donation request

Why Both Charities & Companies Can Benefit From Product Donations

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After months of planning for an upcoming charity event, now comes the time where you have to reach out to multiple businesses and ask for product donations or auction items for the event.  As a resourceful problem solver, avoid becoming timid or hesitant when you make the request, feeling like you’re asking the business for a handout. Instead, it’s important to realize that a product donation actually does benefit the business!

Having an item showcased at an event is an excellent marketing opportunity for businesses, allowing both you and the company to share in a win-win situation.  Understanding that both the nonprofit and the business can win is the key to receiving a successful amount of product donations. Below are some additional tips that can help to prepare as you approach a business asking for product donations or auction items.  

 

Do Research Upfront

Try to first learn what your attendees would prefer to purchase and then find businesses offering those items.  This ensures a better fit for both the attendees and the donor. Also, make sure you understand the demographics (age, gender, location, etc.) of the people attending your event.  Then when speaking to the businesses, you’ll be able to confirm that the event attendees are their ideal target audience.

 

Promote Social Good

With the topic of social good on the horizon, many companies are beginning to realize that supporting a cause can provide the business with successful ROI.  A study by Cone Communications found that 87% of Americans will purchase a product because a company advocated for an issue they cared about.  A business is not only receiving the opportunity to support an important cause, but is also being offered the chance to promote their product or company to hundreds of people at the event, with very little effort needed on their part.

 

Prepare a List of Benefits

Before speaking to the business, be prepared by compiling a list of benefits you’re able to provide to the organization.  For example, the company will benefit by having a room full a attendee at the event that are their ideal target market, while being able to benefit from a low cost method of marketing.  They will also benefit by being one product among a limited amount of featured items or businesses at the event. This will help the brand in standing out as a featured product. Don’t forget to offer the opportunity to help promote the brand through social media or provide the company with a social media image or video post-event.  Companies would also appreciate receiving links to their site from the event website. Feel free to ask what the company values that you can deliver. It often doesn’t cost more to deliver an additional benefit to the company and it could compel them to increase their donation.

 

If you can follow these steps when approaching a business regarding product donations, then you should be able to achieve a more successful outcome with a win-win for both your nonprofit and donor businesses.

 

10 Tips and Tricks for a Successful Donation Drive

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Guest post by Nicole George, CEO & Founder of The Parent Quest

Our last donation drive took us almost three months until completion. We all felt so much more pressure this time because we were going to be on LIVE TV…yikes! When rallying the troops to find donations we weren’t allowed to tell the companies we were going to be on TV, which is usually a huge draw for companies to donate. So we had to get creative. We told them it would be at a surprise location no one would expect. What surprised me the most was how many companies are willing to give, just by our following their donation request process. Some took longer than others, but all in all most companies we asked gave.

A donation drive can be very daunting. The process takes months of coordinating, organizing, and “begging” for donations. This list should help you spend less time and energy on your donation drive, yet yield higher returns. The stress a donation drive potentially can have on an organization and your staff is intimidating, but with these tips you can focus on your goal.

My Tips and Tricks to a Successful Donation Drive

  1. Never be afraid to ask for a donation. The worst they could say is no. Most companies love to donate, especially if you are a nonprofit.

  2. Be quick to reply with thanks and gratitude if a company or person donates. Always follow through. You never know when you might need them to donate again in the future. Never burn a bridge.

  3. Keep a donor registry. You don’t want to keep asking the same donors to donate to your cause every time you have a new event. Try to mix it up and tap into different donor pools. This will keep your donors happy.

  4. Tell your story. The more a donor can connect with your cause the more likely they are to donate and donate generous amounts. Adding a video is always best, but adding at least pictures with a description is a must whenever marketing your event.

  5. Don’t send updates too frequently. People are easily annoyed by multiple updates, especially on Facebook. Limit postings to once per day or every other day. (Don’t be discouraged if you lose Facebook likes during these times. It is normal.)

  6. Don’t have multiple events at the same time. Focus all of your efforts and marketing for donations to one event.  This will make sure your donors aren’t confused as to which event they donated to.

  7. Use different avenues to market your event. Social media is a big money maker now, but Facebook and Twitter aren’t your only opportunities to get your story out there. Call your local radio stations or even post your event on their Facebook page. They usually don’t mind and welcome hearing about community events. Call your local news stations as well, they may want to cover your story live. Reach out to your community as much as you can.

  8. Don’t be afraid to use a crowdfunding website such as GoFundMe, GoGetFundingIndiegogo, or Kickstarter. There are upsides and downsides to each so do your research. They all take a percentage of your donations, but all have different rules on deadlines and meeting your goal. Do your research and do it well. You don’t want to learn the rules after the fact.

