General Question

FrogOnFire's avatar

What's the best way to get donations from local businesses?

Asked by FrogOnFire (719 points ) July 30th, 2009

I am part of a community service project and we need to raise some money, so I was planning on asking locally-owned businesses for donations. What’s the most effective way to go about this?

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12 Answers

DrBill's avatar

Direct contact, and just ask them. Be prepared to explain what you will be using the donation for.

dannyc's avatar

Hit the heart with your feelings of why thiis is important to you. The more you believe in it, truthfully, the more you will receive.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

The best way is with food. That wins people over. If you have a barbeque or some other such cookout, that will get people’s attention.

Darwin's avatar

In addition to what @DrBill and @dannyc say, make sure you can tell the business owner what they will get in return. It might only be a receipt for the value of the donation, or it might be a giant sign that everyone can see that shows them as a supporter. Whatever it is, be ready to explain it.

Zendo's avatar

Ply them with alcohol.

YARNLADY's avatar

Find out what your local community requires before you can ask for money. One requirement is probably going to be a tax exempt status, so the donors can write of the donation on their taxes. Most require that you have a dedicated bank account.

Elle's avatar

Depending on what the community service project is like, perhaps there’s a chance to tell businesses that they will be “sponsors” of the program by showing their support via donations. And then you can go on and define what sponsorship means—platinum, gold, silver, honorary etc. etc. And then attach a $ figure to each level.

If you’re not necessarily looking for $ but also for food / services, mention that businesses can reach different sponsorship by providing equivalent services or gift certificates etc. etc.

Some tips I’ve picked up at trying to get local businesses to help out my school organization.

Also—don’t fear. Local businesses love getting involved with the community, and it’s important to build a good relationship with them that can be advantageous to both parties in the long term. And sometimes, it might be harder to get businesses to donate money, but food / services / discounts are more easily providable. Also, even asking if they’re willing to put a donation box for any customers wanting to donate to your cause would probably go over well.

derekpaperscissors's avatar

Be creative. You have to approach them or offer them something in return in a way that no other causes have done before. It helps when they get something in return. In your case, more of being associated with the cause so they can use it as a means of corporate social responsibility. Encourage your community to support their business.
Or you could offer them promotions and brand placement through your posters or events or community shirts. If you have artistic people in the group, maybe they can output something that would both benefit the project and the business: an interesting video, a nicely designed poster or banner, cards, a performance, etc.

mattesse's avatar

Very nicely, in person, Face to Face; It’s a lot harder for someone to say ‘No’ to someone who is asking for a small/very reasonable donation (with something in return i.e. advertising their business at the <insert the thing you are fund raising for here>) to their face!
I volunteer for a charity in my area and we have a annual fund raiser, one year I sent 500 letters to local businesses (at great expense, both postage and time) and we had 7 responses, barely covering the cost of postage. I read the above advice somewhere and the next year I visited 18 businesses in person, every single one made a donation of some sort, either Cash/Vouchers/Discounts and even their Time to the cause, I stopped after 18 because we had enough!

and Good luck!

Response moderated
rtbsydzach's avatar

By far the best way to reach supporters and family is a company that we found by accident on the web. They are called ourFUND.us ?? You can create a pesonal web page with messages to your friends and family. They dont require a fee or payment at all, which I thought to good to be true….. right? Here is how I gather they operate. After you create your page for you or a team or whatever, you send the pages to friends and stuff through their email wizard.. Real easy to use even for me! Donors read the personal messages and can donate on line, by mail, or you can call them….they always answered. So where do they make money… They deduct a one time fee of $39 for the site setup, and maintaining your “campaign” until you say so. My son collected well over $600 by himself. The team, our 9< travel baseball team made almost $3800. The best part is that it literally takes 10 freakin minutes. The guy I dealt with there (Terry?) was very helpful!!

Response moderated (Writing Standards)

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