How to get Donations for Fundraisers

How to get Donations & Prizes for Fundraisers

First let us apologize for the picture.  It was just too cute to not post here!  We certainly do not recommend you to beg lol.  But you are probably wondering how to get Donations, and we have some great tips.

This is a tricky task – it can be hard to ask for free stuff sometimes, but you have to do it! A party is not a party without prizes!  It is imperative that you understand how to get Donations for Fundraisers.  Do not be afraid to ask people! Think about what kind of donations would best suit your event’s needs. If this party is for a couple in their early 30’s, chances are there will be many couples there in the same age group, so choose age appropriate gifts.  A gift card to Laser Tag is probably not going to excite too many people unless they have children nor will it encourage them to pay for a game as a way to win this prize.

So if you are using Prizes when someone wins a game, make sure it will be worth their while to play the game. You can match themes too – so for a Golf Game, you can have the prize be golf or sports related.

How to Start the Donation Process

  • Create a list of friends, family, and co-workers who may be able to provide donations for your event – those who may own their own business or hold a management role.
  • Write a list of everyone you know that have a small network marketing business (Avon, Arbonne, Scentsy, DoTerra, etc)
  • Next make a list of local businesses that you hope can provide you with gift certificates or free stuff, and that you think your guests would like to bet on.
  • Make it a team effort and get all of your committee members to help.

Who is Donating?

  • We could give you a list, but this list is forever changing. What might have worked for one person, won’t work for the next.
  • Companies have a certain amount to give out each year, so if you are coming to them in September, they probably have already met their quota and won’t be able to help you.
  • With that said, there are some tried and true companies that seem to never run out of donations:
  • Splitsville in Hamilton, Steam Whistle in Toronto, Lazer Mania in Hamilton, Club 54 in Burlington, Ice Dogs in St. Catharines, Ray’s Reptiles in Hamilton, and Hooters in Niagara Falls religiously donate without a fight.  
  • You can email Steam Whistle and they will mail the tickets to you!
  • You can try Molson if you are selling their beer – they usually donate some paraphernalia but not 100% of the time.
  • But in the Niagara region especially, we have many Stag & Doe Facebook pages that share these company names. What happens, is that 100 people read it that day, and then they all email that company. The company gets overwhelmed and shuts it down! This is why we say the list is forever changing.
  • One of the best ways to get donations is to ask a company where you you have an “in” – so you would ask for it in person at their place of business or by writing a professional letter.
  • Any mid-sized to large company may have to clear their donations through their head office with the use of your letter anyhow, so this is probably the best avenue.
  • You can also ask some network marketing companies, as they are often eager to sell their brand and get their name out.  
  • You can attempt to try out some Wineries or smaller businesses that you frequent, such as your massage therapist.
  • You are better off talking to businesses, that YOU do business with.  Get your committee members to help as well, as they will have special businesses that they do business with and might have a relationship with.  That helps!

The Do’s and Don’ts of Asking for Donations

The Do’s

  • Go in person wherever possible!
  • Asking in person usually gets a better response than using the phone or email.
  • It puts people on the spot a little more and they are more likely to say yes, since it is so easy to type “sorry I cannot help you out”.
  • SMILE! Look happy and be positive. Make them remember you.
  • Always bring a typed letter for them, that has their company name printed on it – make it look like an official request.
  • Visit restaurants at a convenient time for them when they are able to get the manager.  The best way to do it is WHILE you are eating there.  Ask the manager to come to the table and hand them the letter in person. They want you to be happy so may comply on the spot!
  • You can always try some free online ads begging for help on some Facebook Stag & Doe pages or through Kijiji, but you won’t get too much of a response that way, since this method is totally overused and annoying for people to read over and over.

The Dont’s

  • Don’t facebook message everyone in your friends list asking… Nobody will respond! Especially if some of these people you NEVER talk to or maybe haven’t talked to in 10 years.
  • They will be offended that you are asking when you haven’t communicated with them in such a long time.
  • It will put people off, so only choose people who you have some sort of a relationship with, or maybe who YOU have helped in the past.
  • Don’t waste your time going to the mall and talking to the managers of places like LuLu Lemon or the Gap which are mostly corporately owned.  
  • They won’t do squat for you!  
  • Those types of companies only deal with super large fundraisers for the United Way as an example and get inundated with tons of donation requests, so they won’t have time for your tiny Stag & Doe.  Sorry, but it’s the truth!
  • Don’t go restaurant to restaurant in a food court but instead go to stand alone restaurants that have franchisees – such as Boston Pizza or another one that you frequent
  • Don’t visit them at busy times when they are more likely to “shoo” you away.

What to do AFTER leaving the letter with them/emailing them?

  • Get the person’s name that you left your letter with and thank them for their time.
  • Make sure to follow up within 3 days of them receiving the letter, by saying – I am just checking in to see if the request has been reviewed as I am excited to see if you can help!  
  • Do not leave voicemails, as they often will not be returned.  
  • Just keep calling till you reach them, or ask when a better time would be to call back.
  • Make a list of all places you leave your letter with, who you left it with, the date it was, and if you followed up with them
  • Don’t hound them! Just be pleasantly persistent – its our favourite term to use

They said “YES”

  • Make sure to show your gratitude!
  • Make an announcement on your Facebook Event page about the new prize and get people excited about it
  • Make a sign with all the businesses that donated and hang this up at your Fundraiser.
  • Include business cards or print their logo on this sign
  • Show your appreciation as they don’t have to help you, they chose to help you.

They said “No”

  • If they refuse to help you with a free donation, you can always ask for this option instead: Some places will match what you buy – so if you buy a $50 gift card, they will give you a $50 gift card.  
  • Another alternative is to ask for a discount on a service – so would you be willing to offer 50% off your Massage Services (this is IF they refuse to give you something for free).
  • If they say no – still thank them for their time!  They don’t have to help you out, and are inundated with people asking the same things, so if they helped everyone, they would not be in business!
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