Businesses often get requests for charitable donations, and many businesses have small budgets for such donations. If you're hosting a silent auction, you must make a compelling case for why your organization is worthy of the business's time, effort and lost expense. A letter that fully explains your group and its importance is a start. A well-thought out letter is key to convincing a business to donate to your event.
Open with a specific greeting to the business owner. It's best to avoid general greetings such as "Dear Sir."
State that you are writing on behalf of your organization and are seeking silent auction items for a specific event. For example, "I am a volunteer with Kids Charity and I'm writing to ask if you are interested in donating an item or service for our upcoming silent auction, which will take place at our annual fundraising gala on October 15."
Segue into a brief discussion of your organization and its importance in the community. Mention the populations you serve and how your organization's work helps those populations.
Talk about how the silent auction is a vital part of your annual fundraising efforts to better serve the population. Mention past successes if you have held the event before. Include a line thanking the business owner for his past support of your silent auction, if applicable.
Write that you are grateful for any item or service the company would be generous enough to offer, and mention the company by name in this statement. Add that you can pick up the donation, which takes the onus off of the business owner.
Talk about what you can offer the company in return. For example, promise free advertising by including the business on a list of sponsors. Write that the donation is tax-deductible, if that applies to your charity or group. Mention that, by participating, the business will get community exposure from the large number of attendees. Offer a free ticket to the event to the business owner as well.
Close by thanking the business owner for her time and listing your contact information for the donation. Promise to follow up with the business owner as well.
Print the letter on official organization letterhead.
Tallulah Philange has worked as a journalist since 2003. Her work has appeared in the "Princeton (N.J.) Packet," "Destinations" magazine and in higher education publications. She also has edited and produced online content for those publications. Philange holds a Bachelor of Arts in print journalism from American University and a Master of Arts in communication, culture and technology from Georgetown University.