If you’ve spent any time on Qgiv’s blog, you know that we’ve got a ton of resources for people and organizations who are looking to raise more money and ask for donations.
We’ll place a list of resources at the end of this article, but our focus here is on asking for donations from companies.
Whether you’re asking for monetary donations, volunteer time, or in-kind donations, our tips can help guide you toward fundraising success.
Let’s dive into the tips for asking for donations from companies.
Since we’ve already covered how to ask for monetary donations in a myriad of ways, we’re just going to hit the high points in this article.
1. Determine which companies you should ask.
This first step will likely determine how your fundraising strategy develops. Therefore, it’s important to focus on which companies you can realistically ask for donations from.
A good place to start is businesses in your local community.
Well, local businesses have a much more vested interest in the well-being of your community. They live there too, and they want to see positive changes in their area.
Depending on where your organization is based, though, local businesses might not have a massive amount of money to give to your organization.
If that’s the case, you should probably look into grants offered by larger, national corporations.
Each type of business has something to offer when it comes to fundraising.
Either way you go, you’ll want to make sure to start the relationship off right. Strong business/nonprofit partnerships can be extremely beneficial in the long run.
2. Find a point of contact.
If you plan on asking for donations from companies, you can’t just go up to anyone who works there, ask for money, and expect to walk away with a huge check.
As easy as that would be, you have to form relationships with leadership members within the company you’re asking for donations from.
In larger companies, this will likely be the person in charge of corporate social responsibility (CSR), but at smaller businesses, it might simply be the owner or manager.
Determine who your point of contact is and form a strong relationship with that person. Your in-person meetings will go much more smoothly if you already have a good partnership with whomever is writing the checks.
3. Think about what you can offer in return.
Partnerships go two ways. If you ask for donations–monetary, in-kind, or otherwise–you have to show the business that they’ll receive something in return.
Depending on your existing relationship with the company, how much they donate, and your available resources, this could take a multitude of forms:
- Logos and names on banners at events.
- References in donor communications.
- Information in your annual report.
- Tax benefits.
- And more!
Before asking for donations from companies, make sure that you assess what your organization can realistically offer them in return.
4. Make the ask!
Making the ask for donations from corporations can be a daunting task. No matter how much you’ve prepared, it can be nerve-wracking to sit down with someone to ask for a substantial amount of money.
There are a couple of ways you can go about asking for donations:
- Write a letter. This method lends a bit of formality to the ask. Limit your letter to one page, and make sure that someone in your organization signs it (preferably a board member or other leader).
- Ask in person. This method is sometimes preferred by nonprofits who are asking local businesses for donations. Asking in person can be tricky, especially if the person you’re trying to meet with already has a busy schedule. But meeting face-to-face can also help you perfectly spell out your appeal and answer any questions head on.
In either case, make sure that you are genuine and clear. Your appeal should be well researched, and the amount asked for should be appropriate for your situation and the company’s capacity.
Making a donation appeal can be tough. Luckily, we’ve got the Ultimate Guide for Asking for Donations.
5. Follow up.
Sometimes, a company won’t write a check or make an in-kind donation after the first letter or meeting.
That’s why following up with your point of contact a couple weeks afterward is so important.
Your follow up can be less formal than your initial meeting. You could:
- Give them a phone call.
- Send an email.
- Have an informal in-person meeting.
- Send a check-up letter.
When following up, reiterate the positive points from your earlier meetings. Make sure you emphasize how the donation will benefit the company and what you can offer in return.
Following up has its limitations, however. You don’t want to annoy your point of contact and potentially alienate them. Instead, take a slow and steady approach, checking up every couple of weeks or so.
If the company decides that they don’t want to donate, offer them different ways to partner with your organization.
6. Say thank you.
We can’t stress the importance of gratitude in the fundraising process enough.
Acknowledging donations is even more critical when it comes to receiving corporate funds or in-kind contributions.
Let your point of contact know how much you appreciated their help during the fundraising process and acknowledge any connections that helped you form your partnership.
Then, deliver on the promises you made to the company.
Saying “thank you” is important even when the company decides not to donate. It keeps your relationship with them intact, leaves a good impression on them, and can leave open opportunities to partner with them in the future.
Who knows! Perhaps this initial donation will turn into an even more promising partnership in the future.
Like we said in the beginning of this article, this was only meant to serve as a general guideline for asking for donations from companies. We’ve written a bevy of other resources that can help guide you toward better fundraising asks.
Check these articles out for more information:
- The Insider’s Guide to Peer-to-Peer Fundraising
- 20 Tips for Donor Thank You Letters
- The Complete Guide to Donation Receipts
- 20 Nonprofit Donation Page Best Practices
- Ultimate Guide to Asking for Donations
- Frequently Asked Fundraising Questions
- How to Ask for Donations over the Phone
- How to Ask for Donations in Person
- How to Ask for Donations with Letters
- How to Ask for Donations with Emails
- How to Ask for Donations on Facebook
- 9 Tips for Asking for Donations