Nonprofits and charities are always on the look out for better fundraising items for their charity auction. Many fundraisers have a good grasp on receiving donations from local companies but what about getting items from national companies? Obtaining items this way may appear more difficult due to the fact that you are not able to simply walk in and speak to the owner of the business or organization, but it can actually be quite simple.
Typically, large corporations donate items to specific causes or charities that they feel appeal to their client base. For example, according to their website Southwest Airlines likes to donate to organizations that support our military but states they don’t offer donations to schools. In order to get the most donated items for your fundraiser you must modify and adjust your request so it targets the specific requirements of each donor. Just like when you apply for a job or write a resume, you need to highlight the benefits of your nonprofit that best meet each national company’s goal for giving donations.
Many will require you to fill out online forms or mail in a letter to national headquarters. You will need to do some work to figure out where to send the information about your fundraising auction.
You may start out with an online search for “companies that donate to nonprofit organizations”. Websites like www.philanthropy.com and www.foundationcenter.org are great resources for listing national companies and what they specifically donate to. Or, you could start with a wish list of items and then search out national companies. For example, looking to build a travel package donation? Search for airlines and hotels.
Make sure you have a “fact sheet” about your group or charity that explains who you are and what you’re about. Then be ready to modify it based on the criteria that fit each national company you are soliciting to. Remember if it’s an online form to fill out EVERY space. Many corporations get thousand of donations requests. One way for them to cut down on some of those requests is to ignore any online request if a single space is not filled out properly.
After receiving your items make sure to hire a professional benefit auctioneer like myself to maximize the most amount of money for each item you worked so hard to receive. You don’t want all that hard work going down the drain with an amateur, or even worse not having a live auction at all.