There are charities requesting donations for various areas of need. From special events to general operating expenses, donations are what keep many organizations afloat.
Types of Donation Requests
Each year, charities make numerous donation requests. Requests can range from small monetary amounts to large sums of money. Some donation requests may be for:
- An item to be used at a special event
- Money to help purchase new office equipment
- Funding for a new program
- Pledge for ongoing support
- Donations of clothing or food to help the needy
Donation requests can be done in writing or in person. They can be made annually or several times a year. Each organization has donation requests that are unique to their cause and specific needs.
A request for a donation may be sent to individuals or to businesses. Requests should target those in organization's area that have an interest in the charity's cause. If there is a personal connection to a potential donor, a person to person visit can help secure the donation rather than a letter.
Many organizations prefer to set up a phone-a-thon where callers ask those who have donated in the past to once again donate. This type of campaign solicits pledges and ensures donor retention.
There are also charities requesting donations from foundations. These requests are usually for large amounts of money and are done in a formal grant proposal as required by the specific foundation. Grants can be written to fund educational programs, to build or renovate new office space, to purchase new computer equipment or to simply assist in the start up of an innovative program. Each grant request is specific to the organization requesting it and is evaluated according to various factors. Not every charity that submits a grant proposal will receive funding so organizations should not rely solely on grant funding for its survival.
Requirements for Charities Requesting Donations
When a charity requests a donation, there is specific information required to be submitted along with the request. The charity must be a 501(c)3 organization and have a federal tax identification number as well. When asking for a donation via a letter, the charity should be sure that the following is included in the letter:
- Name and address of the organization - can be part of the letterhead
- Donations are tax-deductible
- What the request is for (i.e. money, auction item, food for a drive, etc.)
- How it will benefit the organization
- A contact person's name and phone number
- Signature of a board member or the organization's director
Donation Request Tips
Since endless charities send out donation request letters, try to make your letter stand out from the rest. Unfortunately many of these letters get tossed and are never read. There are several things to do to make sure that your letter does not end up in the trash:
- Make the letter personal and compelling. For example, add a personal story about how a donation has helped a specific person.
- Include a small token of appreciation in the letter. This can be something simple like a bookmarker.
- Enclose a brochure or literature about your organization.
- Include a return envelope.
After receiving a donation, it is important to thank those who have donated to your cause. Sending thank you letters is essential for letting donors know that their gift was appreciated. The letter can also serve as a receipt for their tax deductible donation.