Every nonprofit leader knows the common adage, “it takes money to make money,” and that couldn’t be more true than with fundraising events. To launch a successful event, organizations need event management software, food, decorations, marketing materials, and so much more.
All these components can get costly even if nonprofits stick to a strict budget. Most organizations will have to seek aid from outside resources to support their event.
Luckily raising money for events doesn’t have to be a challenge if you know who to ask and are equipped with the right tips. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of three ways you can collect donations for charity events.
In this article, we’ll discuss how organizations can solicit donations from:
We’ll provide in-depth tips on how you can reach out to each group to help fund your next event—so let’s get started!
1. How to Get Donations for Charity Events From Companies
Why You Should Ask Companies
Corporations and local businesses should be the first group of supporters you ask for donations. Companies have plenty of philanthropic opportunities and programs to help support organizations.
In fact, businesses regularly work with nonprofit organizations to showcase their corporate social responsibility and to improve the communities in which they reside.
Best of all, companies can offer more than just monetary funds; they can provide your organization with enthusiastic volunteers as well as in-kind contributions.
Organizations can make use of the many corporate programs that provide charitable donations, such as:
Volunteer Grants. Companies will award donations to nonprofits after an employee has volunteered for a set number of hours. For example, Verizon donates $750 for every 50 hours of volunteer work per employee.
Matching Gifts. When donors give to your organization, their employee might match their donations (usually at a 1:1 ratio). General Electric will match donations to most organizations one for one on up to $25,000.
Donation Requests. Many corporations provide grants or in-kind donations to nonprofits upon request. Organizations can submit an application to Walmart for a chance to receive $250 to $2,500.
Moreover, asking for donations to fund your event can lead to future partnerships. You’ll also gain a new audience (the company’s employees), making it easier to promote your cause and raise additional funds for future projects.
How to Get Started
With so many different companies and philanthropic programs, you might not know where to start when it comes to asking for donations for charity events.
The first step is to do your research. Every company will have different guidelines and rules that not only dictate when you can submit a donation request but also what types of organizations they will support.
As such, researching which programs you’re eligible for will save time as you prepare to submit your requests.
Finally, you need to write your request letters and submit your applications. Generally, larger organizations will have an application process that you should follow, but for smaller, local businesses, your organization can send a letter.
If you’re not sure what to say, here is an example of a donation letter template:
As you can see, a fundraising request letter should be personal as well as state the reason for your request and explain the importance of your event.
Additionally, you should be specific when asking for donations; ask for the exact items or an dollar amount. Companies are more likely to respond when you’re transparent about your needs.
Expert Tips to Reach Success
If your organization is looking for additional ways to raise money with the help of businesses, why not try a nontraditional route? You can partner with local retailers to launch a checkout charity!
During a checkout charity, your organization will ask your retail partners to solicit donations from patrons during checkout. You can place donation kiosks or a donation jar in stores to collect funds.
While this fundraising method often gets a bad reputation, checkout charities can be a very profitable way for organizations to raise money. Still not convinced? DipJar’s guide to maximizing funds during checkout charities might persuade you otherwise.
For example, Children’s Miracle Hospitals conducted a successful checkout charity with donation kiosks. Supporters could simply dip their cards into the device. Plus, donors didn’t have to have cash to contribute, opening the ability to give to a much larger group of patrons. Read about 4 more organizations who used DipJars to collect donations on a daily basis and during their fundraising events.
2. How to Get Donations for Charity Events From Donors
Why You Should Ask Donors
It’s no question that donor support is how nonprofits raise the bulk of their funds, and it’s no different for events.
While the donations you receive from supporters many be smaller than the money you raise from corporations, donors can be just as valuable because they can share your campaign with friends and family.
From the donor who gives $25 every month to the major donor that gives $5,000 in one check, individuals can play a huge role in funding your event.
Individuals can donate money as well as time and help raise awareness about your cause. Plus, the excitement that they build for your charity event, might persuade others to get involved, which can lead to more attendees and support.
How to Get Started
You probably have several ongoing campaigns where you ask donors for funds. Those campaigns can contribute to your fundraiser, however, you should also create a separate campaign dedicated to raising money for your event.
This will make it easier for you to clearly explain how the funds will be used and why raising the money is important. Additionally, you can set a specific fundraising goal that supporters can aspire to reach.
There are plenty of different ways you can raise funds, including these proven fundraising ideas:
Launch a crowdfunding campaign. As we mentioned earlier, donors can be instrumental in raising awareness, and what better way to spread the word than with a crowdfunding campaign? Crowdfunding is a low-cost way to raise money and donors can utilize the social sharing features available on most platforms to spread the word.
