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July 15, 2020

National Shooting Sports Month 2020 Event Insider No. 3: Hosting a Canned Goods Drive

Welcome to NSSF’s third installment of event ideas to make this August’s National Shooting Sports Month® a success. Our last column talked about the “Get to Know Us Open House,” a super idea for ranges and FFLs where larger gatherings are allowed. Today, let’s discuss a promotion workable even for businesses with the tightest public-gathering restrictions: a charity event that draws shooters and non-shooters to your store or range united in a common cause, the ever-popular “Canned Goods Drive.”

Why This Works Now

This instantly shines a positive light on your business to your community. People who might never otherwise have known about your business or had a reason to visit it now know about you because you are directly addressing the needs of local-level food and meal support resources that are struggling as never before. If your local food pantry or homeless shelter isn’t in need of resources, it won’t be hard to locate one in a nearby community that is, and making an effort to find such a place has the added benefit of improving your brand exposure and reach.

This also works if your range or FFL store is working under extremely tight social distancing or facility capacity requirements. You can set up a donation cache site in a number of places but be sure to include one outside your front door, away from where customers gather and interact with range personnel or store staff and where people can drop off donations after hours. Make sure it’s protected—a heavy-duty rubberized trash can with a snap-down cover will work—and then be sure to let people know you have a safe drop-off point that you disinfect regularly (you could even put a box of rubber gloves on the top) and that doesn’t involve them having to come into contact with other people. 

Why This Works Long Term

More people are struggling to put meals on the table than ever before. A food drive in August—and oh so separate from traditional donation drives during the winter holidays—shows your customers and community at large that your business is sensitive to the issues affecting them and responsive now#GunOwnersCareSM—and they won’t forget that.

Making it Work:

  1. List your canned goods drive (or other charity donation drive) on the National Shooting Sports Month events calendar at
  2. Advertise your canned goods drive in all your regular outlets (social media, town newspapers, radio stations), but also in area churches, supermarkets, your town hall, gas stations and other places where people are visiting regularly even with traveling and public gathering restrictions in place.
  3. Put food drop-off receptacles in places where your staff has a chance to greet people dropping off donations (even if they’re still six feet apart). This can be particularly beneficial with non-customers as they’ll have the chance to interact with your store’s frontline people and get to know your business as a friendly, caring place.
  4. Consider partnering with your local grocery chain for this promotion, having them match every donated food item with a similar item or cash equivalent and cross-promote the drive with you.
  5. Offer a gift certificate, free firearm safety class or a coupon good for range fees or store purchases to those who bring in more than 10 items. Such participation incentives provide an excellent opportunity for staff to say more than “Thanks for dropping off that can of beans” and build interest in those people returning to your store or range.

While the health crisis isn’t over yet, things are getting better. Let’s join together to celebrate National Shooting Sports Month and show you’re invested in your greater community. Use our COVID-19 resources page as you plan your August events, then list them on the national events calendar at When you do, we’ll send you our promotional package of T-shirts, ball caps and other items to use as giveaways and prizes.

For more information on how you can participate in National Shooting Sports Month, contact Ann Gamauf, NSSF Retail & Range Business Development Coordinator, at or 203- 426-1320 ext. 247.

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