How to Get Free Donations

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Free donations are the base for many events. If you're organizing a fundraiser for your child's school, for example, donations can serve as prizes or you can sell them for a direct profit. Or you run a nonprofit organization and need donations of equipment or materials to help the group keep going. Whatever the cause, getting those free donations to roll in can make or break your project.

Set up a free website or blog. You can use simple set ups like Blogger or Wordpress, which don't require any knowledge of HTML. Use this page to post a list of the items you need. Be as specific as possible and make the list as long as possible. Don't say "food" but instead specify canned goods, boxes of juice, dried peas and beans, pasta and crackers. This gives people a better idea of what you're looking for.

Put an ad in the local newspaper or use Craigslist. Be brief but offer some information, such as saying what the donations are for or what cause they're supporting. Direct people to your website to get a more detailed list of items needed.

Set up an account in GivinGetting or similar donation sites. You can post a request on those sites, outlining what you need and what the donation will go towards. Both private and group donations are accepted. This means there's usually a long list of people asking for donations, so you need to make sure your ad is very specific and clear so it "wins" over the others.

Look for websites specific to your needs. For example, Donors Choose is a charity that helps teachers request donations of materials for their classrooms.

Send letters to local companies and organizations. Identify who you are and, if possible, include paperwork showing you're an incorporated charity or showing what you've done in the past with donations. Request specific donations if you want but offer different price options. For example, if you ask for donations from an office supplies store, you can make a list that includes everything from pens and printing paper to a scanner or a printer.