The most dreaded task for any organization is to solicit donations. Most people dislike asking others for things, especially when they want them for free.
If you can overcome this discomfort, you can yield great benefits for your organization. That’s why I’m going to share some tips to help make this task easier—that way you can be the superhero of your organization.
Before you start pounding the pavement to solicit donations, you need to make sure you are heading out on your mission well prepared.
If you really want your efforts to be well rewarded, you need to be in the right frame of mind from the start. Make sure you really understand and believe in the purpose for your mission. You’ll be far more successful in persuading others if you are passionate about your cause.
Our high school hosts an after-prom party to keep the students in a safe environment and away from drinking, drugs, and general mischief. Since I have two teenagers, I am a big fan and supporter of this event.
Mental preparation also involves being prepared for rejection. This might seem obvious, but many a do-gooder has been undone after the 20th straight rejection. It’s hard to stay motivated when it seems like all you are hearing is “no.”
Most companies have guidelines regarding who they will donate to and when. Though your cause might be a worthy one, it might not be the right one for them. It isn’t your fault and it doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with the cause you are supporting. It doesn’t hurt to have a backup request, something smaller the company can donate or do that will help your organization without creating a large burden for them.
For after-prom, we were seeking large donations to raffle off at the event in the hopes that the opportunity to win valuable prizes would lure more students. When a business told us that they couldn’t help us with a large donation, we offered them the option of providing coupons for our “swag bags” instead. Most businesses liked this option because it helped us by providing an item we could give out to attendees and them since it would bring those individuals to their business when they redeemed the coupons.
Nothing is worse than being turned down when soliciting donations except for losing the sponsorship of a willing party. While some businesses will need time to put something together, many will be ready to provide you with a donation on the spot. They can typically only do this if you have certain items and information with you at the time you make the request.
- Request Letter – almost all businesses will require an official letter to keep for their records. Be sure your letter includes:
- Date and time of the event
- Deadline for submitting donations
- Details of the event and purpose of the donation
- Tax-deductibility of the donation (if applicable)
- Contact information
- Employer Identification Number (EIN) – some businesses will want this information so they can confirm your organization’s nonprofit status. Some companies have policies prohibiting them from donating to organizations that don’t also have 501(c)(3) status as well so know your organization’s status before you start soliciting.
- Examples – Have a list of items you are seeking or what will be purchased with cash donations.
- Clipboard, Pen, and Paper – A potential sponsor might ask you to jot down an additional contact number, or provide you with their corporate contact information. Don’t lose the opportunity because you’re searching for something to write with or a surface to write on.
Click the button below to get the free checklist to track your donations and to find out what you need to do AFTER you make your request and after you receive donations.