Local Fundraising – Asking for Donations



ITC has done a few things in her life to be proud of (got a tertiary education, had a child, married a great man) but when people hear ITC was on Sale of the Century and was an overnight champion – that seems to impress them most.  So ITC is a trivia boffin and loves anything trivia.  ITC used to run a trivia company.  Why am I telling you this?  Probably because ITC is like an onion and you just keep on taking off the layers to reveal more details. 

Anyway, as MD of a trivia company (and only employee) ITC was actively involved with local fundraisers on a weekly basis.


ITC has also been involved in fundraising for Miss In The Cove’s school since she was in Kindergarten.

ITC is amazed at how generous local Lane Cove businesses are.

So how do you go about asking for donations?  Here are some of my tips.

  • Prepare a list of all the businesses that you are going to approach.  Keep that list in an excel spreadsheet or an access database (make sure that it is passed on to the next year’s fundraising committee).  If you receive a donation make sure you update the spreadsheet or database.  After a while you will have a history of donations.   You will see which businesses regularly donate and those that may not be in a position to donate (and that is okay because some businesses run on very low margins).
  • A great place to start when preparing a list of businesses to approach is the list of businesses on the Lane Cove Council website – here is a link http://bit.ly/XKOgxU
  • Delegate to your volunteers a list of businesses to approach.  Where possible ask your volunteers if they have a personal connection with the business.  A business is more likely to donate where the person asking them is a regular customer.   It is popular to give each person a specific area to canvass, as it is more time efficient. However if the person asking has a personal connection, the donation is usually larger.
  • Always tell your volunteers to call on their best prospects first.  Asking for donations can be a soul destroying, backbreaking job.  However if you get a few people saying yes, first up, it is like a vitamin pill.
  • Always ask local business owners in person – don’t just send a letter or email and wait for a reply.  You must however have a letter to show you are in fact from the organisation requesting the donation.
  • Always make sure you approach a business at a quite time (i.e. not at peak periods like lunch time or closing time).  You have more chance of success if you have the owner’s undivided attention.
  • Clearly state your case for a donation (make sure you stress the connection).  Practice your pitch.  However make sure that you start with the pleasantries.  Always acknowledge how generous they have been in the past.
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  • f they do decide to donate – they may not be able to provide you with the donation on the spot. If the business owner cannot give you the donation at the time of your visit, lock in a date to return.  Before you return either call them or drop them a line to confirm you are coming in to pick up their donation.  There is nothing more frustrating than having to go back to a store several times (frustrating for you and the store).
  • Some businesses may want to donate a gift card.  However they may not have a printed gift card.  Always have a few gift card templates made up so that the business can easily write up a gift card.
  • Once you have received the donation, make sure you give that business as much publicity as possible (thank you certificate, note them in your newsletter, have a list of donators on the night). Ask your community to shop at the stores that donate and to make sure they tell the owner they appreciate their donation.
  • Do not forget the power of social media.  Make sure you acknowledge donors on your website and on your Facebook page.  For a great example of promoting your sponsors on Facebook look at: https://www.facebook.com/greenwichpandc?fref=ts


  • Speaking of local donations – stay tuned as tomorrow ITC will be revealing a great fundraising idea from Apple Dental


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