Organize a River Cleanup in 10 Easy Steps

  1. Create a team, partner with community groups and/or neighbors.
  2. Pick a site. Maybe you have one in mind already. If not, find publicly owned land along the river
    for your cleanup, like a park or municipal property. Consider parking options, and a large enough
    gathering space to speak to all volunteers at once.
  3. Contact the site’s landowner. Discuss your plan and ask if their organization would co-sponsor
    the event (and waive any permit fees).
  4. Register your cleanup with Friends of the Fox River (FOTFR). Call us about assisting with
    permits and additional insurance as needed 815 356 6605.
  5. Announce your Cleanup. FOTFR will post your event on social media, put out a press release,
    and send mass mailings. Market your event in through your channels too.
  6. Raise money and/or get donations. You may want to provide volunteers with snacks or maybe
    even a free lunch. Ask your city council, your local elected representative, the Chamber of
    Commerce, national retailers like Walmart or Target, and local businesses for donations and/or
    supplies. Use the provided sponsorship letter template, if practical.
  7. Get the trash picked up. Often your town, township or other public land owner has the equipment
    and manpower. You may have to reach out to a waste hauler for a donation or coordinate with
    neighbors to place collected trash in residential receptacles. In many cases, participants can take
    small amounts to dispose of at home.
  8. Run the Cleanup. Set up a registration table. Welcome and register volunteers. Organize them into
    teams. Hand out supplies. Deliver the safety talk. Take photos.
  9. Thank everyone! Offer verbal thanks the day of the event. FOTFR will send thank you emails to
    all volunteers.
  10. Send your registration sheets, photos and an event summary to and
    contribute your event’s data to the larger trash collection and volunteer totals.