  9. Offer incentives. Some people won’t donate unless they get something out of it. It is a shame, but there are people who just can’t give because it makes them feel good. Offer a small token of your appreciation, a gift bag, or even a raffle with all monetary donors who give at least a certain amount. People love games and winning.

  10. Don’t be afraid to pay a little money to get help. Websites like DonationMatch.com that help you find donations are worth more than you could ever imagine. Their connections and consulting expertise can bring far more donations and happiness to your event than you could ever tap into yourself.

Hopefully these tips will help you be successful in your fundraising endeavors. Keep your eye on the prize and shoot for the stars!

 

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Nicole George is the CEO/Founder of The Parent Quest, a nonprofit online parent-to-parent mentoring program which runs 100% off donations and fundraising.

5 Minutes with DonationMatch Co-Founder Renee Zau

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DonationMatch Co-founders Darryl and Renee

By Juliet Davenport, Nonprofit Ambassador at DonationMatch

When was the last time you experienced a pain and decided to devote your full-time effort to solving it? Co-founder Renee Zau became an accidental web entrepreneur when she wished for a product like DonationMatch and waited several years for "someone else to build it so I could be a customer." When that didn't happen, she and boyfriend Darryl took what they learned working for a VC-backed startup where they met, their savings, and advice from smart friends to get accepted into and graduate from the Founder Institute (a tech startup accelerator), which propelled DonationMatch into the premiere platform for reaching consumers through charitable events.

Here's what we learned in 5 minutes with Renee!

How did you come up with the idea for DonationMatch?

Inefficiency bothers me. I hated seeing myself and other wasting time typing the same information from the same donors over and over again for fundraising auctions. I also experienced the pain of not having an easy way to collect and track the requests my business was receiving. All the paperwork being mailed back and forth seemed wasteful, and I wanted a centralized place for both donors (companies) and receivers (nonprofits) to not just manage donation records, but make requests and seamlessly transfer necessary information easily. I waited four years before Darryl caught on to how frustrated I was and realized I wasn't alone in needing a solution.

What do you think charities can learn from the private sector?

I know that the ultimate goal of a charity isn’t to make money, but I think many fail to invest in practices early on that will help them become financially self-sustainable. When a charity can’t focus on its mission because it needs money and has to constantly fundraise, it ultimately hurts its ability to do good work. Just like a startup for-profit, I’d like to see nonprofits:

  • Strive for long-term financial viability with an aligned business model,
  • Identify whether their mission is unique and necessary (as opposed to initiating a project within an existing organization), and
  • Plan for a bootstrapped success model based on partnerships and leveraging the help of others, in case funding doesn’t come easily.

Where would you like to be in 5 years?

In five years I’d like to be able to sign on to DonationMatch as a fundraising event chair in the U.S. or Canada, input my event details, and be able to fill my silent auction, opportunity drawings, and gift bags in an hour while having fun. This would be possible because of smart tools we're building into DonationMatch that help companies and brands want to donate goods because it's easy, cost-effective, and profitable. I can't wait for this day!

What is your weakness?

There’s always room for dessert. Even for breakfast.

What is another question you would like to ask Renee?

Using Social Media to Promote Your Event

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By Juliet Davenport, Nonprofit Ambassador, DonationMatch Spring fundraising time is among us.  How are you planning to promote your event?  According to Socialable, one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal should be social media.  Because of its wide audience reach, social media can be used to "increase registration, increase buzz, and ultimately increase attendance."  However, in considering your social media platform, it's important to keep in mind who your target audience is and how they interact online.  Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are likely your best options.

Another boost is the new Pro Event page upgrade on DonationMatch. It has built-in extra help for your event to get found by search engines like Google and Bing and Facebook sharing widgets. What makes it super convenient is automatic donor promotion and the ability to export donation details.

For details on using social media to help promote your event, and for useful tools to help you manage it, read more on Socialable's post here.

How are you using social media to promote your event?

Coming Soon: A Fresh Look and Features for DonationMatch

By Renee Zau, Co-founder, DonationMatch You've told us how easy DonationMatch makes getting more customers and event donors, how much time we've saved you, and how great it feels to both give and receive.  We've taken your feedback and are excited to announce that added features and a new look are COMING SOON! Why are we letting you know BEFORE we do the upgrade?  Our site will be unavailable during this transition, and we want you to be able to plan any important DonationMatch account activity around it.  The exact date/time isn't set yet, but it could happen as early as this Friday evening, May 11th, and we'll announce it as soon as we know with an email, on Facebook, on Twitter, AND here on our blog.

Thanks for all your support, and we look forward to seeing you online at DonationMatch!

Sneak peek of new DonationMatch site