How to Request a Donation From a Company
Soliciting donations from companies is rarely a one-step process. Especially with larger corporations, your request will be handled by multiple people. In some cases, you may even need to schedule an in-person meeting.
Whether you’re asking for dollars or in-kind gifts like food or paid time off, be sure to tell your donors how their donation will make a difference. This will appeal to the company’s ego and its image in the community.
1. Know Your Organization’s Needs
Whether you’re asking for donations via email, social media or a phone call, be prepared to talk about your nonprofit’s needs. You want to communicate how much you need and show your donors that their gift will make a difference.
Large companies may have specific departments that work with charitable groups, and you’ll want to research those before sending a donation request letter. Find out what kind of support they typically give, such as in-kind goods or paid time off for employee volunteers, and target your requests accordingly.
Individual donors are your organization’s bread and butter, so focus on winning them over first before trying to solicit larger corporations. Indulge them with a personalized thank-you note, and invite them to events or your membership program so you can build a strong relationship before asking for more help.
2. Know the Company’s Needs
Companies are not just giving donations out of the goodness of their hearts; they also have to consider how much money they can afford to give. For this reason, your request needs to be carefully tailored to suit the company’s budgetary needs.
Identify the areas of your organization that are most in need of funding and narrow your request to those items. Then, research each potential donor to get an idea of their financial status and philanthropic track record. This will help you determine which companies you should approach and how much you should ask for.
Larger companies may have departments that work with charitable groups, so be sure to check out their website for specific contact information. Using a dedicated contact person ensures that your request will be taken seriously. Avoid sending general letters addressed to “to whom it may concern” — it will seem less serious. If you do not hear back from a company right away, be patient and continue to follow up in a respectful but persistent manner.
4. Know Yourself
It would be nice if you could just walk up to a company and ask for money, but sadly that’s not always the case. For the most part, companies donate to nonprofit organizations based on relationships and trust. That’s why it’s essential to build relationships with leaders within the company you are trying to reach.
Once that relationship is established, it’s important to communicate with them regularly and find the right balance between asking for donations and giving them information. No one likes to get 20 text messages from an organization they don’t know, and no one wants to wake up at 5:00 am to find five more texts demanding money.
Avoid making your donors click “delete” by sending them personalized messages that align with their interests and history. Machine learning tools such as Funraise’s AppealAI can help you personalize your ask amounts with the click of a button using signals like time of day, device type, and giving history.