Corporate donations are a great way for community and non-profit organizations to meet their needs. Across the country, corporations are willing to donate everything from school supplies, clothing, money and volunteers to help communities and schools grow. Companies receive many requests for donations, however, and are not able to respond or help in all cases. To ensure your request stands out from the rest, organize and plan your communication with potential donors.
Identify your specific needs. When looking over donation requests, corporations want to know exactly what is needed. Make a list of what and how much you want. If it is school supplies, prioritize by what is hardest to buy. Pens, pencils, and erasers are easy to come by, so focus on more expensive, singular items such as calculators and back packs. If you are trying to solicit clothing for your students, know sizes and preferences. The clearer and more specific you are, the more corporations will be able to understand how they can help.
Research corporate outreach programs in your area. Donations are normally given through a community outreach or development program created by the company. If the company does not have such a department, contact human resources. This is the most difficult part of the process. It can take a significant amount of time and research, but once completed it is very easy to receive a donation.
Call, email or visit in person those companies you find that offer donations. Ask about the solicitation process, what kind of outreach they have done in the past and their relationships with the schools and people in the community. Be clear about what you want and how the corporation is necessary in helping the students meet their needs. If you are vague or ambiguous, you will reduce your chances of receiving help from the business.
Follow the corporations' solicitation process to the letter. Each business will have a separate protocol, but each will be the same idea. Some will request that you fill out forms, create an itemized list or even write a letter explaining what you need and why you are seeking a donation. Personalize your request every chance you get. Show the corporation that you and your students are real people and with a little help, you have the potential to succeed. Finally, let the organization know that it will be recognized for its contributions and that its status in the community will rise. Businesses want to help, but part of that desire comes with a need to be commended for these good acts.
Follow up on your solicitation. When making the request, get the name and phone number of a person you can contact with any questions. If you do not hear anything after a while, call and ask about the status of your application. Make it clear that you are willing to offer any extra information that will help you receive what you have requested.
Write thank-you letters after receiving your donation. Tell the corporation how much it has helped you and your students. Have the kids give testimonials and sign the letter or card you send. Recognizing the corporation for its help creates a great relationship and increases your chances of receiving more donations in the future.
Don't be wary in requesting donations. It never hurts to ask and in the worst case, you will only be denied.
- Corporate Building image by FJ Medrano from Fotolia.com