Completing the Shelter Advocate Patch Program® is a suggested prerequisite for earning your Shelter Delegate Pin. Your advocate experience will help provide you with the knowledge needed to become a delegate for homeless people in your community. You can also opt to complete the Shelter Advocate Patch Program® requirements during the time you earn this Delegate pin.
Requirement 1: Choose It!
Points to Consider When Choosing a Shelter Service Project:
- What causes families to be homeless? Helpful Link: The Facts About Family Homelessness
- What is the primary cause of Veteran homelessness? Helpful Link: Veteran Homelessness Facts
- How are homelessness and mental illness connected? Helpful Link: Homelessness and Mental Illness: A Challenge to Our Society
- How does poverty contribute to homelessness? Helpful Link: Homelessness in America
- How does substance abuse contribute to being homeless? Helpful Link: The Connection Between Homelessness and Addiction
- Why do youth become homeless or runaway? Helpful Link: Homeless and Runaway Youth
- What is being done about homelessness? Helpful Link: Proven Solutions
- What can be done to help the homeless? Helpful Link: Coalition for the Homeless
- What can be done to prevent homelessness? Helpful Link: Prevent Homelessness
- Research resources to help the homeless such as places to receive food, shelter and medical attention. Print up cards with the information and make them available to the people in your community.
- Organize a drive to collect and distribute sanitary pads and tampons for homeless woman.
- Start a community-wide shelter “adoption” making sure that the shelter has the supplies and volunteers to take care of their homeless.
- Organize a cold weather initiative in your area. Collect warm socks, hats, scarves, gloves and hand warmers. Distribute these cold weather kits to the homeless. Get your community to keep cold weather kits with them to hand out when they see someone on the streets.
- Organize a hot weather initiative in your area. Collect bottled water, wipes, chap stick, caps, fruit cups and mini battery-operated fans. Distribute these hot weather kits to the homeless. Get your community to keep hot weather kits with them to hand out when they see someone on the streets.
- Organize a town hall meeting to discuss the needs of the homeless in your area. Invite speakers who can advocate for shelter and housing options.
- What are your skills and talents?
- Do you need a mentor or adviser? Who will it be?
- Will there be legal or permit issues to resolve?
- How many others can you recruit to help?
- Will your volunteers need special skills or training?
- How many hours can you devote to the project?
- Will there be a project deadline?
- How much money will you be able to raise for the project?
- Can you get a sponsor to help with the costs?
Requirement 2: Plan it!
Setting goals will help give you a long-term vision and short-term motivation. It helps you to organize your thoughts and determine exactly what needs to be done.
- Decide exactly what you want to accomplish and give your project a name.
- Break it down into smaller steps.
- Set up a timeline.
Although smaller projects can be done alone, many projects will require a team. As the project delegate, one of your most important roles will be building a successful team. Helpful Link: 7 Super Steps to Recruit Volunteers.
- Find a mentor with experience in your project area.
- Enlist an Advocate to help you recruit volunteers. Consider using a volunteer release form especially if you are working with children. Helpful Link: Volunteer Release Form
- Decide which jobs you can do alone.
- Will you have teams?
- How many people will you need for each team?
Budgeting allows you to create a spending plan for your project. Sticking to your budget ensures that you will have enough money for the things you need to complete it. If you copied the table above you will see there is a section for budgeting.
There are many ways to raise money. If you are working with an organization such as Girl Scouts* check first to see what is allowed. Helpful Link: A Beginner’s Guide to Fundraising
- Consider GoFundMe, CrowdRise, DonorsChoose, or Kickstarter.
- Organize an event like a car wash, bake sale, or benefit dinner to raise awareness around your fundraiser.
- Host an event such as a walkathon, run, or bike rides.
- Ask local businesses and community members to donate items for a silent auction or a live auction.
- Sales of customized products like tee shirts, pens, and buttons will not only raise funds but generate awareness about your project.
- Invite the local media to your fundraiser or at least supply them with a photo and caption after the event.
Specific ideas for Shelter Fundraising
Get clever with your ideas. Think of things related to your cause. It will help bring awareness and set up a “fun” atmosphere, while raising the money you need to complete your cause.
- After Christmas, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day ask people to regift their gift cards. Distribute to the homeless or use to buy supplies for your project.
- Ask kids to paint or draw photos of their family standing in front of their home. Have an art sale. Make sure Grandma and Grandpa are invited.
- Make a coupon book for home services. Ask businesses to buy a coupon page. Consider services like housekeeping, lawn maintenance, painting and gardening.
- Give recognition gifts for sponsorships. Set donation levels such as $20 for a shelter pin, $40 for a tee shirt.
- Find local handymen looking for publicity. Action off their services for a day. Make the auction live and ask them to ham it up for the crowd.
- Organize a group to make sleeping mats. Ask people to sponsor a sleeping mat and attach the sponsor’s name or message to the mat before it is donated.
Requirement 3: Do It!
You should now be ready to put your plan into action. Join in during your project to supervise and provide assistance at all levels.
After completing the plan, remember to thank the community.
Ways to say Thank You:
- Personally thank individuals and businesses who helped. A handwritten letter is always nice. Helpful link: How to write a thank you letter.
- Thank the community as a whole with posters.
- Create a follow up press release and include the names of individuals and businesses who participated. Helpful link: How to write a press release.
- Give certificates of appreciation.
- Thank the community as a whole on social media.
Congratulations on completing your shelter action project! The Shelter Delegate pin makes a great reward for completing your project. It also makes a great gift to program sponsors and mentors.
See all our current Delegate level pin programs:
Related Fun Patch Ideas:
Note: Many of the links provided to assist with completing our Patch Program®s are external and do not imply an endorsement or recommendation. At the time of publication, external content was vetted to the best of our ability. Your views and ideas may vary and we do not intend for you to substitute our opinions for yours. Research the topic thoroughly before beginning a project. As always, make sure children access the internet only under safe-surfing conditions.
*youthsquad.makingfriends.com and MakingFriends®.com are not affiliated with, endorsed by or a licensee of Girl Scouts of the USA.