Sell merchandise. If you already sell merchandise to raise money for your cause, create a campaign where all the funds from purchased items will go to support your event. Since donors will know exactly what their funds are going toward, they’ll be more likely to purchase an item to support your event.
Appeal to major donors. Use prospect research and have key staff members reach out to major donors about making a contribution. You can also use your boards’ connections to find potential major donors. Additionally, you could propose a challenge match donation, where your nonprofit must raise a certain amount that will then be matched by a major donor.
Last, but certainly not least, don’t forget to promote your primary giving methods.
For instance, let donors know how simple it is to give via a donation kiosk when they’re visiting your facilities. Share visuals like the image below on your social media accounts to show supporters that the giving process only takes a couple of minutes to complete.
In addition, you can send out emails about your campaign and list the ways donors can contribute. By promoting your giving methods, donors can choose to support your cause in the way that’s most convenient for them.
Expert Tips to Reach Success
As you would with companies, it’s important to be specific when you ask for donations from supporters.
How do you know how much to ask for?
Use insights from your fundraising software to gain a better understanding of the ideal donation amount. Keep in mind that different times or occasions can lead to people contributing less or more to your organization.
The great thing about using a device like a donation kiosk is that it not only tracks the donation amount but also the location, time, and date of each gift. This information can be valuable in pinpointing the ideal donation size.
For instance, the New York Public Library placed a donation kiosk at the end of their audio tour to encourage donors to give.
They discovered that donors were much more likely to give if they set the donation kiosk to $5. In fact, using the donation kiosk with a set gift amount has increased the number of donations they have received.
3. How to Get Donations for Charity Events From Restaurants
Why You Should Ask Restaurants
While asking for donations from companies and supporters is the go-to for many nonprofits. Few venture to ask restaurants to support their event. You might be surprised to learn that restaurants offer plenty of opportunities to support nonprofits.
Restaurants can help support your nonprofit’s charity event with everything from food preparation to venue space to grants.
If that’s not enough to persuade you to seek support from restaurants, they can also assist with your fundraising efforts by conducting giving days. During this fundraiser, all (or a percentage) of the day’s proceeds will go towards your organization.
Look at how The Salvation Army partnered with Shipley Donuts to collect donations on National Doughnut Day:
As well as receiving some of the proceeds from the giving day, your organization can accept additional funds through a giving kiosk.
Plus, establishing partnerships with restaurants can lead to future fundraising opportunities.
How to Get Started
To get started, you’ll need to research the different charity programs available at local restaurants.
Even if they don’t have a specific program in place, many of the larger chain restaurants provide organizations with free gift cards. At first glance, getting restaurant gift cards might not seem beneficial to your organization, but you can use them as prizes for a raffle or charity auction.
Since raffles are inexpensive to run, you can host several of these fundraisers to get donations for your charity event. All you need are a few gift cards and a way to accept raffle entries.
Of course, you could set up a donation jar, but you’ll only be able to accept cash donations. Instead, you can use a donation kiosk like MassChallege used for their raffle.
Donors just had to dip their cards into the device, write their name on a sheet of paper, and they were entered into the raffle.
Whether you decide to receive gift cards from restaurants or partner with them to launch a giving day, remember to reach out to local restaurants who have a history of working with nonprofits. That way, you have a better chance of getting their support.
Expert Tips to Reach Success
If you’re still hesitant about asking restaurants for event donations, try offering them sponsorships. Generally, sponsorships are mutually beneficial for all parties involved, so you’re more likely to receive a positive response.
Before you send out sponsorship letters, you need to clearly define your different sponsorship levels. Your levels should include the benefits restaurants will receive in return for sponsoring your event.
For example, you can offer to include their restaurant and logo in all event programming, provide them with tickets to your fundraiser, post social media shout outs, and so much more. With each level, the amount sponsored and the incentives should go up.
While the thought of asking for donations for charity events might seem intimidating and daunting, the truth is that your organization has plenty of opportunities to ask individuals, companies, and restaurants for contributions.
Hopefully, these expert tips have helped you discover ways you can raise money for your next charity event!
For more information about collecting donations, check out these amazing additional resources:
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Reasons You Shouldn’t Use Square for Nonprofits: Whether it’s for an event or another project, collecting donations in-person can go a long way to help reach your goals. Learn why nonprofits should avoid using Square and consider other donation kiosk alternatives.
Daily collection vs event collection Whether you’re collecting passive donations with a collection jar at a local community hot spot or hosting your own annual event, there are creative ways to solicit donations. Read how 4 other organizations are using DipJar as a donation jar.
If you have more questions about nonprofit strategy you can always reach out to the DipJar fundraising experts for help. It’s what we love to do!