn to Oasis each day.”