A SAFE chapter member is someone who has volunteered in their area to take donations in, clean them up and find homes for them. Our chapter supply page (if you are interested in seeing this page you will need to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org because you will need a username and password to get access to this page) gives you information, advertising/marketing supplies, ideas and forms you can use to track your individual collection totals as well as ways to keep track of your contacts. Being a chapter member involves some correspondence through e-mail or phone with people wanting to donate. It is up to the chapter member to decide how they want to receive their donations (by mailing them to their home, by meeting people to pick up donations or having the donations dropped off at their homes). Also people may contact you from other parts of your state/province who want to donate but are not willing to mail them to you. This is why there are a lot of marketing materials below in the chapter supplies to help you as a chapter member find as many places in your state/province that will take your donations so when people contact you wanting to donate, you can provide them with contact information for an organization that will accept them. In this case, the only thing I ask is that you include a copy of our SAFE Guide for Cleaning Stuffed Animals and attach it to your e-mail with your correspondence. Just let them know that since they want to donate more locally and there is not a chapter near them, they must clean the stuffed animals up first before distributing them.
You must be able to check your e-mail and respond to people interested in donating within a week. We ask the chapter members to keep records of who donates, when, how much and where the donations went. Once a month I will contact the chapter members to ask for their total number of stuffed animals donated because I keep a running tally on the home page of this website.
Overall, as a chapter member you are trying to become a local source for stuffed animal (or more items if you would like such as toys, children's books or baby blankets) donations. This takes time to establish yourself as a SAFE chapter member but believe me once people know about you they will pass the word on to friends and family because we are very useful resource for people looking to get rid of really good condition stuffed animals as well as helping others in their own communities. You will soon find out if you become a chapter member that people are very generous and really do want to help and this is a very inexpensive way to help others.
What You Should Consider if Wanting to Open a Chapter
1. Time - Being a chapter member does require some time commitment. How much time really depends on how much you are willing to accept. It does not take tons of time but you will have to keep up with the correspondence in terms of people wanting to donate, counting and cleaning the stuffed animals and also deliveries to organizations that accept the stuffed animals. You will have to take a look at your own situation (job, school, family, etc.) to see if this will fit in with your life.
2. Space - It takes time to clean, organize and in some cases wash the stuffed animals so you should take into consideration that when you receive these donations there will be a period of time where you will have to store them somewhere while you are working on getting them donated to an organization.
3. Deliveries to organizations - Once the stuffed animals are ready to go to an organization it does take time to deliver them to places so that has to be taken into consideration as well.
4. Locating places to donate to - If you want to get the word out to people in your area/state/province that you are a chapter member, you will have to be willing to let people know either by using the marketing materials I have created on the chapter supply page or by phone, e-mail or in person. If you do not put forth the effort to find places to take your donations, you will end up with a large supply of stuffed animals in your home and no where to take them.
5. Fall/Holiday season - The fall and holiday season are a very busy time for everyone in general but also with SAFE. People are very generous during the fall and holiday season so you will see an increased amount of people contacting you during this time. Many people will be interested in doing drives as well to help local organizations and they will need your support along with our stuffed animal drive page which gives them information on how to start one.
6. Leave of absence - If there is something going on your life which is occupying a lot of your time or you have become swamped with stuffed animals and you need some time to get them cleaned and out to organizations, I can change it on the website so that you are 'Not currently accepting' for a limited time. I like to make sure everyone is aware of your status as a chapter member so if you need to take a leave of absence for a bit just let me know and I can change it on the site. Please try to limit the amount of time though to no more than 2-3 months. If you are needing more time than that then we can take you off the site completely and then put you back on at a later date if you want to start back up again. Also, if you are only interested in accepting donations certain times of the year that is fine too, I just need to know when that is so I can note that in the comment section of your listing.
7. State/county/city regulations - You may want to check with your state, county or city governments to see if they have any kind of restrictions on donations of stuffed animals to organizations. Some places restrict donations for health reasons thinking that the stuffed animals are just donated from a person's home without being cleaned first.
8. Lastly, please read through the entire site and become familiar with how SAFE operates so that you can make a better decision about opening a chapter. If after reading this page and the rest of the site you decide you want to open a chapter, please check out the information in the next section about how to get started. Thank you so much for wanting to make a difference in your own community and just know that I am here if you ever have any questions.