Last Updated on May 29, 2022 by Corinne Schmitt
Ready to raise some funds and collect donations for your non-profit organization? Here’s what you need to do to get those donations!
Before you hit the road to drum up donations, make sure you’ve gathered all the supplies and mentally prepared for the task ahead.
I am a list-maker. To me, this is the easiest way to get and stay organized. So, I strongly suggest that you keep a checklist of your sponsorship requests. You may want to track different details, but these are the basic items you should include:
- Donor/Sponsor Name
- Donor/Sponsor Address or Location
- Contact Person
- Visited? (Check mark)
- Donation Received? (Check mark)
- Follow Up Required? (Check mark)
- Item(s) Donated
- Additional Notes (e.g. follow up details, deadline, contact corporate instead, etc.)
Feel free to make a copy of my fundraising checklist and adapt for your own needs.
Making the Request
Everyone has her own style so I won’t script you through the solicitation. However, there are certain components you must include:
- Ask if the owner or manager is available. You’ll have greater success and waste less time if you can speak directly with a decision-maker. If you leave your letter and message with anyone else, they may never make it to a decision-maker and you will have to spend time following up with the company.
- Respect their time. Oftentimes we are so passionate about our mission, we forget to consider that other people have their own important things to attend to, like running their businesses. Thank the other party for giving you their time and be as brief as possible so you don’t waste it.
- Explain what you are asking for and why. Remember your mental prep at home. Why is this event important? What are the benefits of supporting it?
- Share how you are offering your personal support. It’s hard to convince someone else that an event is worth their investment if the person making the request isn’t personally invested as well. Are you donating your time? Have you made your own donation to the organization or event?
- Confirm donation and/or follow-up procedures. If you receive a donation, note the specific amount/item and confirm with the donor that it matches their intention. If you receive the promise of a donation, confirm what is being donated and when you can pick it up, as well as who your point-of-contact will be. If the party you speak with must confer with someone else, ask when you should check back.
- Thank them. Whether you receive a donation or not, thank them for their time (and donation, if applicable).
After the Event
Perhaps the most important part of sponsorship process is often the most overlooked. Once the party is over, make sure you share the success of the event with your sponsors. Send a thank you letter to everyone who donated, thanking them for their donation and letting them know how much the donations contributed to the event’s success.
6 thoughts on “How to Get Donations for a Non-Profit”
Thank you, very much for a wonderful article and giving such great information. I learned so much from you today. I’m always grateful for anything that I receive but you have taught me to go even further and have even helped me to tweak my donation letter because I realized that I needed to humble myself even more. Again, thank you for everything!!
Hi Lorrie, I am so glad the information in the post was helpful to you! I make a lot of mistakes on a daily basis and sharing what I learn along the way is my way of making lemonade from the lemons. I hope your fundraising efforts are successful!
Any names of companies that will give our 501c3 non-profit agency freebies for our fundraiser Swag bags?
Everyone I’ve asked essentially says they don’t donate.
This site has a great list: https://www.fundraiserhelp.com/fundraising-auction-donations-sources.htm. Also, we would often take money donations from organizations to purchase items at area stores. Many times local stores will give you gift cards that you can use to buy items at the store for your swag bags instead of giving away the gift cards. I hope this helps!
Thank you so much. This is valuable information for me! I just volunteered to help a friend and felt overwhelmed as soon as i hung up!
Your friend is lucky to have you! I hope the post and checklist help. In the end, you can only do what you can do and every little bit helps so try not to stress about it. 😉