Even when the economy is difficult, many corporations and small businesses recognize the importance of providing support to area non-profits while improving their public image. If you are running a non-profit organization searching for charitable donations, requesting corporate donations can help fund your programs and infrastructure.
How to Get Corporate Donations
Make a list of the specific needs for your organization that you have currently and outline possible needs for the next six months to a year. This can include monetary needs or even in-kind donations, such as office equipment or supplies.
Search for companies that provide donations by using an online database like the Foundation Center to search for potential contributors to your organization. If you have a corporation in mind, you can also just call the company personally.
Make a list of potential matches for your organization based on your specific needs. Check to see if you are eligible for each specific corporation, and narrow down the list based on the corporation's area(s) of interest.
Search for the corporation’s website to see what they want for the application process. Some corporate funders will want a request letter while others will want a grant proposal. Check their website to determine if they have a standard application form to prepare.
Draft a formal corporate donation request letter or grant proposal to introduce what your organization does. Specify accomplishments and what you need to fulfill your mission. Include information about the project, location, tentative date of completion, and your goals and objectives. In closing, invite the corporation or business to support your organization with a specific request. Be sure to address the request to the correct person, and spell his name correctly.
Proofread your corporate donation request letter and make sure that it is free of grammatical and spelling errors. Make sure that it is properly formatted and that your request has a professional appearance.
Submit your professional donation request to the corporation and include any documentation that the funder requires, such as the 501c3 designation letter, financial information for the organization and brochures.
Follow up with the funder, but give them at least a few weeks to review your request for a donation. Try to establish a relationship with the funder if you receive a donation. Thank the corporation for their time and their donation. Contact them even if they do not make a donation, as this can make a good impression and open the door for a future donation.
Make sure that the funds are spent as outlined in the grant proposal. If you do not spend the grant money according to the corporation's requirements, the grant funding can be taken back or you could be reported to the IRS. It is important to closely monitor how grant money is spent.
Unless the corporation has a specific deadline, request a corporate donation early in the year, as this is often the best time for corporations to handle requests.
Be careful not to be pushy with the corporation over their potential donation. This can push them away from providing funding for your programs and even give your organization a bad reputation, which might hinder your organization from establishing positive relationships with funders in the future.