Monday, April 30, 2012

Mondays - Soliciting Donations

I am the first to admit, soliciting a company, people, your friends and family for donations whether it be straight cash or a fabulous auction item can be a little daunting, however, there are a couple of key points and steps to take that can make the process a little less difficult. And, perhaps even fun!

1. Who are you?
Are you a non-profit with a registered 501 (c)(3) or 501 (c)(4)? If so, always have your Tax ID number. This is one of the most important pieces when asking for a donation, whether it is cash or item donation.

Are you a volunteer or participant in a fundraising event or raising money for a cause? If so, have the companies Tax ID number ready. The organization should have a document ready for you to present to people when soliciting for donations, whether it be cash or item.

PS, Having this Tax ID number and professional paperwork explaining what you are asking for and where the money is going makes you legitimate.

2. Timing?
When soliciting for anything make sure you are asking at the right time. Not only do people need time to think about what they want to give, but when it is right for them. Additionally, if you are soliciting a company, do your research, companies usually have a giving process that needs to be reviewed and is not always reviewed on a regular basis but at very specific times of the year. Maybe quarterly or even once a year. Also, keep in mind the companies fiscal year, it may not be the calendar year.

3. What are you asking for?
Are you asking for a cash donation, sponsorship, auction item? Know exactly what you are asking for and want from the person you are asking. Be extremely specific. Do your research and know what the person and/or company can give. Research, ask questions and make a specific ask.

4. Who are you asking?
Research, research, research. Just like you knew how much your parents could give when doing the school jog-a-thon, research and find out what companies can give and like to give. For most large companies they post their giving parameters on their websites these days. They give to very specific areas, review asks at specific times, and like to be asked in specific ways whether it is an email, letter request, etc.

5. Who is making the ask?
Especially when soliciting for large auction items, sponsorships, large capital cash donations who makes the ask is key. Remember, you may not always be the best person to make the ask. This is not a time to be selfish and really evaluate who you are in the grand scheme of things. It may be you, but it may be a Vice President, Board member, powerful Alumni, etc.

Raising money for a cause can be a very rewarding experience. Whether it is for a school booster club, local nonprofit doing amazing things for your community, sick child in need, there are simple steps to take to help you reach your goal.

Message us if you ever need ideas, help, and/or have questions on creative ways to help raise funds. It is all about research, thinking outside the box, and making an impact!

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