How to leverage business opportunities to raise money
It’s surprising how many school organizations don’t reach out for business donations when it comes to augmenting their school's fundraising events. Having extra money, items or even volunteer assistance from the business can make your projects more rewarding and productive.
Both local businesses and national chains alike are used to receiving solicitations from nonprofit organizations. This makes the donation process somewhat competitive which is why it’s important to find ways set your organization apart.
Having a good understanding of your group’s needs as well as knowing how to approach businesses is important if you expect to secure donations. Here are some things to consider.
Advantages to Approaching Local Businesses
Local businesses have a vested interest in the community. There are many social ties at stake as business owners may be parents themselves, or happen to know people who are associated with the school. Therefore they may be motivated because they already know who’s going to benefit from the donation.
National Chains can be Good Resources too
Store managers are often able to donate gift cards or actual merchandise that can be used for raffles at school events or as selling incentives. Many fundraising companies have a place on their website where they’ll accept online donation requests. The PTO Today website offers their Ultimate Donation List that offers tips from various parent group leaders.
How to reach out to Business Owners
First, know what you hope to receive from the business. Plan to sit down with your board members and discuss a wish list of items and how you would use them. Second, make a list of businesses in your area that you’d like to approach. Make sure you know when to approach them. Visiting a restaurant during the dinner hour is probably not a good idea and some businesses prefer to donate at specific times based on their fiscal calendar.
Introduce your organization and ask for the person who would be making the donation decision. Let them know that you’ll be sending a donation letter that provides specific information. If you feel it’s best to make an appointment, bring the letter with you. Make sure that the letter is printed on your school or organization letterhead and contains your contact information. Be sure to also make your letter personalized by including the name of the contact person as well as the business name.
How to make it a Win for the Business
Your donation letter should include information about how the business will benefit. Schools provide an excellent resource for the business to be able to reach out to their families. Make sure that the business knows that you plan to promote their name at upcoming meetings or by using appropriate event promotional material.
Donations can also be tax deductible for the business so if you PTO or PTA is a 501(c)(3) organization, be sure to provide them with a receipt.
Every business that donates to your organization needs to receive a thank you letter. Take the time to make it personable. Also consider getting your students involved in some way to make it even more unique and special.
Both school events and businesses can benefit greatly by following some simple and easy to implement guidelines.