How to maximize getting a donation from a business
The secret revealed
As a restaurant manager for over 8 years I have been asked numerous times for donations. It seems that this gets more and more frequent as nonprofits and organizations need to raise funds. This information is based on my 8 years of requests and what I looked for in who I would give to.
The first thing you have to know is that your time is what will get you the donation. I can't tell you how many letters, faxes or emails I have received from well intentioned individuals that I refuse to give donations to. You are probably wondering why? Well here is the simple secret: If you don't have the respect to come see me face to face, I am not going to give you a donation. Also forget about calling either and asking. Call for an appointment or to see when a good time is but you need to have a face to face meeting with the manager. This will let them see the passion you have for your group and also make it harder for them to tell you no. Keep in mind that they do have a budget for this, which can mean they might not be able to help you out if you aren't fast enough. First come first served is what you need to know. Remember it is very important for you to go into the business and not make it impersonal. I know some businesses will respond but you will get more items of greater value if you go in to see the General Manager. Also you will be setting yourself up for a long term relationship with that business. I just had a great 40 minute conversation with a customer in which I would graciously give to her event again.
The next thing you need to know is this: Ask for what you want and be brave. Be specific in what you want. Most businesses can give you Gift cards but don't be hesitant to ask for a basket. I was a store manager for a well known coffee company and I would donate my expired coffee beans as well as my discontinued retail items. These make great gift baskets. Some coffee shops (the one I worked for rhymes with Far Ducks) have already made donation kits. So don't be afraid to ask.
Another thing to know is: Just because they are a big company doesn't mean they won't help you out. Walmart is known for it's generous contributions and I have heard they even provide all the equipment and supplies for car washes in their parking lots. The bigger the company the more they will be picky about who they can give to. Religious organizations will have a harder time with certain businesses but don't let that stop you from trying. You really never know unless you ask. Just an FYI here, they budget this as marketing.
Understanding that all businesses would rather spend money giving you items to promote their businesses than spending that money on advertisement can help you maximize your donation request. Don't be afraid to ask and please don't be impersonal. You have to invest time to get something for free. Cause in reality you don't get anything for free. I hope this information helps you. Please leave a comment and share any stories you have.